Game 28: No. 9 Arizona (20-7, 12-3) vs. Oregon (13-13, 4-12)
Date: Saturday, March 3, 2001 Time: 6 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKake Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 9 Arizona (20-7, 12-3 Pac-10) plays its final home game of the season tonight against Oregon (13-13, 4-12 Pac-10) ... Its Senior Night this evening as UA honors five players in their last appearance at McKale Center ... Arizona is 16-1 in home finales under Lute Olson with the only loss coming on March 11, 1995, in a 103-98 (2OT) loss to Arizona State ... The Wildcats have posted a better field goal percentage than its opponent in 13 of the last 16 games and is 17-1 this year when accomplishing the feat ... In its last four home games, UA has held each opponent to less than 63 points.
The Rankings: UA fell to No. 9 in the current Associated Press poll and rose to No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Arizona opened the year as the nations top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 107 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 234 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 18th season at Arizona and his 28th overall as a head coach with a career record of 631-224 (.738) and 439-132 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (247) in history, trailing UCLAs John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon States Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washingtons Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47)... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 18-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 16 years in a row, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 26)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... Olson 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 nations best winning percentage over the past 13 years... 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 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 22 overall in his career, making him one of only six head coaches in NCAA history to record 22 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 270-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 198 of its last 209 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 27-8 vs. Oregon.
Last Time Out: On the strength of .522 shooting and an 18-7 rebound advantage in the first half, Arizona jumped out to a 39-23 lead and coasted to the 65-54 win over Oregon State on Thursday. The Cats used an early 20-7 run to essentially put the game out of reach for good. Led by Luke Walton, who scored a game-high 16 points, the UA bench logged 76 minutes and totaled 31 points and 16 rebounds.
Scouting Oregon: The Ducks enter tonight with a 13-13 record, 4-12 Pac-10, having lost its last three games and seven of the last eight after Thursdays 86-74 loss at Arizona State. UO leads the league with 7.54 three-point field goals made this season and ranks fourth in scoring offense at 79.0 ppg. Individually, Bryan Bracey is the Pac-10's second-ranked scorer at 19.1 points per game and ranks fifth in the league with a 7.2 rebounds per game average. The Ducks also have one of the conference's top freshmen in Luke Ridnour, who is averaging 7.7 points and 4.0 assists per game.
The Series: Tonights game is the 47th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 30-16 series advantage. Arizona has won 17 of the last 21 meetings but has dropped the last two, including a 79-67 loss in Eugene on Feb. 1. Arizona is 20-3 in series games played in Tucson, 10-12 in Eugene and 0-1 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Arizona played its worst game of the year, losing 79-67 to Oregon and snapping its six-game win streak on Feb. 1 in Eugene. The Wildcats posted its worst shooting percentage of the season (.352), its lowest point total (67) and suffered its largest margin of defeat (12) to date. The Oregon completely frustrated Arizona, forcing 18 turnovers and limiting UA to just 2-of-12 three-point shooting. Michael Wright was the lone bright spot for Arizona, posting his fifth double-double (18 pts./14 reb.) of the year.
Senior Salute: The University of Arizona seven seniors who are tonight making their final appearance in McKale Center. Including senior video coordinator Tim House and manager William French, John Ash, Eugene Edgerson, Lamont Frazier, Justin Wessel and Loren Woods have become a highly-successful group. From the time the Class of 2001 came together five years ago, this group has won a national championship, two Pac-10 titles and won more than 120 games, including a 70-4 record here in McKale.
Postseason honors: The college basketball postseason honors are beginning to roll in and several UA team members have garnered such kudos. Sophomore Gilbert Arenas was named third team All-America by ESPN.com, first team all-Pac-10 by The Sporting News and District 15 first team by the NABC. Teammate Michael Wright was also a third team All-America pick by ESPN.com, a second team all-conference pick by TSN and a District 15 second team selection by the NABC. Lute Olson was named College Hoops Insider Pac-10 Coach of the Year and the CHI Best Dressed coach in the Pac-10.
Nearing a Double-Double: Junior Richard Jefferson came within a point of notching his third career double-double when he scored nine points and added a season-high 10 rebounds. Jeffersons last double-double came in a 15-point, 10-rebound performance against Kansas State in last years season opener on Nov. 11, 1999.
Off the Bench: It was the Wildcat bench that starred in Thursdays win. The UA reserves tallied 31 points, grabbed 16 boards and handed out seven assists in 76 minutes. Combined, the bench hit 11 of Arizonas 20 field goals and shot .550 from the floor.
Leading the Way: Luke Walton put forth another solid effort in leading the Cats to victory on Thursday. The San Diego native equaled a season high with 16 points and added five rebounds and four assists. In his last three games, Walton has scored 24 points and added 15 assists.
