Dane Miller’s Arizona vs Cincinnati Men’s Hoops Preview

Winning the Maui Invitational would drastically help Arizona's and the Pac-12’s perception

Posted on November 21, 2022

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

In desperate need of a few resume wins, the hopes of the Pac-12 arguably rest on Arizona.

UCLA dropped the ball in Las Vegas and clearly have a long way to go before Mick Cronin’s team reaches its potential. The Wildcats, however, are a veteran group with a deep rotation.

Winning the Maui Invitational would drastically help the league’s perception and might be worth an extra At-Large bid come Selection Sunday.

I preview Arizona’s opening game here and my pick appears at the bottom. 

No. 14 Arizona v. Cincinnati

Monday, November 21
8:30 pm PT, ESPN2

Arizona faces its first test of the season in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. The Cats have won the tournament two times with the most recent coming in 2014. 

Laden with a veteran starting five, Tommy Lloyd’s team has the firepower to run the Bearcats off the floor.

Azuolas Tubelis is averaging 20.0 points per game, Oumar Ballo is putting up 17.0, while Pelle Larsson and Kerr Kriisa are each posting 15.7 per night.

And with the return of point guard Courtney Ramey, UA has a rotation that legitimately runs nine-deep. 

Arizona C Oumar Ballo goes up for a shot vs Utah Tech | Rick Scuteri/AP

Turnovers have been a problem to open the year, though. The Wildcats turnovers per possession rate is 24.2 percent, which puts Lloyd’s team near the bottom of the nation. Taking care of the ball against Cincinnati will be a primary storyline to watch. 

The Bearcats, on the other hand, are elite at limiting turnovers. They also share the ball willingly, rebound among the nation’s best, and block shots at a high rate.

But with relative questions in their frontcourt, the American Athletic Conference team might struggle against Arizona’s bigs.  

The result could be a strong game from Tubelis and Ballo with the Cats raining threes as Cincinnati overcompensates to defend the interior. 

Look for UA to make a point to get the ball inside and for Kriisa and Larsson to knock down open looks from deep.

Dane Miller’s Game Pick

—More from Dane Miller—