Observations: Arizona vs. UNLV

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Arizona defeated UNLV on Saturday and will be the number one team in the country come Monday. Read on to see what the win taught us about the Wildcats.

With a No. 1 ranking on the line and a talented (and under performing) UNLV team coming to town, Arizona had to know it was in for a fight on Saturday afternoon.

While it wasn't a great performance from the Wildcats, an excellent defensive performance in the second half and a huge day from T.J. McConnell secured a 63-58 win.

Here were the major takeaway points from UA's ninth win of the season.

  • Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the win was Sean Miller essentially employing a six-man rotation throughout. All five starters played 30+ minutes while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson logged 28 off the bench.

    After a really strong start against lesser competition, Gabe York has disappeared against the better teams with the athletes to guard him. He only played six minutes against the Rebels after being exploited a couple of times on the defensive end.

    Jordin Mayes got a couple of minutes in the second half, but he just doesn't seem to be in rhythm with any of his teammates.

  • Miller will continue to give York every chance to be successful off the bench. Arizona is a much, much better team when it has him as a go-to scoring threat.

    However, if he continues to struggle against the better teams, it'll be really interesting to see if Miller only uses six players once the games take on a greater meaning.

  • As far as individual performances go, McConnell simply took over the game late. He was the best player on the floor in the second half, and he was able to do it while continuing to set up his teammates.

    McConnell finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals, all while only turning the ball over once.

    On the season, the junior point guard is averaging about seven points, seven assists and four rebounds a game. Those numbers aren't going to get McConnell much national recognition, but for my money, you can count the number of point guards in college basketball who are better than he is on one hand.

  • For as good as McConnell was, Nick Johnson had a terrible game. After being really efficient all season long, Nick forced things and ended the day 4-for-15 from the floor with five turnovers.

    That being said, everyone is going to have an off day every once in a while and Johnson should be fine moving forward.

  • Kaleb Tarczewski played really well throughout. He ended the day with 12 points and eight rebounds, and he managed to get Khem Birch into serious foul trouble early.

    Zeus has been up-and-down all season long, but his performance over the weekend should not be overlooked. It's all about the matchup with him right now, and he took advantage of a serious mismatch against UNLV.

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