OPPONENT PREVIEW: Wolverines set to clash with PAC 12 power house
Utah Valley University vs. University of Arizona
Where: Tucson, AZ
When: Dec. 6 at 7 PM
UVU will take on arguably its toughest opponent of the young season on Dec. 6 when they fly south to take on the Arizona Wildcats.
Quick Glance: University of Arizona
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Conference: PAC 12
Accolades: 1997 NCAA champions. 2001 NCAA runner-up.Four-time NCAA Final Four competitors. 16-time PAC 12 conference champions.
Arizona is coming off a regular season PAC 12 title, as well as the conference tournament championship. That success awarded them a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament western bracket. Picked by many college basketball experts to make a deep run in the Big Dance, the Wildcats fell flat in their opening round matchup with the University of Buffalo, a No.13 seed, losing significantly by a score of 89-68.
Looking to avenge the early exit from the NCAA tournament, head coach Sean Miller strung together another excellent recruiting class. Arizona also returns one of the deepest rosters in the PAC 12 to compliment their talented incoming class. This hype landed them into the top 25 of multiple news outlets’ preseason rankings, including Sporting News, one of the nation’s premiere ranking systems.
Arizona opened the 2018 campaign by winning its first four contests. Over the four victories, the Wildcats outscored their opponents by an average score of 23 points. Since then, however, they have dropped their last two games. The first loss of the season came at the hands of now No.1 ranked Gonzaga in the annual Maui Invitational, a prestigious tournament featuring some of college basketball’s most traditional schools. Arizona followed up that loss with a loss to No.8 Auburn in the concluding game of the invitational.
UVU will have its hands full with U of A and its talented roster. Arizona is expected to come out firing against the Wolverines. The Wildcats can’t afford to slip up against teams from outside of their conference. Sophomore guard Brandon Randolph comes into this matchup with UVU as the team’s leading scorer and best playmaker. Randolph has led the team in scoring in half of their six games. On the season, he averages 17.3 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. Efficiency is his game, as he’s shooting 54 percent on his field goals to begin the season.
Miller will have his team prepped and ready to take on the Wolverines. Miller is 327-251 in his 10 years at Arizona, averaging over 35 wins per season, an outstanding mark of consistency in modern college basketball.
Photo courtesy of: UVU Athletics