Home Again: Tied atop the Pac-10 standings with Stanford, the Arizona Wildcats (21-4, 10-1 Pac-10; No. 4 AP/No. 4 USA Today/ESPN) will return home this week and welcome USC (13-9; 6-4 Pac-10) and UCLA (13-9; 4-6 Pac-10) to McKale Center. These games begin a stretch that sees Arizona play five of its final seven games at home and it will all get underway Thursday, Feb. 17, when UA faces the USC Trojans at 8:37 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, with Steve Physioc doing the play-by-play and Marques Johnson handling the color commentary. The Wildcats will look to avenge their only conference loss of the season, as USC beat the UA, 80-72, in Los Angeles on Jan. 22. After that match-up, the Cats entertain UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 1:30 p.m. It will be televised on ABC-TV (KGUN channel 9 in Tucson) with Dave Strader on the play-by-play and Jay Bilas doing the color. It will also be broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One Radio (Joel Myers/Bill Frieder). Arizona beat UCLA in the first match-up of the season between these schools, 76-61. The Wildcats will take a streak of 25 consecutive home conference game wins into this week's action, not losing to a Pac-10 foe in McKale Center since falling to UCLA back on Feb. 13, 1997.
Series History: In the USC series, Arizona owns a 41-31 advantage and has won 26 of the past 33 games, dating back to 1984... Under Lute Olson, the UA is 27-9 against USC... Arizona is 15-1 against the Trojans in McKale Center under Olson and all-time in Tucson, the Cats own a 25-6 advantage... The Wildcats have beaten USC in McKale Center 14 times in a row... The Trojans have not won in Tucson since Jan. 17, 1985 (64-63)... In the 14-game home winning streak against USC, Arizona has won by an average score of 90-63... Arizona is 22-35 all-time against UCLA and have won the past three in a row... The Bruins are the only Pac-10 school to own a winning record against Arizona and are helped in part by winning 22 of the first 25 meetings... Since then, however, Arizona has gone 19-13 versus UCLA... In the last nine meetings, Arizona has won five times... During the Lute Olson era, Arizona has won 19 of the 34 games in the series... The Wildcats have an all-time mark of 9-25 at UCLA, but are 13-10 against the Bruins in Tucson... With Stanford winning the league last season, this is the first year since 1990-91 that neither Arizona nor UCLA can claim that it is the defending Pac-10 champion... Since 1985-86, either the Wildcats or the Bruins have won the Pac-10 title outright every year except for 1989-90 (Oregon State tied with Arizona) and 1998-99 (Stanford)... The Wildcats have won eight league titles, while the Bruins have claimed five Pac-10 crowns.
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 14.6 8.2 0.6 apg & spg F 4 Luke Walton 6-8 228 Fr.-RS 4.4 3.7 3.2 apg C 3 Loren Woods 7-1 230 Jr.-TR 15.5 7.4 4.1 bpg G 0 Gilbert Arenas 6-3 191 Fr.-HS 13.8 4.3 2.1 spg G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 178 Fr.-HS 12.0 3.4 4.8 apgArizona's Last Action: Arizona shot a season-best 60.8% from the floor and beat Washington State, 73-50, in Pullman last Saturday night. Gilbert Arenas had an excellent performance, as he tied a career-high with 24 points and was 11-of-14 from the floor to help pace the Cats in their 30th consecutive victory over the Cougars. Michael Wright was solid as well, scoring 19 points (8-12 FGA) to go with eight rebounds, while Loren Woods had 10 points, five blocks and four rebounds before getting the chance to rest a sore back with around 10 minutes left in the game. Arizona established the tone from the outset and established a 39-19 lead at halftime and eventually built 30-point lead in the second half. The Wildcats committed only six fouls, tying the school record for fewest fouls in a game that had been in existence since 1964.
USC Notes: The Trojans come to Tucson with a 13-9 record and are 6-4 in the Pac-10... After beating Arizona on Jan. 22, and moving into first place in the league standings, they have dropped four of their last five games... They have lost three games in a row heading into Thursday's game... USC's last action was last Wednesday when it lost at UCLA, 83-78... Brian Scalabrine is the team's top scorer and is No. 2 in the Pac-10 with a 17.6 ppg average... Scalabrine trails only the UA's Michael Wright in the Pac-10 FG% race (.538 - Wright is at .570)... Sam Clancy's ppg average (17.2) is No. 2 on the squad and No. 3 in the league, but he is out with an injury... Jeff Trepagnier is the Pac-10's No. 1 steal leader with a 3.48 spg mark (73 steals) and backcourt mate Brandon Granville is the league's No. 1 assist man at 8.14 apg... Granville is No. 2 in the league for steals (2.36)... David Bluthenthal, he of the 28 rebounds against Arizona State earlier this season, is tied for third in the conference for rebounding with a mark of 8.0 rpg... USC's head coach is Henry Bibby, who is in his fourth year at the helm... He has a record of 54-52 and is 3-4 against Arizona.
