Finding weaknesses in the Arizona basketball team—currently unbeaten at 6-0, ranked No. 8 in the AP Top 25 and averaging 81.5 points per contest—is a task that requires a compulsive focus on the negative.
According to the Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe, Arizona's ranking is its highest since 2007. That was Lute Olson's last season in Tucson.
With the sudden departures of Tyler Lamb and Josh Smith at UCLA, the Cats are now the runaway faves to take the Pac-12 title, and many experts are calling them a legitimate national-title threat.
But there are issues just under the surface, perhaps not blatant at this early juncture of the season.
This is not a finished product.
The weaknesses are there, and for Arizona to fulfill its potential as a Final Four contender, the following areas need to be solidified.
Arizona goes through stretches of recklessness with the basketball.
Sean Miller's latest unit does not yet take care of the basketball in a manner worthy of keeping the No. 8 slot in the country, coughing it up 15.7 times per game.
That's bad enough for 256th among 347 D-I teams, via TeamRankings.com.
The Cats were historically bad against Southern Mississippi, committing 27 turnovers—their worst performance in that category in 13 years, according to Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen.
While that's by far the bleakest showing, it's not the only time the Wildcats have gone through careless lapses.
Arizona's struggled with this for extended periods during the early portion of 2012-13. Against UTEP, they threw the ball away 19 times. Against Texas Tech, they added another 15, though the bulk of those came in a sloppy first half.
In half of the games played so far, the Wildcats have shown a significant tendency to give away possessions.
If Arizona expects to fulfill its destiny as Pac-12 champs and Final Four contenders, the laziness when it comes to owning the ball must disappear.
The man pictured, Angelo Chol, is Sean Miller's veteran presence in the paint...and he's a 19-year-old sophomore who saw sparing minutes in his debut season.
Besides Chol, the rotation of post players includes a trio of true freshmen at the power forward and center slots—Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski.
The good news is that the bigs do not make the decisions in terms of initiating the offense.
And the Cats have a wealth of experience to do that in the backcourt and at the small forward position.
Arizona's primary playmakers—point guard Mark Lyons and forward Solomon Hill—are seniors, which should help mask the growing pains by the big boys in the middle.
And the other regulars in the backcourt—Kevin Parrom, Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes—all own substantial experience at the college level.
However, the issues may come defensively when the Cats go up against elite bigs, such as Florida's Patric Young and Erik Murphy, Washington State's Brock Motum or Colorado's Andre Roberson.
The youth will need to develop in a hurry on that end of the court in order to avoid being exposed.
As a former college point guard, and a wizard with the basketball in his hands as a kid, this aspect of the Wildcats' game must frustrate Sean Miller more than most.
Arizona's guards' ballhandling abilities are not always a sure thing, mainly due to lack of experience with that role. And this is often the key issue in the aforementioned turnover problem.
Take Mark Lyons, who is in the conversation as Arizona's best player right now.
He's a score-first point guard with a deft three-point stroke, top-shelf explosion toward the basket and an aggressive streak that is contagious on a team that was often too mellow in 2011-12.
He's averaging 12.3 points per game, he was hitting nearly 48 percent of his shots beyond the arc before Tuesday's clunker against Southern Miss (he went 0-for-7 from the field) and over 90 percent of his free throws. Scoring-wise, he's one of Arizona's primary options.
But this is Lyons' first time as the primary ballhandler, after playing the off-guard role at Xavier, with Tu Holloway owning that PG slot during his tenure in Cincinnati.
At times, that's emerged as an issue, with Lyons currently totaling more turnovers (18) than assists (14).
Off-guard Nick Johnson has proven himself as a steady handler, but not necessarily a press-breaking dribbler.
And Jordin Mayes, thought to be one of the program's best with the ball entering the year, has looked shaky at in this aspect times, with an assist-to-turnover ratio hovering just over one.
Against Texas Tech, while the Wildcats ultimately cruised, they had several first-half adventures getting the ball up court efficiently against the Red Raiders' full-court pressure defense. Against superior teams to Tech, those adventures become points against.
Arizona's non-conference schedule is considered among the weakest in the conference.
Besides a matchup at home against No. 6 Florida, the rest of the predetermined slate outside of the Pac-12 is imminently winnable, and the Wildcats should be favored in all of those contests.
That makes the showdown with the Gators a near must-win to boost Arizona's NCAA tourney seeding.
It's the only definite opportunity for the Cats to prove themselves against a fellow top-10 team, with no other programs in the Pac-12 appearing to be near that level.
The next best shot at a high-profile win is no lock to even take place. It may come in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, where the Cats could face off with fellow West Coast powerbroker San Diego State.
But, as stated, that's not a guarantee—both teams will likely have to advance to the championship round to make that happen.
Arizona was dominating everyone it faced ((though, as noted, the slate wasn't exactly murderous) until it saw Southern Miss at the McKale Center on Tuesday night.
The Golden Eagles, in trying to limit the game's total possessions, according to Pac-12 Network analyst Don McLean, opted to go heavy on the zone.
And the result was ugly, with the Wildcats trailing by eight points at the half, needing a last-second three-pointer from Nick Johnson at the buzzer to slim the lead to that margin.
It was an uncomfortable sight. Arizona's wealth of talent was reduced to heaving the ball around the perimeter before regularly firing up lazy three-point attempts.
That changed somewhat in the second half, as Arizona started pinging the ball around and through the zone with crisper passes, setting up looks in the post.
But the amount of time it took the Wildcats to figure out Southern Mississippi's defensive game plan was unacceptable for a top-10 ranked team.
The Wildcats have looked like one of the nation's best teams when they control the tempo.
However, if the opposition is able to dictate a slower, more thorough pace, Arizona is showing susceptibility early on.
When the three-pointers are not falling against that zone, Arizona can look vulnerable.