Cleaning the Glass: In recording a 39-21 rebound advantage on Thursday, Richard Jefferson led the team with 10. It was Arizonas 13th double-figure rebounding game of the season (Michael Wright leads with 8). It was also the teams seventh game this season with a rebound margin of +15 or better.
On the Blocks: The forward-center combination of Michael Wright and Loren Woods combined to record four of the teams five steals on Thursday. The two steals registered by both Wright and Woods equaled individual season highs this year.
Assist:Turnover Ratios: Jason Gardner and Luke Walton rank third and fourth respectively in the Pac-10 in assist:turnover ratio. Gardner has a 2.34 assist:turnover ratio, while Walton has a 2.09 ratio. Incidentally, Walton is the only player ranked in the top 10 who is not one of his teams regular starters.
Making Each Pass Count: Even though Arizona tallied a season-low 20 field goals, the team was very efficient and finding the open man. The Wildcats posted 18 assists on 20 field goals, a 90 percent conversion rate. That figure is the best of the season, topping an .857 conversion rate on Feb. 8 vs. Washington when the Cats collected 30 assists on 35 field goals.
Holding them Down: The UA defense has held six of its last seven opponents to less than 63 points. In that seven game span, Arizona opponents are averaging 58.0 points and shooting just .362 (146-of-403). Only three opponents in the last 15 games have managed to shoot better than 44 percent against the Wildcats. To further the points, Arizona ranks ninth nationally in field goal percentage defense at .378.
Controlling the Boards: Arizona limited Oregon State to just five offensive rebounds, a figure that equaled an opponent low this season. In fact, OSUs 21 rebounds were the fourth-fewest rebounds by an opponent in 2000-01.
Eliminating the Negatives: It may not have been the prettiest of victories, but maybe it was good that Arizona was able to post several season lows and still come out on top. The Wildcats set team lows in each of the following categories in Thursdays win: points scored (65); points scored, second half (26); field goals, game (20); field goal percentage, second half (.320).
Diamond Anniversary: When Michael Wright tallied 13 points in Thursdays win it marked his 24th double-figure scoring game of the year and the 75th of his career. Incidentally, Arizona players have scored in double figures 101 times this season.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 13-0 when scoring 80 points and 7-7 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 41-3 (.932) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in nine of its last 14 games and is averaging 81.1 points over that span.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 15th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,371 points. Just ahead of Wright in 14th place is Joe Nehls (1976-80) with 1,409 points.
UA-Stanford Game on FSN: Fox Sports Net announced earlier this week that next Thursdays (March 8) game at Stanford has been confirmed as the Pac-10s wild card telecast. The will be shown live and is scheduled for an 8:30 MST tip-off.
Olson Honors: UA head coach Lute Olson will be given the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching award. The award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999, and recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Woodens high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. Olson will be honored at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Awards program.
Farewell, Bobbi: A special memorial fund has been established in Bobbi Olson's name at the Arizona Cancer Center, where she had undergone treatment since her illness was diagnosed in June 1998. Contributions can be made payable to the Arizona Cancer Center/UAF and mailed to Arizona Cancer Center Development, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724-5013.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five players to National Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period: Wil Bynum (5-10, 170, G, Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech Prep), Channing Frye (6-10, 230, C, Phoenix, Ariz./St. Marys H.S.), Isaiah Fox (6-9, 255, C, Santa Monica, Calif./Crossroads H.S.), Dennis Latimore (6-8, 230, F, Halsted, Kan./Halsted H.S.) and Salim Stoudamire (6-2, 175, G, Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego H.S.). It was ranked as the ninth-best recruiting class in the nation by Clark Francis Hoop Scoop magazine.
TV/Radio Information: The Lute Olson television show airs every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on KTTU-TV, channel 18. Additionally, the Lute Olson radio show is broadcast live every Tuesday on Newsradio 790 KNST at 6 p.m. All Arizona basketball games are broadcast live on the Wildcat Radio Network, which consists of 13 affiliates in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. KNST Newsradio 790 in Tucson serves as the flagship, while network participants include: KOY (Phoenix), KTAN (Sierra Vista), KVNA (Flagstaff), KDAP (Douglas), KWRQ (Safford), KZUA (Holbrook/Show Low), KJAA (Globe), KNOT (Prescott), KBLU (Yuma), KINO (Winslow), KRLV (Las Vegas, Nev.) and XENY (Nogales, Sonora). All UA games are live on the internet at broadcast.com.
Up Next: The Wildcats close the regular season with a trip to the Bay area, as the squad takes on Stanford (Thursday, March 8/8:30 p.m. MST) and California (Saturday, March 10/6 p.m. MST).