PG: Mark Lyons (6-1, 200, Sr.) vs. Mike Caffey (6-0, 170, So.)
Early in the season, it seems that Long Beach State is playing well when Caffey is doing the same. It is difficult for the 49ers to win if Caffey does not play well, which is a big reason why they have struggled to stay in the game against USC and UNC. Caffey is shooting only 25 percent from the field and has as many assists as turnovers. The reality is that Caffey is going to put up plenty of shots, whether they are good or bad. Lyons is the better player here and should be able to defend Caffey well.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Kris Gulley (6-7, 180, So.)
This is another matchup in which Johnson is at a height disadvantage, but is probably just as strong as the guy he is guarding. Gulley is a solid player that is not going to do many spectacular things, but will do well on the glass and score by not forcing the issue. He is averaging about eight points per game this season while shooting 69 percent from the field. Gulley has taken 13 shots this season, 10 of which are from behind the arc. He is second on the team in turnovers and can be forced into mistakes, which is what Sean Miller will likely ask Johnson to do defensively.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. James Ennis (6-7, 210, Sr.)
Ennis has been Long Beach State's best player this season, as he is averaging nearly 17 points and six rebounds per game on 48 percent shooting from the field. Ennis has 18 points and eight rebounds against UNC while adding four blocks as well, thus showing he can do it against legitimate competition. It would not be a surprise to see Ennis have a good game, but it is still difficult to give him the advantage over a player like Hill.
PF: Grant Jerrett (6-10, 235, Fr.) vs. Nick Shepherd (6-9, 214, So.)
If you look at Shepherd's stats, it is a wonder why he starts. Shepherd is averaging less than one point per game and started for the first time against UNC, a game in which he failed to score in 29 minutes. Even if LBSU switches up its starting lineup, Arizona has the potential to have a big advantage here. Jerrett should be able to be as effective as he was against UTEP and it is hard to imagine Long Beach State putting a player in this spot that can do the same.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Dan Jennings (6-9, 255, Jr.)
Jennings averages six points and eight rebounds per game with his conditioning likely being what is holding him back. While he is not a great shooter, you would figure a player like Jennings could get more than 25 minutes per game on LBSU, but his size is not enough to keep him in there longer. If Tarczewski is strong on the block, he should be able to hold his own defensively while also out-rebounding Jennings. This is a good matchup for Tarc because he is going up against a strong player that stays in the post and also happens to be shorter than him.
Bench: In what will likely be a pattern all season, Arizona's depth has been a major factor in each game it has played so far. Long Beach State is going to play seven guys for decent minutes while also possibly looking at Deng Deng to be the eighth. Arizona should be able to match the production of forward Kyle Richardson and guard Peter Pappageorge.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Dan Monson
You have to respect Monson for the schedule he plays and the fact that he is willing to travel to do it. Long Beach State has improved under his watch, but Monson was not extremely successful at Minnesota. While we like Monson as a coach and wonder if he will get a big job again sooner than later, Miller gets the advantage here.
Prediction: This is a game in which Arizona's depth will likely play a major role. We see Long Beach State coming out with energy, but the 49ers do not have enough firepower to keep up with Arizona. This game should be similar to the UNC game in that LBSU can hold Arizona for a bit, but eventually the talent disparity and depth will just be too much.
Arizona 76, Long Beach State 62