For the first time this season, No. 4 Arizona will leave the confines of the McKale Center and - also for the first time - will face a Power 5 opponent when it clashes with North Carolina State on Wednesday. This game, which is part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, pits two teams that have yet to lose this year.
The Wildcats have won their first three games by 34, 25 and 32 points and boast impressive statistics across the board. That bevy of impressive stats begins with Allonzo Trier, who is tied for the top spot in the nation in points per game (30.0) and is shooting a blistering 70 percent from the field and 10-of-17 beyond the arc. The All-American candidate is joined by freshman star Deandre Ayton, who is averaging 18.7 points and 11.7 rebounds to begin his career and has posted a double-double in all three games. NC State has won all four of its games by at least 18 points and is averaging 12 steals per game.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT ARIZONA (3-0): Trier has registered 32, 30 and 28 points in his first three games as a junior and looks much improved from the player who averaged 17.2 points on 39.1 percent 3-point shooting - impressive stats in their own right - last season. Dusan Ristic, a 7-foot senior, had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener and once again will team with the 7-1 Ayton to create matchup problems for a smaller opponent. Ayton, who is originally from the Bahamas, is 20-of-29 from two-point range but has missed five of his six 3-pointers so far.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (4-0): The Wolfpack have forced at least 20 turnovers in all four games and boast an offense featuring five double-digit scorers. Torin Dorn (18.5 points) has scored at least 14 points and shot at least 50 percent from the floor in all four games. Lennard Freeman led the team with 23 in Thursday’s win over Presbyterian and shot 9-of-12 to increase his season shooting percentage to a blistering 69.7 percent.
1. The winner will face either SMU or Northern Iowa in the next round.
2. Freeman and Omer Yurtseven have a combined 15 blocks for NC State. Their teammates have combined for two.
3. Arizona’s top seven scorers all shoot at least 75 percent from the foul line.
PREDICTION: Arizona 77, North Carolina State 70