It's the Third of the UA's Three Straight Games Against Top-10 Opponents
Spartans on Saturday: Coming off their first defeat of the season, the Arizona Wildcats (6-1; No. 2 AP; No. 2 USA Today/ESPN) play host to the Michigan State Spartans (7-1; No. 5 AP; No. 4 USA Today/ESPN) on Saturday, Dec. 11, at noon in the 14,489-seat McKale Center. The game will be televised nationally on CBS with Craig Bolerjack calling the play-by-play and Bill Raftery handling the color commentary. In what is the third consecutive game for the Cats versus a top-10 opponent and fourth game overall in 11 days, Arizona takes on a Spartan team that most recently beat an unbeaten Kansas squad (66-54) in the Great Eight last Tuesday. The Wildcats also played in the opening night of the Great Eight as well and dropped a 78-69 decision to Connecticut. Arizona has not lost consecutive non-conference games in the same season since 1989-90 (at UNLV/at Duke) and will take a 35-game home winning streak into Saturday's contest as well. After this game, Arizona hosts IUPUI on Monday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m.
Series History: Arizona leads the all-time series with Michigan State 2-0... The teams last met on Dec. 29, 1987, in the opening round of Arizona's Valley Bank Fiesta Classic in Tucson... The Wildcats recorded a 78-58 win and would go onto to beat Duke in the title game the next day... In that victory over MSU, Arizona, which was ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, was led by Sean Elliott, who scored a game-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting... Anthony Cook had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Tom Tolbert scored 13 and Steve Kerr had 11... The first game in the series came way back on Jan. 2, 1947... UA also prevailed in that contest, winning 45-43 at Michigan State... All-time against the Big-10, Arizona is 21-21.
UA's Probable Starting Lineup: 1999-00 Stats
Ht. Wt. Yr-Exp. PPG RPG APG/BPG/SPG F 21 Michael Wright 6-7 238 So.-1L 15.3 10.0 1.1 spg F 44 Richard Jefferson 6-7 222 So.-1L 13.0 5.3 3.1 apg C 3 Loren Woods 7-1 230 Jr.-TR 12.3 6.4 3.1 bpg G 0 Gilbert Arenas 6-3 191 Fr.-HS 13.6 3.7 3.1 apg G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 178 Fr.-HS 11.7 2.6 4.9 apg
Arizona's Last Action: Arizona's cold-shooting and youth was done in by the experience of the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies last Tuesday, as UConn handed the second-ranked UA its first loss of the season, 78-69, in the Great Eight Classic at Chicago. In what was its worst shooting performance of the season (.388 FG%), Arizona would fall behind and then catch-up throughout the game, but was never able to get over the hump. The Huskies became the first team to shoot 40% or better from the floor against the Wildcats this season (.441) and was led by the performance of Khalid El-Amin, who scored a game-high 23 points (9-of-24 FGA/4-of-8 3PT). Arizona had three players score in double figures, led by freshman Gilbert Arenas' 18 points. Loren Woods had a solid game, scoring 16 points to go with nine rebounds, four blocks and two assists. Michael Wright added his sixth double-double in seven games this year with 14 points and 10 rebounds. One of the keys to the UConn win was its bench play, as it outscored the UA bench 24-4.
Michigan State Notes: The Spartans will enter Saturday's game with a 6-1 record and have won four games in a row... The lone loss was to Texas in the Puerto Rico Shootout championship, 81-74... Arizona beat Texas in Austin on Dec. 4, 88-81... If you think Arizona's schedule has been tough, check out MSU's... It has included Providence, South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina and Kansas... A road game at Kentucky is also looming on the horizon... In the absence of point guard Mateen Cleaves, who is out 8-10 weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, the rest of the team has picked up its game... Six-foot-7 senior forward Morris Peterson (6-7) is the team's top scorer, averaging 17.8 ppg... He scored 31 in the win at North Carolina and 21 of his 49 field goals have been from three-point land... He is 21-of-39 from the arc (.538)... The top rebounder is 6-foot-8 junior forward Andre Hutson, who pulls down 7.4 rpg... Nine players are averaging more than 13 minutes per game... The Spartans are outrebounding the opposition by 14.2 rebounds per game... Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo, who is 95-42 in his five years at East Lansing... As did Arizona, MSU played in Milwaukee, Wis. portion of the NCAA Midwest bracket last March... The Spartans were the No. 1 seed and Arizona was No. 4.
