The Arizona Wildcats know that they'll have to play smarter, sounder and simply better basketball than they have been of late. Doing it against the Oregon Ducks in Matthew Knight Arena Thursday night won't be easy.
Dana Altman's team has won 16 straight games in the friendly confines of their relatively new arena, and a No. 4 Arizona team visiting is the highest ranked in the complex's one-plus year history.
Considering the Wildcats (14-0) squeaked out two wins against Colorado and Utah to open Pac-12 season last weekend, there could be cause for concern on their end. Sean Miller's team has struggled of late, and point guard Mark Lyons has been at the epicenter of that. He has hit just 28 percent of his shots in the past three games.
The Ducks and Wildcats are really quite opposites in regards to where their experience is; Arizona's is on the perimeter with seniors Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom and Lyons, while Oregon's lies in the interior. Tony Woods and Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi will test the Wildcats.
As far as youth is concerned, Oregon (12-2) has two freshmen in the backcourt in leading scorer Damyean Dotson (11.8 points per game) and point guard Dominic Artis, while Arizona is known for a freshmen trio of big men of Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett.