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Dane Miller’s Pac-12 Men’s Hoops Preview for Feb. 4

Arizona can take a one-game lead over Oregon and WSU with a win today over Stanford

Posted on February 4, 2024


  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

Pac-12The Pac-12 race remains close with seven teams within two games of each other in the top half of the Conference.

Oregon’s loss to UCLA on Saturday gave Arizona a half-game lead over the Ducks and Cougars. The Wildcats will have a chance to extend it with a win over Stanford today in Tucson.

I preview the game here and my pick appears at the bottom along with my record across the whole season.

Stanford at No. 11 ArizonaArizona football Pac-12

Sunday, February 4
5:00 pm PT, FS1

You can bet Tommy Lloyd and his players have this game circled.

After getting embarrassed in Palo Alto at the end of December, Arizona is out for blood. Playing in front of what should undoubtedly be a hostile crowd, Stanford will have its work cut out for it.

Still, the Cardinal match up well with the Wildcats.

With height across the board and efficient shooters at every position, Jerod Haase’s group has historically been able to frustrate Lloyd’s rosters.

But this isn’t Maples Pavilion.

There’s a reason why Arizona has one of the top home-court advantages in the nation.

The energy from the crowd is arguably worth 20 points per game and has the power to become the decisive blow because of its ability to engineer runs.

There’s something special about 14,000 die-hard fans screaming as loud as they can for their team to put a ball in a hoop. And it’s mostly felt when Arizona is on defense.

Arizona’s Oumar Ballo vs Cal | Darryl Webb/AP

Communication becomes hampered, the referees become influenced, and the UA players get a boost of energy.

The practical effect is that Arizona’s defensive rebounding gets even stronger and its ability to create turnovers increases exponentially.

All because of the heightened effort levels that the crowd induces.

And that’s without even discussing what happens on offense.

Any dunks get the crowd riled up while threes can spark a fervor pitch. It all rolls into one with the players shooting efficiently and scoring on the fast break.

There aren’t many programs around the country that have such advantages and it’s fair to describe it as a thing of beauty.

For Arizona to do what it needs to do, the game plan is simple: Defend the three.

Stanford set a program record from beyond the arc in the first matchup and the players know that can’t be repeated. Outside of contesting threes, defensive rebounding has to be emphasized.

The Cardinal are a somewhat poor rebounding group and could get exposed at McKale. Unless Arizona has an off-night shooting, the Cats should deliver a statement win.


Dane Miller’s Game Pick

2023-24 Week 5 Pac-12 Games


Pick

Stanford at Arizona
Feb 4, 5:00 PM PT
Arizona football Pac-12Arizona
 Overall Record 132-55-0 (71%)



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