Lute Olson is within reach of a pair of coaching milestones...
He is seven wins away for career win No. 600 and recently achieved win No. 400 at Arizona... Here is a look at his milestone career victories:
Win Date Team Opponent Score 1 12-1-73 LBSU Puget Sound 84-55 100 2-3-79 Iowa Minnesota 97-71 200 2-25-84 Arizona Oregon St. 69-58 300 3-27-88 Arizona North Carolina 70-52 400 2-13-93 Arizona Washington St. 94-72 500 2-11-96 Arizona Cincinnati 79-76Coach O: Lute Olson (Augsburg '56) is his 17th season as the head coach at Arizona and his 27th overall as a head coach... This season will see him reach even more milestones in what has become a Hall of Fame type coaching career... He has a career record of 593-213 (.736), while his mark in Tucson stands at 401-121 (.768), making Arizona one the dominant programs in the country... He needs just seven more wins for career win No. 600, which would make him one of just 33 coaches in NCAA history to win 600 or more games... With the win over BYU last week, he reached 400 victories for his Arizona career (these numbers may differ from what the NCAA coaching totals list, because as opposed to the Pac-10 Conference, the NCAA does not count forfeits as wins on head coaching records, as the case is with two UA losses to Cal in 1995 and 1996, which were later changed to wins... the same holds true with a game when Olson was at Iowa, when there was a forfeit by Wisconsin in 1983 that changed a loss into a win)... The season's opener against Kansas State was the 800th of his collegiate Division IA career... For his entire coaching career, including 11 years in high school (180-76 from 1956-69) and two in the junior college ranks (Long Beach City College, 104-20), he has coached in 1,186 games... He is 8-11 all-time versus Michigan State, with all but one of those games coming while he was the head coach at Iowa from 1974-83... During his 17-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won eight Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 15 years in a row, which is the second longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 25)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... He has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times (1986, 88, 89, 93, 94, 98), the Big-10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & 81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 12 years... His Pac-10 record stands at 223-65 (.774) and he is one of just six coaches in league history to win 200 or more conference games... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only John Wooden (.810/304-74)... Prior to coming to Arizona, he was at Iowa for nine years where he owned a 168-90 mark and before that, he was at Long Beach State for one season (1973-74), where he went 24-2... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 12 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 21 overall in his career... Under Olson, the Cats are 246-25 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 175 of their last 185 home games.
McKale Magic: Arizona currently has the nation's fourth-longest active home winning streak (as of Dec. 6)... The Wildcats have won 35 consecutive home games, trailing only Murray State (45), Duke (39) and Utah (37)... The last loss was a 66-64 defeat to UCLA on Feb. 13, 1997... The streak includes three games this year, all 14 home games last season, 15 in 1997-98 and the final three of the 1996-97 campaign... Further, Arizona has won 46 of its last 47 home games and is 175-10 in McKale Center since the 1987-88 season... During that time, the Cats have lost just two non-conference games (Syracuse - Dec. 23, 1995 & Arkansas - Dec. 6, 1992)... Overall, Arizona has won 21 consecutive non-conference home games... Last year was the ninth season in history that Arizona went undefeated at home... Arizona owns an all-time record of 339-64 (.841) in McKale Center... This will be the 12th season Arizona basketball has been sold out in McKale Center on a season-ticket basis... Only 10 pairs of mid-level tickets and 20 pairs of upper level tickets were not renewed for this year.
Pac-10 Team of the Decade???: Arizona has the most wins of any Pac-10 team in the 1990s (262), has won five Pac-10 Conference crowns and tied for one other... UCLA is second with four Pac-10 conference titles this decade... For conference games only, Arizona's record of 140-40 is the best in the league, with UCLA at No. 2 with a 134-47 mark... The Cats have been to the NCAA Tournament each year this decade and won it all in 1997... There have been 18 All-Pac-10 first team selections from Arizona, four Pac-10 Players of the Year and two Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year... Arizona has not recorded a double-digit loss total since 1986-87... The Wildcats' seven All-Americans during the 1990s trails only Duke's 10... UA and North Carolina are tied for second-most All-Americans in the 1990s.
Injury Update: Sophomore forward Michael Wright hyper-extended his right knee in the first half of the Connecticut game, but played the rest of the game, however, he is listed as questionable for Saturday... Freshman guard Gilbert Arenas strained his right hip flexor in the UConn game as well, but came back and played... He should be ready to go for Michigan State.
The UA's record of 326-75 over the course of the past 12 years gives it the nation's best winning percentage during that span (.813).
Cat Scratches: This week's No. 2 ranking in both the media and coaches polls is the highest for the UA since it was also No. 2 on March 2, 1998... That 1997-98 squad -- the defending national champions -- spent the entire season ranked no lower than eighth and was No. 1 for the first three weeks of the season... Arizona received six first place votes in the AP poll and three first place votes in USA Today/ESPN this week.. It started the season ranked ninth... Even after the UConn loss, the team continues to be ranked No. 1 in the latest Sagarin Rankings (as of Dec. 8)... The Wildcats still have four games remaining before Christmas (and seven before Pac-10 play starts)... Arizona is in the midst of a stretch that sees them play five games in 12 days... The Michigan State game is contest number-four in the span... UA hosts IUPUI on Monday night... The team is then off for finals week and returns to action on Dec. 18, when it plays Nebraska at the Las Vegas Showdown on ESPN2... Lute Olson has gone with the same starting lineup in all seven games this season -- last year a different one was used in each of the first seven games... The Cats are shooting .465 from the floor and holding the opposition to a .386 FG% mark...This week marks the 67th time that Arizona has been ranked in the top-five by the Associated Press... With Arizona ranked No. 2 and Stanford No. 3 this week, it marks the first time since Dec. 16, 1991, that the Pac-10 has had two teams ranked among the nation's top-three... That week, Arizona was No. 2 and UCLA was No. 3... Additionally, there are three Pac-10 teams ranked in among the top-11 -- no other conference office can claim that distinction this week (UCLA is No. 11)... Of Arizona's five starters, you have two sophomores (Wright/Jefferson) who have combined for 67 career games, two true freshmen (Gardner/Arenas) and a junior who had never played for the Cats until this season (Woods)... Arizona joins Kansas as the only three-time winners of the Preseason NIT, winning it in 1999, 1995 and 1990... Dating back to the first round loss of the 1986 Big Apple NIT, Arizona has won 65 of its last 71 games that have been played as part of an in-season tournament or one-game special event (i.e. Preseason NIT, Maui Invitational, Great Eight Classic, Great Alaska Shootout, Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic, etc., etc.)... One Arizona starter is shooting better then 60% from the floor -- Richard Jefferson, the starting small forward, leads the team in FG% at .603 (38-63)... Since the start of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats own a record of 64-15... Overall, Arizona has been ranked in the regular season Top-25 rankings for 203 straight weeks... The Cats have outscored their two opponents so far by +13.2 ppg... Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona has been ranked in the top-10 in 35 of the last 41 AP polling periods... Arizona is 32-0 when senior Josh Pastner plays, hence the term "A Pastner Game" applies whenever the Wildcats win big.
Roster Changes: Junior transfer Luke Recker has announced that he will transfer to Iowa for next semester... He had come to the UA from Indiana prior to this season, but will return to the Midwest to be closer to his family and girlfriend, who was injured in a July car crash... Of the transfer, he said, "After what happened this summer, I feel I need to be closer to my family, Kelly and Jason (Craig) and their family, and many other important people in my life. I have been nothing but extremely impressed with coach Lute Olson and the Arizona program and I will miss them greatly. First and foremost I would like to thank coach Olson and the Arizona basketball family for what they have done for me. They have been very supportive and helpful through the toughest time of my life. I care greatly for coach Olson, Mrs. Olson, the assistant coaches, the players and everyone involved in this tremendous program. But being close to my loved ones has become a priority at this time. I have been contemplating this decision since my arrival in Tucson. This decision is based solely on personal reasons."... In addition, Wildcat sophomore guard Ruben Douglas was granted his request for a release from his scholarship at the University of Arizona by the UA coaching staff on Nov. 14... He will continue his course work at the UA for the rest of the fall semester with the intent to transfer after that period.
