NCAA Braket 2011: 5 Things the Arizona Wildcats Must Do To Beat Duke
The Arizona Wildcats are back in the Sweet 16 after a three-year absence. Their path has not been easy, and it doesn't get any easier against their next opponent, the Duke Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils won the NCAA tournament last year, and this year they could do the same thing. They still have most of their players back and still have probably the best coach in college basketball in Mike Krzyzewski.
But don't count the Wildcats out of this game.
Here are five things the Wildcats must do to pull off the upset.
5. Get Excited off the Home-Court Advantage
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This game is in Anaheim, California, and this is a very good thing for the Wildcats. A lot of Wildcat fans travel well and will make it to this game—even some students will.
This year, Arizona went undefeated at home. The student section and the crowd brought a unique atmosphere to the game and the team definitely found it easier to play.
Even though this game isn't quite a home game, the Wildcats still have an advantage that they need to capitalize on.
4. Play at the Wildcats' Pace
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The Wildcats play a fast, up-tempo kind of offense with a lot of points. The team averages 76.5 points per game, and if they can score that many against Duke, they can win.
But to score that many they have to play at their pace and push the ball down the court and make the Blue Devils push the ball, too.
At the same time, though, they have to stop the Blue Devils from scoring their average of 81 points per game.
This game could be a shootout and could end up with each team scoring 80 points.
3. Play Physical Defense
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The Blue Devils have far bigger men than the Wildcats do. They have the Plumlee brothers, who are both 6'10'', and no one who starts for Arizona is taller than 6'8''.
The solution to this is to play physical defense.
Don't let Duke's big men push you around and make sure they know you are there. Derrick Williams, Jesse Perry, Solomon Hill and Jamelle Horne will be playing defense against these big men and will have to play physically.
Williams cannot get into foul trouble, though, and must play smart.
2. Bench Has to Step Up
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The Wildcats' bench will have to play a big role in this game.
Against Texas, freshman Jordin Mayes came off the bench to add 16 points, while Brandon Lavender had eight points and Kevin Parrom contributed four.
But there is more than just offense needed from the bench. Parrom can do a little of everything and will play a big part of this game by playing defense on Duke's Kyle Singler.
Jamelle Horne and Kyryl Natyazhko must be able to come in and play solid defense against Duke's big men if any of the starters get into foul trouble.
Mayes must also have another big outing by making his three-pointers.
Most importantly, though, Brandon Lavender must be big in this game. He will have to step up by playing defense against Nolan Smith, who is one of the best players in the country. Lavender might be the best perimeter defender on the Wildcats, and he must also have somewhat of an offensive showing, too.
1. Derrick Williams Must Have a Big Game
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Plain and simple, Derrick Williams has to have a big game or this could be his last as a Wildcat.
Williams is the superstar of the Arizona team and averages 19 points per game while grabbing eight boards per game.
Throughout this tournament, he has put the team on his back by blocking the tying shot in the Memphis game and then winning the game with his heroic three-point play against Texas.
Williams has to score over 20 and have over 10 rebounds for the Wildcats to compete with Duke, which won't be easy, but Williams, being as good as he is, can definitely do it.
And if it comes down to a final shot, give the ball to Williams and let him do his thing.