Three Thoughts On Zona-KU

By Josh Herwitt - November 25, 2007


I'm getting a chance to sit and watch Arizona take on No. 4 Kansas at Phogg Allen Fieldhouse in the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series, and there's a few things I'm learning while this game unfolds.

1. Chase Budinger is the straw that stirs the drink for Arizona.

The sophomore from Encinitas, Calif., had more points (15) than his teammates (14) at one point in the first half and has been the one player keeping the Wildcats in this game. Jerryd Bayless has looked good at moments but has also made some mistakes that you would expect from a freshman. Without Budinger on the floor, though, Arizona is still searching for production on a consistent basis from the rest of its starters.

2. Kansas needs a healthy Brandon Rush and Sherron Collins.

While Rush made a speedy recovery and return to the court after tearing his ACL last May, the Jayhawks are just not the same team without their preseason All-American forward. Rush, after all, led the team in scoring last year with 13.8 points and finished seconding in rebounding with 5.6 boards per game, while Collins, who underwent foot surgery to correct a stress fracture and is out until mid-December, was a significant contributor to Bill Self's team last season, shooting 40.5 percent from three and averaging 9.3 points in the Jayhawks' Elite Eight run.

3. Come back Lute Olson!

The Hall of Fame coach is still on his leave of absence while Kevin O'Neill handles the reigns right now for Arizona, but with the way purpose and intensity that the Wildcats have shown in a difficult environment against a Final Four-caliber team, Olson needs to make his return somewhat soon. If he's watching right now, he can't fault the effort that his players are showing, whether or not they do pull out a win in Lawrence.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 09:09 PM on November 25, 2007
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