Road Warriors: So far this season, Arizona has played in four different cities and three separate time zones while logging 8,100 travel miles (next week the team plays in Las Vegas and its fourth time zone of the season)... They have been through seven different airports and been on 12 different plane flights... This past week's hectic schedule has gone like this: after the Texas game last Saturday, the Wildcats, following a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call, returned to Tucson from Austin on Sunday around noon and practiced at 1 p.m... The players then attended classes on Monday, practiced afterwards at 1:30 p.m. and then had a 3:55 p.m flight for Chicago via Denver... They arrived in Chicago around 10 p.m and checked into the hotel around 11 p.m... The team then left Chicago the morning after the UConn game after a 6:15 a.m. wake-up call... After a two-hour layover in Denver, everyone arrived back in Tucson around 2 p.m. on Wednesday... And, oh yeah, finals begin on Friday, the day before the Michigan State game, and then a date with IUPUI follows on Monday.
Captains Elected: Senior Josh Pastner and junior Loren Woods were selected captains for this year's team in voting that was done by their teammates.
Block Party: Junior center Loren Woods is providing the UA basketball program with a luxury it has been without for the past few years a legitimate shot blocker... With 22 blocks already this season (3.1 bpg), he has over half as many blocks as last year's top shot blocker -- A.J. Bramlett -- had for the entire season (37)... In fact, Woods is close to half as many for the UA's top shot blockers in each of the past seven seasons... For a lowdown of the shot blockers in UA history, consult page 85 in the Arizona basketball media guide... Also, Richard Jefferson's 10 blocks this season is already one fewer than his entire total for the 1998-99 campaign.
Michael Wright's Career Double-Doubles (18 in 36 career games)
Arizona's record in these games is 12-6 Date Opponent Points Rebounds 12/14/98 UC-Irvine 15 13 1-2-99 at UCLA 14 10 1/4/99 at USC 11 12 1/14/99 at Arizona State 18 12 1/16/99 at New Mexico 15 17 1/23/99 at Oregon State 13 12 1/30/99 California 15 12 2/4/99 at Washington 19 10 2/13/99 Louisiana State 15 11 2/20/99 Oregon 19 13 3/4/99 USC 22 10 3/12/99 Oklahoma 16 12 11/16/99 Kansas State 11 10 11/19/99 New Mexico State 24 13 11/24/99 Notre Dame 22 11 12/1/99 BYU 19 10 12/4/99 Texas 16 13 12/7/99 Connecticut 14 10And Make It A Double: All-American candidate Michael Wright has started the year with six double-doubles in the first seven games, bringing his career double-double total to 18... The sophomore power forward has 18 double-doubles in just 36 career games... On the season, he is averaging a team-best 15.3 ppg and 10.0 rpg and shooting 57.6% from the floor... He is coming off a performance versus Connecticut that saw him go for 14 points and 10 rebounds... The only non double-double game was against Kentucky in the Preseason NIT championship when he was in early foul trouble early scored a career-low one point.. That performance came after a marquee outing against Notre Dame, when he went for 22 points and 11 boards... His 35 rebounds through the first three games of the Preseason NIT were three shy of the three-game tournament record of 38, set by Gary Trent (Miami of Ohio).. His rebounding average of 8.8 pg last season was the best ever for a freshman in the Pac-10 Conference.