The Last Arizona/USC Game: The Wildcats had their seven-game winning streak come to an end when USC handed the UA a 80-72 loss at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Jan. 22. In what was a meeting of the final two teams with unbeaten Pac-10 Conference records, the Trojans moved atop the league standings by themselves after the win. The Wildcats were done in by USC's hot shooting from both the floor and the free throw line USC hit on 27-of-54 field goal attempts (50%) and also made 18-of-24 from the free throw line, all of which came in the second half. Arizona only managed to shoot 41.3% from the floor and was just 5-of-22 from the three-point line. USC's Brian Scalabrine and David Bluthenthal were the individual story, as they scored 27 and 26 points respectively, combining to make 19-of-28 field goal attempts, 5-of-8 three point attempts and 10-of-15 free throw attempts. As for Arizona, Jason Gardner scored a career-high 25 points and Loren Woods had his fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Gilbert Arenas chipped in with 16, but the remaining four players who saw time combined for only 10 points, including Michael Wright who, as a result of being double and triple teamed in the post, had three points (0-of-3 FGA).
The Last Arizona/USC Game in Tucson: Arizona won its 31st straight game in McKale Center as it got the best combined game from its three freshmen starters of the 1998-99, propelling the Wildcats to a 88-73 win over USC on March 4, 1999. Michael Wright led all players with 22 points and 13 rebounds, for his 11th double-double of the season. After missing his first two free throws early in the game, Wright made 14 of his next 16 to tie a school record with 18 fee throws attempts in a Pac-10 game. Ruben Douglas hit 3-of-5 three-pointers and was 7-of-9 from the field for a career high 19 points. Richard Jefferson added 14 points and was second on the team with six boards. The Wildcats held USC's Brian Scalabrine, who earlier in the day was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, scoreless (0-1 FGA). Jason Terry added 18 points and was 10-of-11 from the free throw line, while dishing out eight assists and grabbing three steals. Arizona held USC to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half to take a 42-26 halftime lead. The Wildcats extended its lead just before the half ended when Trojan coach Henry Bibby was called for a technical foul after USC forward Shannon Swillis fouled Terry on a fast break. Terry hit all four foul shots, and Justin Wessel hit a lay-up the ensuing possession to make it a six-point swing.
Coach Olson: Lute Olson (Augsburg '56) is his 17th season as the head coach at Arizona and his 27th overall as a head coach... This season has already seen him reach two major milestones in what has become a Hall of Fame type coaching career -- he has recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona... With his win at Stanford on Jan. 8, he became the 33rd coach in NCAA history to win 600 or more games... He now has a career record of 608-216 (.738), while his mark at the at the University of Arizona stands at 416-124 (.770)... His Pac-10 record is 233-66 (.779) 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)... With the win over BYU this season, 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)... He is 27-9 all-time against USC and is 19-16 versus UCLA... 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 (157-86 from 1956-69) and three in the junior college ranks (Long Beach City College, 104-20), he has coached in 1,191 games... 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... Prior to coming to the UA, he was at Iowa for nine years and went 168-90... Before that, he was at Long Beach State for one season (1973-74), where he was 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 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 254-26 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 182 of their last 193 home games.
Lute Olson has reached a pair of coaching milestones this season... He recorded career win No. 600 with the victory at top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 8, and has also 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 79-76 600 1-8-00 Arizona Stanford 68-65UCLA Notes: Just like crosstown rival USC, the Bruins also have a mark of 13-9 on the season... They are 4-6 in the Pac-10, however, and have dropped four of their past five outings... Their last game was a 71-67 loss at Syracuse on Sunday and they will play at Arizona State, whom they have beaten 22 straight times, on Thursday before coming to Tucson for Saturday's game... Freshman Jason Kapono is the team's leading scorer, averaging 16.0 ppg... That is the No. 4 mark in the latest Pac-10 standings... He is shooting 43.7% from the 3PT line, which is also No. 4 in the league -- and is shooting 52.0% from the floor overall... In the loss to Syracuse, Dan Gadzuric had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds... As a team, the Bruins shot 51.8% from the floor (28-54)... Jerome Moiso is the team's leading rebounder at 8.0 rpg... That is tied for third in the Pac-10 stats... Head coach Steve Lavin is in his fourth year and owns a mark of 83-35 in Westwood... He is 2-5 versus Arizona.
