A battle of unbeatens is happening Thursday night, with the No. 12 Arizona Wildcats (7-0) hosting the Kansas Jayhawks (7-0). The matchup will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network; tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.
Arizona is right where it wants to be entering this game. It has not lost a non-conference matchup and is the second-highest-ranked team in the Pac-12. There are many reasons why the Wildcats are playing so well, but it starts and ends with Cate Reese. She has been not only the team leader but a productive player averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
Another reason why the Wildcats have been so successful is the balanced contributions they’ve gotten from the roster. Shaina Pellington leads the team in points with 15.6 and Esmery Martinez leads in rebounds with 9.6. This combination of production and leadership is why the Wildcats will be favorites to win at home against Kansas.
For Kansas to pull off the upset, they’ll be relying on Taiyanna Jackson to have a standout performance. Jackson is nearly averaging a double-double, leading the team in both points and rebounds. In the guard department, the trio of Holly Kersgieter, Zakiyah Franklin, and Wyvette Mayberry will lead a backcourt looking to best the Arizona guards.
A win on Thursday would not only be an upset, but it would also solidify that Kansas is a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. The key for the Jayhawks will be to get off to a good start. Arizona has blown out every opponent this year with its stifling defensive effort, so keeping up during the opening minutes would set the tone for the night.
Kansas Jayhawks (7-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. No. 12 Arizona Wildcats (7-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
When: Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: McKale Center in Tucson, AZ
How to watch: Pac-12 Network
Key to the matchup: The smallest margin of victory for the Wildcats so far has been 18 points, so they’ll be looking to get an early lead and cruise to victory. For the Jayhwaks to avoid this fate, Jackson will have to play her best game of the year and the trio of Mayberry, Franklin and Kersgieter will have to best the Wildcats’ depth. A tall order, but it will be a joy to watch Kansas test itself against a top opponent.