The Kids are Alright: The freshman guard tandem of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas appear to have acclimated themselves quite well to the college game... Big parts of the UA's 6-1 start, they are combining for 25.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 8.0 apg and 4.6 spg... Arenas is second on the team in scoring (13.6 ppg) and Gardner is fifth (11.7ppg)... Gardner leads the team in minutes, averaging 35.0 mpg and Arenas is second at 29.0 mpg... Arenas has been solid from the free throw line, hitting 26-of-30 attempts (86.7%)... They enjoyed their time in the Madison Square Garden limelight for the Preseason NIT, appearing in their own version of an off-Broadway "CATS" performance... They were both named to the Preseason NIT All-Tournament team, while Arenas was the tourney's MVP... Playing in one of the "World's Most Famous Arenas", Arizona most famous Arenas averaged 17.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 3.5 spg, helping Arizona beat Notre Dame and Kentucky... He went for a game and career-high 20 points in the title game versus UK... As for Gardner, he averaged 9.5 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.0 spg and only turned the ball over once while playing in 72 of a possible 80 minutes.
Pac-10 Prognostications: The Wildcats were picked to win the 1999-2000 Pac-10 Conference title, according to a poll of media members who regularly cover the league... The poll showed Arizona getting 32 of the possible 36 first-place votes, edging No. 2 UCLA, who received three first place votes and No. 3 Stanford, which garnered one first place vote... Following the top-three were Oregon, Oregon State, California, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. This poll has correctly picked the Pac-10 Champion for five years in a row and Arizona has now been the preseason No. 1 pick six times since the poll was started back in 1989.
Arizona in 1999-00 Polls/Week-by-Week
Date Record AP USA Today/ESPN Pre. 0-0 #9 #9 11/15 1-0 #10 #9 11/22 2-0 #8 #9 11/29 4-0 #4 #4 12/6 6-0 #2 #2Ties Count as a Win: With each win by the Arizona basketball team this year, head coach Lute Olson donates the tie he wore in the game to the Tucson YMCA , and in turn they auction off that tie to the public, with all the proceeds going towards their youth programs... So far, his closet is minus six ties on the season...
Counting Classes: The 1999-2000 Arizona basketball roster is relatively young... From top-to-bottom, it is comprised of just two seniors, of which only one will play, due to Eugene Edgerson's redshirt season (Josh Pastner, who has played just 80 minutes in his four year career is the lone "playing" senior)... After that, there are four juniors two of whom had never played in a game for the Cats before the Kansas State season opener (Wake Forest transfer Loren Woods & junior college transfer Lamont Frazier)... Then there are three sophomores, one redshirt freshman and four true freshmen.
Who's Back: Heading the group of two returning starters and seven letterwinners is last year's Freshman All-American and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Michael Wright. A 6-foot-7, 238-pound sophomore from Chicago, Ill. (Farragut Academy), he has received preseason acclaim as being one the top power forwards in the country for 1999-2000. He is the team's leading returning scorer (13.9 ppg) and rebounder (8.8 rpg) after posting the best rebounding average by a freshman in Pac-10 history last season. The other returning starter from last year is sophomore Richard Jefferson (F, 6-7, 222, Phoenix, Ariz.)... (Ruben Douglas was a third returning starter, but he was granted his request to be released from his scholarship at the UA on Nov. 14). Jefferson was an All-Pac-10 Freshman team performer last season after averaging 11.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 2.9 apg. Among the other returning letterwinners are Justin Wessel (F, 6-8 , 225, Jr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Rick Anderson (F, 6-8 , 221, So., Long Beach, Calif.), John Ash (G, 5-10, 177, Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) and probably the most valuable player in the country who has averaged 2.6 minutes per game during his career, Josh Pastner (G, 5-11, 182, Kingwood, Texas).
A Redshirt Year: Another face that is returning this season, but will not be playing is Eugene Edgerson... He will redshirt this season so he can complete his degree requirement in his education major... In order to accomplish his goal of getting his degree and teaching certificate from the UA in four years, he will student teach during the 2000 spring semester, while fulfilling other requirements this fall... Depending on his teaching schedule, he will still practice with the team but will miss Wednesday practices during the fall semester.
The (Kind Of) New Faces: There are seven players on this season's roster who had never played in a game for the Wildcats before the season opener, although two of them were with the program last year and sat out either as a transfer or with a redshirt season. The transfer is junior center Loren Woods (7-1, 251, St. Louis, Mo.), who came to Arizona from Wake Forest. The former McDonald's All-American had to sit out last year, but is eligible to play in 1999-00 and will establish his presence right away. He did practice with the Cats in 1998-99, so he has a good knowledge of the system. The redshirt is Luke Walton (F, 6-8, 228, Fr., San Diego, Calif.). He missed last season with a medical redshirt after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot. He was healthy towards the end of last year and was able to practice with the team at the end of February.
2000 NCAA West Region First/Second Rounds in McKale Center
The University of Arizona will host the first and second rounds of the 2000 NCAA Tournament West Region this March 16 & 18 in McKale Center. Tickets are currently on sale for each of the three sessions and cost $90. Ticket orders can be made at the McKale Center ticket office or by calling 520-621-CATS (2287). Media credential applications will be ready in January. Contact media coordinator Tom Duddleston with any questions (520-621-4163).
The New Guys: The six fresh faces on the team are a talented group... There is one junior college transfers and four true freshmen... Junior college guard Lamont Frazier (6-3, 182, Jr.) comes to Tucson from Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas and is originally from Los Angeles... The four true freshmen on the squad include McDonald's All-American and starting point guard Jason Gardner (G, 5-10, 178, Indianapolis, Ind.), starting two-guard Gilbert Arenas (G, 6-3, 191, North Hollywood, Calif.), Robertas Javtokas it's pronounced YAHV-toe-kus (C, 6-10, 229, Siauliai, Lithuania) and walk-on Michael Schwertley (F, 6-5, 214, Phoenix, Ariz.).
Where Are You From?: California is the state that can claim the most members of this year's Wildcats, as four players are from "The Golden State " (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Lamont Frazier and Luke Walton)... There are three from Arizona (John Ash, Richard Jefferson & Michael Schwertley)... The rest of the roster contains seven players from different states and countries, as the case is with Robertas Javtokas, who is from Siauliai, Lithuania... His city is pronounced SHAW-lay.
The Golden Arches: This season's roster has four former McDonald's All-Americans Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson, Luke Recker and Loren Woods.
Then There Were Four: Just four players on this year's roster remain from Arizona's 1997 NCAA Championship team Eugene Edgerson, Justin Wessel, John Ash and Josh Pastner.
Who's Gone From 1998-99: Leading the losses from last season are 1998-99 seniors Jason Terry and A.J. Bramlett... Terry was named the National Player of the Year in three circles last year and was the Pac-10 Player of the Year after becoming the first player to lead the league in scoring (21.9 ppg), assists (5.5) and steals (2.8) in the same season since Gary Payton of Oregon State did it in 1989-90... He was No. 10 in the NBA Draft and went to the Atlanta Hawks... Bramlett was an All-Pac-10 selection last season after averaging 14.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg... He was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers... Both Terry and Bramlett were members of four Arizona teams that went 103-28 (55-4 at home), winning a national title (1997), a Pac-10 crown and they were 11-3 in the NCAA Tournament... Jason Stewart was the third senior last year, while freshman guard Traves Wilson transferred in the off-season, and so did Ruben Douglas, who made his decision Nov. 14.
Arizona's NCAA Tournament History: Last year marked the 18th time Arizona has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and it was the 15th invite under head coach Lute Olson... UA's current string of 15 consecutive appearances in the NCAAs is the second longest streak in NCAA history, trailing only North Carolina's 25 straight invites (UNC's is a current streak as well)... Last season was the 20th time in the last 21 years that Olson has taken a team to the NCAAs... He has directed Arizona to 15 tourneys and a 24-14 record -- and when he was the coach at Iowa, he coached five Hawkeye squads to the NCAAs... With 20 career appearances in the NCAA Tournament, he is tied for fourth on the NCAA's all-time tournament appearance list for head coaches with Adolph Rupp and John Thompson... Over the course of their last 20 NCAA games, the Wildcats own a record of 15-5... In the last five years, Arizona has played in 21 tournament games... Arizona's all-time record in the NCAA Tournament is now 26-17... The Wildcats have been to three Final Fours -- 1988, 1994 & 1997... Arizona has advanced to the Sweet 16 seven times in the last 12 years.
