Anyone remember Led Zeppelin?
Okay, that’s a stupid question.
The legendary rock band also has a Los-Angeles based cover/tribute band called “Led ZepAgain.”
They’re no Robert Plant-Jimmy Page combination, but they’re pretty decent. Good enough to go on tour, even.
Stay with me here.
Late in Los Angeles Thursday night, the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats will take on a pretty good version of themselves in sixth-seeded Xavier.
Formerly coached by current Wildcats frontman Sean Miller, the Musketeers are solid at the things in which Arizona is statistically better.
Their point guard, Dee Davis, brings to mind Wildcats guard T.J McConnell. Davis averages 6.0 assists per game and 8.9 points; McConnell averages 6.3 assists and 10.1 points per game.
Six Musketeers average better than 8.5 points per game, but six Wildcats average better than 9.0 points per game.
The Wildcats average 37.2 defensive rebounds a game while Xavier pulls down 34.8.
Arizona shoots 48.9 percent from the field and the Musketeers knock down 47.7 percent.
Xavier head coach Chris Mack was once Miller’s assistant coach. They operate with similarity, and the former has said before he looks up to the latter.
See it yet?
One is a mirror of the other on paper — but if you know Led Zeppelin, you know there’s just no beating the original.
It seems fitting then, that in a city which spawned hair metal and head-bangers, the Arizona Wildcats will take on their own cover band.
What are the keys to the game?
When the Zone Breaks
The Wildcats have been known to struggle against the zone. Oregon State beat Arizona earlier this season by utilizing it, and Ohio State kept the first half of their tournament matchup close by bringing out the zone.
Xavier will almost certainly play a 1-3-1, so breaking the zone will be key. York did this against Ohio State by hitting his clutch 3-pointers (he’s averaging 50 percent from the arc through his last handful of games and was 5-of-9 against Ohio State’s 2-3 zone).
The only thing is, York has to keep those numbers up.
He’ll be helped by McConnell, who, as per usual, came through for his team last game with 19 points.
For Xavier, leading scorer and big man Matt Stainbrook is a whale of an offensive threat.
The 6-foot-10 Uber moonlighter (yes, you read that correctly) averages 12.0 points per game along with 6.8 rebounds, and could be a major factor if Arizona big man Kaleb Tarczewski struggles.
And the latter has been known to falter at times. At 7-feet tall and 245 pounds, the center sometimes gets in his own way. He scored in double digits just once since the beginning of March, and despite a 9-rebound game against Ohio State, he was beaten on the glass in the previous three games, averaging under three boards per game throughout.
Tarczewski’s size could render Stainbrook a non-factor, but will his skill make it to the game with him?
Speaking of rebounding, if Xavier comes out in a zone, Arizona will get a better shot at crashing the boards — something that will likely be a big factor in the outcome of the game.
Despite seeing some success in zone, Ohio State was worn down by 18 offensive rebounds and second chances by the lanky, aggressive Wildcats.
On average, Arizona snags about 38 boards per game.
In the tournament, they’ve thus far out-rebounded opponents 35-19 and 43-26.
Just for Fun
…If “Heaven” is the Elite Eight…