After several games were postponed for the Arizona Wildcats over the last week, the team will return to the floor to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles.
The Wildcats were supposed to take on Northern Colorado but that game was moved because of COVID-19 complications on the opponent's side.
This process has been difficult for head coach Sean Miller's team as they have played just one game in the first eight days of the season while opposing teams have already played four to five games.
“We are [at] about 35 practices, and we have only played one game,” Miller said. “I commend our team. We have a group of guys that love the game. Four games in eight days, although all of them are here at McKale, that is a whole different mindset. ... It is a grind.”
Today’s game marks the Wildcats’ first of four scheduled for the next week as tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. MST. Here are some things to watch for in today’s game.
As we know, the Wildcats struggled with turning the ball over last season and that continued against Grambling State as they had 15 of them in their first game.
Turnovers flat-out kill any momentum that a team is starting to build up in a game. Smart teams win games in the long run, and it will take time for this young group to grow and learn as a team. With these easier non-conference games coming up before they start their Pac-12 conference play, this is the time this team needs to start to build on their overall talent.
Arizona totaled 21 fouls as a team against Grambling State. The Wildcats had five players with three or more fouls and Jemarl Baker Jr. had five personal fouls which led to playing only 16 minutes.
Good news — Ira Lee is returning to action against Eastern Washington, head coach Sean Miller said at his weekly press conference.
Lee missed the team’s season opener due to a concussion but has been ramping his workload up in practice throughout the last week.
“He was cleared about a week ago, and he has passed all of the concussion protocols,” Miller said. “We have implemented him slowly, and he’s full blast now. He’s been able to practice well, and he has a freshness about him. He’s experienced, he's one of our most physical players, and he gives us much-needed depth. We are a more prepared deeper group with [Lee].”
Brown transferred to Arizona after playing two seasons at Seattle University and has experience playing against Eastern Washington a few times across his college career. Brown went off on the Eagles last season, where he had 31 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
Things may be different for Brown now as he is no longer the team’s number one scoring option. Either way, he is still hoping to have a better performance than his first showing a week ago. Brown wasn’t involved in the offense from a scoring side, as he only shot the ball four times and ended the game with two points. He did, however, have seven assists and two steals.
“I think my role is whatever the team needs me to be,” Brown said. “If that means making a lot of assists and get everybody else involved, then I’ll do that. If that means guarding the opponents’ best player on the guard side, I’ll do that. If that means scoring and being aggressive, I’ll do that. But whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m fine with that role.”
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