Critiquing the 'Cats, as they win 75-74 over Oregon
Well, the secret is out. Arizona can't play defense. Their most dependable defenders are Ivan Radenovic (a senior), Daniel Dillon (also a senior), and a walk-on, Brett Brielmeier -- none of which are supremely talented athletically. Mustafa Shakur is actually not that quick. The NBA likes how he's 6'4'', but somehow he doesn't shoot over small point guards.
Every game I watch, Marcus Williams is out of position, chasing after a three-point shooter he somehow lost. Chase Budinger is soft. Juwann McClelland has no explosion.
Jordan Hill is a promising young player. But watch North Carolina -- their 6'9'' guys can jump out of the gym as well as shoot and drive to the basket. Jordan Hill can run, dunk, rebound and dunk, but can't shoot or dribble.
It's quite evident that conference games are won and lost with defense and rebounding, and getting the ball to the open player -- i.e. team offense. Player for player, a team like Oregon or Wisconsin is just more solid. I don't think Lute emphasizes strength training very much.
I'm watching their game with Oregon right now. They've shown heart, and shooting touch with Budinger and Williams. But: it comes down to STOPS!
The 'Cats always seem to be chasing on defense. Right on point -- Oregon hits another open three pointer, off of three passes. The replay shows one player getting triple-teamed 20 feet from the basket. Quick dribblers easily penetrate on this Arizona team.
Shakur just made a great defensive play, getting a charge out in the open court -- seldom called that way. That effectively won the game. Pretty impressive. They did, however, have to outscore their opponent.
Excellent effort, with Radenovic making a big shot, Budinger making a catch-and-shoot deep three, and two smart defensive plays to finish the game.
This year's Arizona Wildcats belie Lute Olson's somewhat weak recruiting philosophy; he recruits scorer-skill players, and not badasses who rip rebounds and almost burst the basketball when the catch it and grind their teeth and flex their muscles after banging for a rebound. Raw athletes that toss 300-lb. bench presses and squat 450. Guys that drop-step dunk on people.
It's often mentioned that Chase Budinger was a world-class volleyball player in his native San Diego. Who dominated high school football on the Wildcats, though? Brett Brielmeier only, I'd bet.