Arizona Wildcats Beat Rice Despite Sloppy Play

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

MIAMI - MARCH 22:  Guard Nic Wise #13 of the  University of Arizona Wildcats steals the ball from forward J'Nathan Bullock (L) of the Cleveland State University Vikings during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the American Airlines Arena on March 22, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats looked sloppy against the Rice Owls Thursday night.

Despite winning 66-49 over the Owls, the Cats struggled to find a rhythm in their game.

There was a constant helter skelter surrounding the Wildcats.

Passes flying everywhere, turnovers, and hurried shots. There was not the consistent flow to the game that so many Arizona fans are used to seeing.

A lot of this could be contributed to Sean Miller's substitution rotation. It seemed at every stoppage in play, another Wildcat was trading the floor for the bench and vice versa.

Every scholarship player who wasn't injured played in the game. The team did not seem able to find a rhythm with whoever else happened to be in the game. As a unit, they do not seem entirely confident in each other's abilities.

This has a lot to do with players not yet sure of what their roles are on the team.

Based on the first two games only three players seem to know what their roles are and are confident in doing them.

The first is Nic Wise. Wise is the team's best player and knows he will be counted upon to do the heavy lifting for the team. As the team's only senior he took on the role against Rice; racking up 15 points, seven assists, and five steals.

Wise showed why he will be so vital for this team this year. He will lead them on the court, while at the same time trying to help develop the underclassmen into being a more cohesive unit.

The second is Solomon Hill. Hill knows that he is going to be counted on to do a little bit of everything and two games into the season he looks confident with the role.

Hill has scored double figures in both games so far and proved himself to have excellent hands for a wing player. He is also not afraid to get down low and fight for the rebound against bigger, more physical opponents.

Derrick Williams is the third player who looks confident in his role. Williams seems to know that he will be counted on to be the guy who will need to hit the glass at all times.

Even though he is only averaging five rebounds a game, he is active and a pest to the opposition. He will also be the dunker on the team. He showed it against Rice flying in for a momentum-swinging dunk.

Jamelle Horne seemed to gain confidence as the game went on but early in the game you could see his frustration with his teammates. Horne needs to remember that he made the same mistakes last year and let it go, if he wants to help the team improve.

Arizona is young and is bound to go through some growing pains. Hopefully they won't last too long as the Cats are heading to Hawaii to play in the Maui Invitational November 23-26.