The Arizona Wildcats are hitting their stride at the right time and are busily preparing for arguably the biggest game left on their schedule: the Battle If Seattle, in which they will take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs. These two programs have played hard-fought games in the past and we should expect no different on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, who enter with a record of 6-2, are a young team that have struggled to play consistently on both ends of the court in 2011. Of their six wins, their best one likely comes over a mediocre Washington State team, while their losses came against Michigan State and Illinois. The team struggled in their last contest against Oral Roberts, a game they won by six points at home.
The Zags are led by head coach Mark Few, who is 315-83 since taking over the program in 1999, and will be playing in front of a pro-Bulldog crowd in Seattle. GU is led by big man Robert Sacre, who could give the UA fits all game with his size and strength around the basket. A 7'0, 260 pound fifth-year senior, Sacre averages 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds on a nightly basis. Expect a double team to come more times than not when he catches the ball in the post.
Gonzaga's second leading scorer is freshman guard Kevin Pangos, who drew comparisons to Jimmer Fredette after hitting nine 3-pointers in the second game of his career. Since breaking out for 33 points, Pangos has played well, although he has struggled with his shot in recent weeks. Gary Bell is another freshman guard who will see a lot of playing time, and he's averaging nearly nine points a game.
In what should be the matchup of the game with Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom, junior forward Elias Harris does a bit of everything for the Bulldogs. The 6'7 wing scores the ball from all over the floor and leads the team with 8.4 rebounds-per-game.
Young guards galore: Between Pangos, Bell, David Stockton, Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson and Jordin Mayes, the Battle In Seattle will feature six underclassman guards that will see a lot of playing time. Each trio is capable of carrying their team offensively, and whichever side gets better production from their trio will likely come away with the victory.
TV Coverage: CBS will air the game nationally, with tipoff coming at 1 p.m. in Seattle. That's 2 p.m. in Tucson and 4 p.m. on the east coast.