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No. 11 Arizona’s defense is cause for concern again in loss to USC

Feb 27, 2013, 11:54 PM EDT

Sean Miller AP

No. 11 Arizona allowed USC to shoot an astounding 61 percent from the floor in an 89-78 loss at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Wednesday night.

The Trojans, who came into the game ranked 212th in the country in field goal percentage at just over 42 percent, had five players in double figures, led by Eric Wise’s 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. One bad night defensively wouldn’t make this a primary concern, expect for the fact that we’re seeing a trend emerge.

Arizona has lost five games in Pac-12 play and in those games, no opponent has shot less than 48 percent from the floor. Feb. 14 against Colorado, the Buffaloes shot 50 percent. Feb. 10 against Cal, the Bears shot 59 percent. UCLA shot 49 percent in its win over Arizona on Jan. 24. Oregon shot 48 percent in its victory Jan. 10.

If Arizona wants to win in the Pac-12 tournament and more importantly in the NCAA tournament, the defense on the perimeter needs to be tighter and defenders need to get out to shooters at the three-point line. Wednesday, they allowed an average three-point shooting team hit 6-of-10 from behind the arc.

Against elite shooting teams like Indiana, Duke, and Michigan, how will the Wildcats fare? The simple answer: not well.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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