The Last Arizona/UCLA Game: The Wildcats recorded their largest margin of victory ever at Pauley Pavilion by downing the UCLA Bruins, 76-61, on Jan. 20. Arizona had four players score in double figures -- and it was a group that accounted for all but two of the team's 76 points. Leading the way was Michael Wright, who had 22 points to go with eight rebounds. Arizona's freshman backcourt of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas was huge, as the two combined for 38 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Gardner had 20 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Arenas netted 18 and was 7-of-11 from the floor. Loren Woods was the other double-digit scorer, recording 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds. After leading just 30-28 at halftime, Arizona built a 60-45 lead with 5:41 left in the game, but UCLA would reduce the lead to 63-57. The Wildcats responded from there, outscoring the Bruins 13-4 in the final 3:30 to coast to the win. The UA's defense was a big reason for the victory, as it limited the Bruins to just 3-of-21 shooting from the three-point line and forced 26 UCLA turnovers. The hard defense was smart defense... Arizona committed just 11 fouls and the Bruins shot just four free throws -- all of which came from one player, Billy Knight. The win was the second in three years at Pauley Pavilion.
The Last Arizona/UCLA Game in Tucson: In Arizona's final outing of the 1998-99 regular season, it closed with an 87-70 win at home against 11th ranked UCLA on March 6, 1999. Jason Terry and A.J. Bramlett finished their careers at McKale Center in style, as Terry led all scorers with 26 points (he had 19 in the first half) and added four steals, while Bramlett contributed his 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Terry scored nine of Arizona's last 10 points of the first half as the Wildcats ran out to a 52-36 halftime lead. UA outscored the Bruins 20-5 in the last 5:24 of the first half to help claim that advantage. UCLA sliced the lead to 10 with 12:42 left in the second half, but was never able to cut the Arizona lead to under 10 after that. With the win, Arizona ran its home win streak to 32 games in a row, completed its home season undefeated for the ninth time in history and finished the regular season with a 22-6 mark, including 13-5 in the Pac-10 Conference to finish in second place.
COACHES WITH THE MOST 20-WIN SEASONS IN NCAA HISTORY 30 Dean Smith, North Carolina, 1962-97 27 Jerry Tarkanian, LBSU, UNLV, Fresno St., 1969-00 23 Adolph Rupp, Kentucky, 1931-72 22 Lute Olson, LBSU, Iowa, Arizona, 1974-00 22 Bob Knight, Army, Indiana, 1966-00 22 Jim Boeheim, Syracuse, 1977-0020-Win Campaigns: With its record of 21-4 this season, it marks the 13th consecutive season that Arizona has won 20 or games... Further, it is the 15th time in Lute Olson's 17 years as UA head coach that the Cats have reached the 20-win plateau... It also marks the 22nd time in Olson's career that he has directed a team to 20 or more victories, making him just the sixth head coach in NCAA history to reach 20 wins in 22 or more seasons (Dean Smith-30; Jerry Tarkanian-26; Adolph Rupp-23; Bobby Knight-22 & Jim Boeheim-22). This list will grow later this season -- Temple's John Chaney has 21 career 20+ win seasons, and the Owls owned a record of 18-6 at the start of this week... Louisville's Denny Crum also had 21 career 20-win seasons heading into this year.
Pac-10 Stats: Michael Wright leads the Pac-10 conference in two statistical categories rebounding (8.3 rpg) and field goal percentage (.570/131-230)... Loren Woods is the league's top shot blocker (4.08 bpg) and his 102 blocks are only 12 fewer than the combined totals of the league's second, third and fourth leading shot blockers... He is also No. 3 in field goal percentage (.535) and No. 7 in rebounding (7.4 rpg)... Woods is No. 10 in the scoring race (15.5 ppg) and Wright is No. 13 (14.6 ppg)... Gilbert Arenas is No. 4 in steals (2.16 spg) and Jason Gardner is No. 6 in assists (4.76 apg)... As a team, Arizona leads the league in blocked shots (6.32 bpg)... The Cats are second in scoring margin (+10.4 ppg), rebounding (39.4 rpg), scoring defense (64.9 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.390) and defensive rebounding (27.04).
