December 14 , 2008
Line: Zags by 5
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No. 4 (AP)
No. 4 (USA Today)
NR (USA Today)
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The Zags enter today's game looking to knock off their second consecutive Pac-10 team. After dismantling Washington State in Pullman, Gonzaga heads down to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Wildcats. Don't let the coaching instability fool you, Arizona has plenty of talent and will be up to the task against the Bulldogs. Here are a few things to watch today...
Don't Overlook the Wildcats: I know, it sounds crazy that a team would actually overlook Arizona but with a huge game against Connecticut looming, Mark Few has got to make sure this team is focused on the task at hand. If Gonzaga coms out flat, Arizona has the talent and athleticism to put up a lot of points in a short amount of time. It's imperative that the Zags set the tone in this game and never let Arizona get on a run.
Stop the Big Three: The big three consist of Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, and Nic Wise. If Arizona is going to beat Gonzaga, they are going to need huge efforts out of these three players. Budinger leads the Wildcats and is a super-athletic wing with excellent range. He's had an outstanding start to his junior season and is averaging nearly 20 points a game. Micah Downs will probably see alot of Chase today which should make for a nice matchup. Jordan Hill and Nic Wise are both great players in the mold of Wildcats from the past.
Jordan Hill vs. Josh Heytvelt: As we mentioned in our breakdown, this game should showcase just how good Josh Heytvelt is. Jordan Hill is going to give Josh all he can handle and the injury to Rob Sacre makes this match up all the more important. Both players have a tendency to become foul happy and this simply can't happen today because neither team has adaquate depth at the center position to fill in for these two great talents. It gets no easier for Mr. Heytvelt as he will be taking on the outstanding Hasheem Thabeet in six days.
Final Prediction: There is plenty of nervous enthusiasm for this game. Arizona presents a number of match up problems for Gonzaga today. I think the depth of the Zags will prove to be too much for the Wildcats however. I see it being a 6-8 point game throughout with the Zags sinking free throws at the end to give them an 84-70 victory.