Arizona Vs. Washington

The visiting Wildcats (7-1) are favored by 9 points tonight against the Huskies (1-6) with an over/under of 137.5 points.

Both of these teams played the same opponents their previous two games. Arizona beat Montana 70-64 then beat Colorado 88-74. Washington lost to Montana 66-58 and then lost to Colorado 92-69.

So far this has been a really challenging year for the Huskies. Statistically they are near the bottom of the heap in a number of categories. There are 357 teams playing NCAA D1 basketball. They are currently 319th in the nation averaging only 61 points per game, 320th averaging only 9.6 assists per game, 326th in 3-point percentage at 25%, 309th in made 3-pointers per game with 5 per game, and 298th in field goal percentage at just a hair under 40% as a team.

Pretty much every player on Washington has a defensive rating of 100 or higher. The Wildcats do not have one player with a D rating over 100. (Defensive Rating is an estimate of each players points allowed per 100 posssessions).

Since the arrival of Mike Hopkins to Seattle from Syracuse in 2017 the Huskies have been known for their smothering and irritating Syracuse style 2-3 defense, in which the “wings” play much higher than they do in a standard 2-3 zone. At times it can almost look like a 4-1 zone! (See images at end for 2-3 zone diagrams). So far this season they are right in the middle of the field allowing opponents to score 70 points per game (176th) on 41% shooting (107th).

This Arizona team is an interesting one. They have very good guard play with Akinjo & Baker leading the way. Some good size with Koloko, J. Brown, Tubelis, and Ira Lee. And some extra athleticism and guard/wing play with Mathurin, Terry, and T. Brown.

I think we’ll start to see a bit of a different Dalen Terry going forward. His strengths seem to be in his defense/defensive rebounding and when he is creating for others or getting to the rack. He has one of the best defensive ratings on the team at 90.8 but also one of the worst offensive ratings at 98.2. Terrell Brown leads the way in that category with a 141.5 offensive rating. (Offensive rating is an estimate of both team and individual points produced while that player is on the court, per 100 possessions).

17 of Terry’s 35 shots (just about half of his shots) this year have come from 3-point range. He is, through 8 games, a 24% 3-point shooter. Perhaps this is a slump for the Freshman but it might just mean that he should focus more on attacking the gaps and the basket looking to score or create rather than settle for 3’s. It will be tempting tonight for all of Arizona’s players to shoot deep 3’s against this 2-3 zone which is designed to push the 3-point line back a few feet. But like all 2-3 zones it is particularly vulnerable around the FT line/High Post Elbows for shots or Hi-Lo action as well as in the pockets along the baseline or “Short Corners”.

Standard 2-3 zone defense alignment
“Syracuse” 2-3 zone defense. Wing players (3 & 4) are “lifted” or play up higher away from the corners. Since modern offenses are more perimeter oriented, Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim adapted his defense to match modern offensive trends.

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