20-Win Campaigns: With its record of 22-7 last season, it marked the 12th consecutive season that Arizona won 20 or games... Further, it was the 14th time in Lute Olson's 16 years as UA head coach that the Cats have reached the 20-win plateau... It marked the 21st time in Olson's career that he has directed a team to 20 or more victories, making him just the eighth head coach in NCAA history to reach 20 wins in 21 or more seasons (Dean Smith-30; Jerry Tarkanian-26; Adolph Rupp-23; Bobby Knight-22; Denny Crum-21; Jim Boeheim-21; John Chaney-21).
Former Cats in the NBA: This season, there are 10 former Arizona players on NBA rosters... They are Mike Bibby (Vancouver), A.J. Bramlett (Cleveland), Jud Buechler (Detroit), Michael Dickerson (Vancouver), Sean Elliott (San Antonio/injured list), Steve Kerr (San Antonio), Chris Mills (Golden State), Sean Rooks (Dallas), Damon Stoudamire (Portland) and Jason Terry (Atlanta).
Shooting Sets the Tone: Since the 1996-97 season, Arizona is 66-4 in games when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent... The Wildcats are 6-0 this year, 19-1 last season, 23-2 the year before and 18-1 in 1996-97 campaign.
80s Preservation Society: In the past four years, the UA is 79-8 when it scores 80 or more points in a game... Further, since the 1992-93 season, Arizona is 141-15 when it scores 80 or more... The Cats are 4-0 this year, were 15-2 in 1998-99, 26-3 in 1997-98 and 19-2 in 1996-97.
The Century Club: The UA has not given up 100 points in regulation since Jan. 27, 1990, at Pittsburgh, a span of 309 games. UA lost that game 100-92.
Some Notes on Last Season: The Wildcats led the Pac-10 in rebounding (41.6 rpg), scoring (82.2 ppg), free throw shooting (.710) and rebounding margin (+8.1 rpg)... The Cats completed its home schedule with a 14-0 mark... It was the ninth time in history the UA has completed its home schedule undefeated... Last year was the first time since 1989-90 that Arizona didn't score 100 points or more in at least one game... Arizona started three freshmen in 22 of its 29 games and used 10 different starting lineups... Only three teams shot 50% or better against the Wildcats -- UCLA (50%), at Cal (51.6%) and at Stanford (54.0%)... Arizona suffered its worst shooting performance of the season against Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (19-of-57/33%)... One offshoot of the UA's rebounding dominance was the amount of times it went to the free throw line... The Wildcats attempted 252 more free throws than the opposition... The three-point field goal percentage of .350 was the lowest in team history... Arizona's 30 turnovers against Washington State on Jan. 7, were the most for the program since Dec. 4, 1982, when the Ben Lindsey-coached Cats had 36 at New Mexico... The University of Arizona retired Steve Kerr's jersey in a ceremony following the Washington game... He joined Sean Elliott as the only former Wildcats to have their jersey hung from the McKale Center rafters.
Arizona Basketball On TV This Year: Each of Arizona's 32 regular season games will be televised on either Fox Sports Net, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, CBS or KWBA. The Wildcats appear on Fox Sports Net 20 times, ESPN four times, ESPN2 four times, CBS once, ABC once and on Tucson's KWBA five times.
The Coach's Show: Once again this season, KNST radio will air the Lute Olson Coach's Show, hosted by Brian Jeffries... Due to Arizona travel conflicts during the non-conference season, the show will air just once prior to Pac-10 play... The next Lute Olson Show will be Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m. and the TV show will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10:30 p.m on UPN channel 18 in Tucson.
Prowlin' With the Wildcats: Here's the upcoming broadcast schedule for Fox Sports Net Arizona's bi-weekly magazine show about University of Arizona athletics -- "Prowlin' with the Wildcats"... Tues., Dec. 14, 7 p.m./Wed., Dec. 15, 5:30 p.m. (replay)/Sat., Dec. 18, 11 a.m. (replay); Fri., Jan. 14, 9 p.m./Sun., Jan. 16, 1 p.m. (replay); Thurs., Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m./Sat., Jan. 29, 3 p.m. (replay).