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February 6, 2013
Stanford will attempt to crash the 40th anniversary party Wednesday at McKale Center, seeking its second upset over a top-10 team in a week.
But seventh-ranked Arizona will be on high alert against the Cardinal, who knocked off then-No. 10 Oregon last Wednesday to help create a tie atop the Pac-12 Conference between the Wildcats and Ducks. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Our players are well aware of our conference's record," UA head coach Sean Miller said. "If I didn't ever talk about it, they would know. But for us to get where we hope to be and compete all the way through our last game, and have a real chance to win the conference, it's about being ready every day."
The Wildcats (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) will have the services of sixth man Kevin Parrom, who ejected midway through the first half of last Saturday's victory at Washington State for a flagrant-two foul on DaVonte Lacy.
Miller said he is "100 percent certain" Parrom did not punch Lacy, but that the senior swung his arms following a "physical blockout" and connected above Lacy's shoulders to warrant the ejection. The fourth-year head coach added that "retaliation is kind of [Parrom's] makeup," but that there is no tolerance for his actions.
The league did not further discipline Parrom, and Miller said the staff is "dealing with him internally." But Parrom has not missed any practice time since the incident, and Miller said he will play against the Cardinal.
"Kevin Parrom is one of my favorite players that I've ever coached," Miller added. "I would say the thing that you love about him is his unrelenting, competitive spirit.
"Kevin is a senior. He's been through many situations and he knows better, and I'd like to think that this would be the last incident of that kind that you ever see from him. He feels bad - he always does - because he's a good kid, but once in a while he'll let that physicalness get the best of him."
Parrom's ejection could have put the 'Cats in "tremendous jeopardy," Miller said, alluding to a stomach virus that limited sophomore guard Nick Johnson and the foul trouble that plagued point guard Mark Lyons early in the game.
Johnson is expected to be ready to play.
In addition, freshman Grant Jerrett experienced foot pain in the contest against the Cougars and was held out of practice. But Miller said it was merely for precautionary reasons, and the 6-10 forward is expected to be available.
"I think he will be fine," Miller said.
Stanford (14-8, 5-4 Pac-12) will look for its fourth straight victory and a carryover in its 3-point shooting. In their most recent wins over Oregon and Oregon State, the Cardinal combined to connect on 56.4 percent from beyond the arc - including 14 of 25 shots in the 81-73 win over the Beavers.
For the season, Stanford is tied for seventh in the Pac-12 from the 3-point line at 34.1 percent. But that number has looked drastically different since league play began. In nine Pac-12 contests, the Cardinal are the runaway No. 1 team from long distance at 44.9 percent. In that span, big man John Gage and guard Chasson Randle have combined to connect on 35 of 62 from deep to rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in conference play.
In addition, 6-10 forward Dwight Powell is not only Stanford's leading scorer (14.4 points per game) but a solid 3-point shooting threat (41.7 percent) - albeit, in limited attempts.
Something will have to give, however, as the Wildcats' last six opponents have combined to shoot 26.6 percent from the 3-point line.
"There's going to be those players that are pick-and-pop (power forwards) rather than a straight-up four man that's always in the post," said UA freshman Brandon Ashley, who will draw the assignment of Powell.