#14 Arizona Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111

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arizona wildcats cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With a loaded recruiting class and one key transfer, Sean Miller is stacking talent in Tuscon and should have the Arizona Wildcats competing with UCLA for the Pac 12 title.

ARIZONA WILDCATS
Last Season: T-4th, 12-6 in Pac-12, 23-12 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (Fr)/Angelo Chol (So)
PF: Grant Jarrett (Fr)/Brandon Ashley (Fr)/Matt Korcheck (Jr)
SF: Solomon Hill (Sr)/Kevin Parrom (Sr)
SG: Nick Johnson (So)/Gabe York (Fr)
PG: Mark Lyons (Sr)/Jordin Mayes (Jr)

Gone: PF-Jesse Perry, SG-Kyle Fogg, SG-Brendon Lavender, C-Alex Jacobson, PG-Josiah Turner (overseas) PF-Sidiki Johnson (transfer-Providence), C-Kyryl Natyazhko (overseas)

2012-2013 Outlook:
That key transfer is Xavier guard Mark Lyons who is reunited with Miller after Miller recruiting Lyons to originally become a Musketeer.  Lyons primarily played off the ball alongside Tu Holloway during his three years at Xavier but transitions into the role of floor general at ‘Zona which will be a challenge since he is used to being more of a scorer than true distributor.

Sophomore Nick Johnson will flank Lyons in the backcourt.  As most freshman do, Johnson had his shares of highs and lows.  He is more than a capable shooter and has off the charts athleticism for someone his height (6’3.)  Johnson can also run the point if Miller needs.

After showing great promise during his freshman campaign, Jordin Mayes regressed some as a sophomore mainly because he really struggled shooting the rock.  I don’t think he is at all a true point guard but will run the show for the second unit.  Freshman Gabe York is another combo guard who can really light it up from distance and should see quality minutes off the bench.

Besides Lyons, Miller picked up another transfer point guard in Duquesne’s T.J. McConnell.  He must sit out this season per NCAA rules but figures to become the lead guard in 2013-14 when he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

One of Arizona’s biggest weaknesses last year was their lack of a true low post presence.  That should change this year with the addition of three top ten caliber bigs.  Seven-footer Kaleb Tarczewski is a pure center who hasn’t even scratched the surface as to how good he can become.  He is a decent enough scorer to get points on the block and also runs the floor extremely well.  Energetic Angelo Chol brings length and rebounding to the floor but is still rather raw as an offensive player.

Highly-touted freshmen Grant Jarrett and Brandon Ashley will compete for minutes at power forward.  Jarrett seems to have the upper-hand in winning the starting job and has terrific athleticism to complement his broadening 6-10 frame.  He and Tarczewski together offer a ton of length inside which will make it difficult for opposing team to score in the lane.  Ashley has great athleticism as well but is probably more skilled as a scorer.  He can get to the rim off the bounce and has a solid mid-range game to boot.  6’10 JUCO transfer Matt Korcheck adds even more size inside though I can’t see him earning regular minutes unless there is an injury.

With the improved depth and talent up-front, Solomon Hill will be able to return to his more natural small forward position.  He is a tough match-up for defenders because he can overpower smaller opponents on the block but can also stretch defenses with his outside shooting and use his quickness to take defenders off the bounce.  Athletic wing Kevin Parrom adds more versatility off the bench as he looks to bounce back from an emotional junior year.  He is at his best in transition but can also shoot the three ball and guard a couple of different positions.

Miller has brought a ton of talent to Tuscon in the past two years.  The level of success this season depends on two things; how much of an immediate impact the freshmen frontcourt of Tarczewski, Jarrett, and Ashley will make and how well Lyons operates as the true point guard.  I think the ‘Cats are a year away from being a true Final Four contender although I wouldn’t rule it out if everything meshes.

Player to Watch: Solomon Hill
With all the young and new talent for the ‘Cats, Hill might go as the forgotten man.  He had to shoulder quite a load last season but can relax a bit with so much talent around him.  That should open up more opportunities and I think he is the one dependable piece for Miller.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. UTEP
11/18 vs. Long Beach State
12/1 at Texas Tech
12/4 vs. Southern Miss
12/8 at Clemson
12/15 vs. Florida
12/22 vs. East Tennessee State (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Miami, FL/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. San Diego State/San Francisco/Ole Miss/Indiana State (Diamond Head Classic)

 

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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