[caption id=”attachment_12222″ align=”aligncenter” width=”576″] Freshman Stanley Johnson is Arizona’s leading scorer (14.7 points per game) and rebounder (6.8). Photo credit: Chris Coduto – Icon Sportswire)[/caption]
Scouting report: No. 7 Arizona.
Game info: 6 p.m. Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000).
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch and Bill Walton).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
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Coach: Sean Miller is 149-51 (.745) his sixth with the Wildcats and 269-98 (.733) in 11 years a Division I head coach. Prior to joining Arizona on April 6, 2009, he spent five seasons at Xavier where he had four 20-win seasons and made four NCAA tournament appearances. Miller was 120-47 (.719) with the Muskateers. Born in Beaver Falls, PA, Miller, 45, played at Pittsburgh (1987-91).
Prediction: The Wildcats were picked first in the Pac-12 preseason media poll.
Series: Arizona leads 47-28 in a series that began Dec. 29, 1964.Washington is 18-17 at home and has won five of the past six meetings at Alaska Airlines Arena. However, the Wildcats have won the past three encounters. Lorenzo Romar has a 13-13 all-time record against the Huskies. Miller is 5-5 against UW.
Last meeting: Arizona won 71-62 on Jan. 4, 2014 at McKale Center. C.J. Wilcox finished with 20 points and Perris Blackwell had 12 for the Huskies that wore down in the second half after going into halftime down 35-33.
Previous game: Arizona State upset then-No. 6 Arizona 81-78 at Wells Fargo Center last Saturday.
Odds: Arizona is a 10.5-point favorite.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Stanley Johnson, the former McDonald’s All-American, has lived up to the preseason hype. The 6-7, 245-pound forward leads the star-studded Wildcats and Pac-12 freshmen with a 14.6 scoring average. Johnson has started 22 of 23 games this season. He was the MVP at the Maui Invitational and appears on the watch lists for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award. Johnson’s career high is 22 points.
— T.J. McConnell is arguably the most important player for the Wildcats. The 6-1 senior point guard isn’t the most athletic player on the team, but he’s the one that makes everything go. Since he transferred to Arizona last year, the former Duquesne standout has given the floor general it hasn’t had during the Miller era. He ranks second in the Pac-12 behind Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss with 5.7 assists. McConnell has 334 assists the past two seasons, which leads Pac-12 players. Arizona is 37-3 when McConnell has at least five assists. He has a 3.04 assist-to-turnover ratio, which puts him on pace to finish with the best mark in Arizona history. Defensively, McConnell is a pest. He has 287 steals during his career and 113 with Arizona.
— If Brandon Ashley hadn’t suffered a season-ending foot injury last year, he probably would have turned pro. Instead, the 6-9 junior forward returned and he’s been a steady – if not spectacular contributor – this season. To be fair, it’s difficult to put up big numbers in Arizona’s defense-first, star-studded system. Ashley is second on the team averaging 11.4 points. His season scoring high is 21 points.
— On most Pac-12 teams, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would be a star. At Arizona, the 6-7 sophomore forward is a role player who does all the little things that leads to wins. He averages 11.0 points and 6.4 rebounds. Hollis-Jefferson is a highlight waiting to happen. He shoots an eye-popping 51.0 percent from the field. However, he’s shooting just 21.1 percent on three-pointers.
— Seven-foot junior Kaleb Tarczewski is the anchor in Arizona’s big, imposing front line. However, he’s averaging fewer points (8.3 to 9.9) and rebounds (5.0 to 6.3) than he did last season.
— Junior reserve guard Gabe York is a three-point specialist and Arizona’s most prolific shooter behind the arc. However, he’s shooting just 37.5 percent on threes.
— Arizona ranks seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Wildcats have held 66 of their last 68 opponents under the 80-point mark. UA ranks 22nd nationally in scoring defense, yielding just 59.2 points per game.
— Arizona is shooting 49.1 percent from the floor as a team to rank 10th nationally; UA outscores opponents by an average of 10.1 points per game in the paint, 6.7 per game off of turnovers and 5.0 per game on second chances.
— Arizona is one of the nation’s best teams at getting to the line, ranking 14th nationally in makes (404) and 15th in attempts (587); UA is shooting 75.0 percent on an average of 22.8 attempts from the line in Pac-12 play.
— The Wildcats lead in the Pac-12 with a +7.3 rebound margin and rank second nationally in defensive rebound percentage at 77.5. Arizona is 112-21 (.842) in Miller’s tenure when it wins the battle on the glass.