Wildcats basketball not taking Long Beach State lightly
Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA vs UTEP
Long Beach State enters a game with Arizona at 7 p.m. today, having already taken on USC and North Carolina.
The 49ers also have prime time matchups with UCLA, Syracuse and Ohio State, probving they aren’t scared to tango with the big boys of college basketball.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller has said he would like to have more of LBSU’s scheduling tactics, but the Wildcats’ schedule seems to feature lesser teams until they play Florida in December.
Miller compared the 49ers to Charleston Southern and UTEP, Arizona’s first two opponents.
“They have the makings of a team that has an opportunity to win their conference and have a great season,” Miller said Saturday.
“They’re very big at all positions like UTEP. Their wings, they have a really strong point guard, and their big guys are traditional, strong, low-post players.
“The difference is they’re much more transition-based, like Charleston Southern was. They try to exploit you in transition in a lot of different ways, whether they’re running the court, throwing it inside or shooting threes.”
The Wildcats were burned by open threes against Charleston Southern, who allowed the Buccaneers to score 10-of-28. Miller said after the game that the Wildcats were more ready for a more traditional team, a team like they will face in Long Beach State.
“Out of the three teams that we’ve played, from a talent perspective, watching them on film, they could be our toughest challenge to date,” Miller said.
Defensively, Arizona will be tasked with guarding LBSU point guard Mike Caffey, who is “aggressive and quick with the ball,” according to Miller.
Against USC and North Carolina, Caffey scored 31 total points and dished out seven assists.
Arizona has not had one player foul out this season, but has had multiple players get four personal fouls in a game.
The versatility Arizona brings to the table bodes well for the Wildcats, who now have the depth necessary to accommodate such a load. Freshmen forwards Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett have both performed well in the first two games, with Ashley scoring in double digits against Charleston Southern and almost reaching the plateau against UTEP, scoring nine points in 20 minutes.
“We have a close-knit group that wants to have a great season,” Miller said. “That’s what really is going to allow us to continue to grow.”
Miller and the Wildcats are not overlooking the 49ers, who are a “tough-minded bunch,” as Miller said.
“They play one of the most difficult schedules in the country and we respect them for that,” Miller said. “They’re not walking into McKale for a tune up. Hopefully McKale will have the atmosphere it had in the first two games.”
If you go
Arizona v. Long Beach State
When: 7 p.m.
Where: McKale Center
TV: Pac-12 Networks