Wildcats must bounce back from UNLV defeat

January 01, 2015 18:43:25 UK

The Arizona Wildcats move on from their non-conference schedule to open Pac-12 play on Sunday when the Arizona State Sun Devils come into town to play at the McKale Center in Tucson.

A 71-67 loss to UNLV two days before Christmas saw the Wildcats enter the festive season on something of a down note, but this is an Arizona side that is capable of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament come March.

Arriving in town are the Sun Devils who have something of a strange resume through their first 13 games. Defeats to Maryland, Alabama, Texas A & M, Marquette and Lehigh peg Arizona State as a side unlikely to join the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament.

However a 22-point hammering of the same UNLV Rebels that defeated Arizona and a nice victory over Harvard last time out suggests that Sean Miller’s side would do well not to over look their rival.

One place ahead of the Wildcats in the Associated Press Top 25 are the Bulldogs of Gonzaga despite the West Coast Conference side losing to Arizona earlier in the season. That 66-63 defeat remains the only blemish on an otherwise excellent non-conference performance that saw Gonzaga get the better of SMU, St. John’s and UCLA.

Saturday the Bulldogs continue on the road at the Chiles Center in Portland in a WCC match up with the Pilots. Post Christmas victories over BYU and San Diego have Gonzaga off to a quick start in the Conference where realistically over confidence is once again their biggest foe.

The Wildcats are 8.50 to win the NCAAB Championship, while the Bulldogs can be backed at 21.00.

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