The Arizona Wildcats will play their first true road game on Saturday as they head to Spokane, Washington to face Gonzaga. Last year, it took Arizona overtime to defeat Gonzaga 66-63 in one of the best games of the year. That was in Tucson. This year the two play on Gonzaga’s court and the Bulldogs look to improve on a 1-5 all time record against Arizona. Gonzaga is currently 5-1 with their only loss coming to 18th ranked Texas A&M 62-61. Arizona comes in at 6-1 with their only loss coming to 23rd ranked Providence. They recently lost their star center Kaleb Tarczewski until January to a foot injury that has many experts doubting their chances Saturday. Meanwhile, Gonzaga is thought of as a legitimate contender despite their disappointing loss to A&M. Still, if they have aspirations of being a top seed in this year’s tourney, then the Bulldogs need to take care of business at home Saturday.
Matchup to Watch: Without Tarczewski, Arizona will look to sophomore 7 footer Dusan Ristic to anchor their post defense. Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Zabonis will lead the offensive post attack for Gonzaga, and I expect them to look towards these two often. They need to find out whether Ristic is ready to be the starter at center.
When: December 5, 2016; 3:15 P.M. EST
Where: McCarthey Athletic Center; Spokane, WA
TV: ESPN, WatchESPN app
Line: Gonzaga -7
Prediction: Gonzaga 78 Arizona 68. Gonzaga has lost numerous close games to Arizona in the past and will look for some revenge on Saturday. They have a deep team led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer who is averaging 19.3 PPG. I expect the crowd combined with a hobbled Arizona squad to combine for a bad day for the Wildcats.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports