No. 2 Arizona set for trek to Bahamas to face N.C. State

No. 2 Arizona will take its show on the road as it leaves McKale Center for the first time this season to play in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis event beginning Wednesday.

Sean Miller's team will play three games in as many days by opening the event against North Carolina State (4-0).

The Wildcats (3-0) are no stranger to playing in Thanksgiving week tournaments, having participated in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational last season and the DirecTV Wooden Legacy event in 2015. Miller's team won the Maui Invitational in 2014, having to play three games in three days there as well.

For Miller, the tournaments always provide an early look at what his team needs to work on and improve before finishing out the rest of its nonconference schedule.

"Three games in three days is very challenging," Miller said. "It is. It tests your depth. It tests your starters, guys that play heavy minutes. But you learn a lot about your team and your team grows from that experience.

"A year ago we lost to Butler, and it wasn't a three-game in three-day event, but we really improved after we lost to Butler because we had our team's attention. We were able to fix a few things that needed to get fixed and it made us grow and move forward."

The trip will also mark the return home for one of Arizona's most impressive freshman, Deandre Ayton, who lived in the Bahamas before moving to San Diego and then Phoenix as his high school career unfolded. The Wildcats' starting power forward is averaging 18.7 points and 11.7 rebounds through his first three games, and being able to play in front of his home crowd is something the Nassau native is relishing.

"Oh, I'm looking for a big crowd," Ayton said. "You know, Arizona is about to shut it down."

Miller's team will open things up with the Wolfpack, a team Arizona is 2-0 against all time -- with the last meeting coming back in 2010.

N.C. State has opened up its first season under head coach Kevin Keatts averaging 90.3 points while allowing its four opponents an average of just 65.8. The Wolfpack shot just over 54 percent in their last game, an 86-68 win over Presbyterian, and was able to force 22 turnovers.

N.C. State opponents have had at least 20 turnovers in each of the first four games this season.

"The way we play, we feel like towards the end of the game most teams won't have the legs that we have," Keatts said.

N.C. State goes into the game with five players averaging double figures, led by Torin Dorn. The redshirt junior guard is averaging 18.5 points and a team-high seven rebounds through the first four games.

A victory on Wednesday for Arizona would mean a meeting with the winner of the game between SMU and Northern Iowa.
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