Men's basketball notes: Deep, talented field highlights Maui Invitational
By Roman Veytsman
Jacob Konst/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior guard Hassan Adams guards a Team Georgia player during Arizona's 104-81 win Wednesday night in McKale Center. The Wildcats begin play in the EA Sports Maui Invitational with a first-round matchup Monday against Kansas.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 18, 2005
As the Arizona men's basketball team prepares for the season-opening EA Sports Maui Invitational that starts Monday and runs through Wednesday, here's a breakdown of all competing teams, in order of their first-round matchups:
Chaminade stunned Ralph Sampson and top-ranked Virginia in 1982, and two years ago beat a Villanova team with many of the same players who comprise the No. 4 squad in the country.
The Eagles are a guard-oriented team who will try to run up and down with the big boys, and they are led by first-year head coach Matt Mahar, who also serves as the school's athletic director.
Go-to player: Junior forward Zach Whiting (14.5 points per game, 6.0 rebounds last season).
What they must do to win: Pray.
Despite losing three 3,000-point scorers in Kelvin Torbert, Chris Hill and Alan Anderson, No. 4 Michigan State, the highest-ranked team in the tournament, brings back much of its nucleus.
Point guard Drew Neitzel enters his second season and gives the Spartans a much-needed true point guard, something they've been lacking since Mateen Cleaves.
In the middle, senior center Paul (Bunyan) Davis, a former McDonald's All-American, will hit the boards and do the dirty work, but can also score in a number of ways.
Go-to player: Davis (12.3 points, 8.0 rebounds)
What they must do to win: They have to slow the pace with their defense and make teams play in the half-court.
National player of the year candidate Adam Morrison is joined by Derek Raivio, who is sometimes mistaken for a second grader but plays like Dan Dickau; athletic wing Errol Knight, the defensive stopper; big men Sean Mallon and J.P. Batista; and newcomer Pierre Marie Altidor Cespedes.
The Bulldogs will push the tempo but also run their flex offense, and with so many options they can score faster than opponents can say Pierre Marie Altidor Cespedes.
Go-to player: Morrison (19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds)
What they must do to win: Share the ball. Raivio must find a way to make everyone happy and keep the ball moving.
Junior guard D.J. Strawberry is back after missing more than half of the season with a knee injury. He will give the Terps the defensive stopper they have lacked on the perimeter and join senior forward Nick Caner-Medley, juniors Mike Jones and Ekene Ibekwe, and senior guard Chris McCray to give Maryland a formidable starting five.
Go-to player: Caner-Medley (16.0 points, 6.2 rebounds)
What they must to do to win: Find a playmaker at the point guard position.
J.R. Giddens transferred, and Wayne Simien and Aaron Miles graduated. So what's left for head coach Bill Self?
Three walk-ons turned into scholarship players, and in came four incoming freshmen who make as good of a recruiting class as any in the nation.
Guards Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs and Brandon Rush, brother of the Charlotte Bobcats' Kareem Rush and ex-UCLA player JaRon Rush, join forward Julian Wright, as all four are expected to contribute.
Go-to player: Sophomore forward C.J. Giles (2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds)
What they have to do win: Let the freshmen loose.
Sophomore guard Jawann McClellan will not be making the trip because of academic ineligibility, but freshman forward Marcus Williams has taken to the sixth-man role in the preseason. A versatile scorer and defender, he will add on to the scoring of senior guards Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers.
Go-to player: Adams (12.7 points, 6.0 rebounds)
What they must do to win: The Wildcats need their pressure defense to cause turnovers, and if the game is played at their pace, no team in the country can run with them.
Led by head coach Stan Heath, who was one win away from the Final Four with Kent State in 2002, Arkansas returns 6-foot-7 junior guard Ronnie Brewer and senior guard Jonathon Modica, as well as beefy big men Darian Townes and Charles Thomas, who both scored more than 20 points in their last exhibition game.
Go-to player: Brewer (16.2 points, 4.8 rebounds)
What they need to do win: Take the Husky big men out of the game and force their guards to make plays.
With point guards Marcus Williams (no relation to Arizona's) and A.J. Price out because of off-court issues (stealing laptop computers), Connecticut will go with two inexperienced court leaders in freshmen Craig Austrie and Rob Garrison, neither of whom figured to play before the suspensions.
UConn still has a formidable front line, which includes senior forwards Hilton Armstrong, Ed Nelson and Denham Brown, as well as senior sharpshooter Rashad Anderson and junior center Josh Boone.
Go-to player: Sophomore forward Rudy Gay (11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds). He's most experts' 2006 NBA No. 1 overall draft pick.
What they need to do to win: Throw the ball inside and do it often.
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