Pac-10 Conference Standings Pac-10 Overall 1. Stanford 10-1 21-1 Arizona 10-1 20-4 3. Oregon 8-3 17-5 4. USC 6-4 13-9 5. Arizona State 6-5 14-9 6. California 5-6 14-9 UCLA 4-6 13-9 8. Washington 3-8 8-15 9. Oregon State 2-9 10-12 10. Washington St. 0-11 5-15 Thursday's Games (Times are MST) USC at Arizona/8:37 pm. (Fox Sports Net) UCLA at Arizona State/6:30 p.m. Washington State at Oregon/8 p.m. Washington at Oregon State/8 p.m.
Saturday's Games (Times are MST) UCLA at Arizona/1:30 p.m. (ABC) USC at Arizona State/6 p.m. California at Stanford/4 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) Washington at Oregon/8 p.m. Washington State at Oregon State/8 p.m.
Fine at the Line in Crunch Time: One of the Pac-10's top free throw shooting teams, Arizona has shown a tendency to come up big from the charity stripe when it matters most... In the Wildcats' eleven Pac-10 games so far, they are shooting 79.7% from the line in the final five minutes of the game (63-of-79) ... Even better is freshman Jason Gardner, who, also in the final five minutes of the game, has made 30-of-36 free throw attempts (83.3%)... A game-by-game breakdown shows the following free throw marks during the final five minutes of each game: at California (3-4), at Stanford (8-12), Washington State (12-12), Washington (7-9), at UCLA (8-10), at USC (6-8), at Arizona State (2-2), Oregon (6-8), Oregon State (4-5), Washington (5-7) and Washington State (2-2)... Michael Wright is 11-of-15 from the stripe (73.3%) in the final five minutes.
Cat Scratches: After being on the road for six of its past eight games, Arizona will be at home for five of its final seven... Games at Oregon and Oregon State is the only trip left for the Cats this season... The USC game will be Lute Olson's 300th Pac-10 Conference game... With its No. 4 ranking this week, Arizona has been in the AP top-five for 10 weeks this season... Arizona tied a school record that had been around since the 1963-64 season last Saturday when they were whistled for just six fouls at Washington State (the other game was at Bradley on Dec. 30, 1963)... On the season, the Cats are averaging just 14 fouls per contest and have scored 227 more points than the opposition from foul line... Washington and Washington State combined to shoot nine free throws last weekend... On the year, eight teams have shot fewer than 10 free throws in a game... The Cats have been to the free throw line 296 more times than the opposition and have scored 227 more points from the FT line... Arizona sends the opponents to the free throw line an average of 12.9 times a game (the UA averages 24.8 free throws attempts per game)... Washington State was 2-3 from the line, Washington was 5-6, Oregon was 2-of-3 and UCLA was 2-of-4... Loren Woods had his eighth double-double of the season last Thursday at Washington (29 pts/12 rbd)... It was his fourth in six games and his seventh in 12... Included in that mix was a triple-double he had against Oregon (16 pts/10 rbs/14 blks)... In the past four games, Woods is averaging 17.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 6.5 bpg... Arizona is 6-1 on the road in league play this season -- last year after the first seven games, it was 4-3... Arizona is 6-1 versus ranked opponents this season, beating No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 9 Texas, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 23 Oregon, No. 25 UCLA and losing to No. 6 Connecticut... Arizona had held 16 of its 25 opponents to a shooting percentage of less than 40% from the field this season... In three of the Wildcats' four losses this season, they have scored less than 70 points -- and they are 15-1 when they score 70 or more points in a game... In the past six games, Luke Walton is averaging 9.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 6.0 apg... He has been the team's leading assist man in each of the past four games... Six of Arizona's seven regulars are shooting 70% or better from the free throw line the lone exception is Michael Wright, who is at 69.7%. (101-145)... Overall, the team is shooting 72.4% from the line... The Cats are 19-0 this year when they have a better shooting % than the opponent... There are just 3.5 points separating the UA's No. 1 scorer (Loren Woods/15.5 ppg) from the No. 4 (Jason Gardner/12.0 ppg)... In between you have Michael Wright at 14.6 ppg and Gilbert Arenas at 13.8 ppg)... Arizona started the season ranked ninth in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls... Jason Gardner has just three turnovers in the past four games, while playing in 144 of a possible 160 minutes... When junior John Ash started at point guard in the Washington game on Jan. 15, he became the first walk-on to start for the Wildcats since Jan. 30, 1982 and the first-ever in the Lute Olson era... John Vlahogeorge was the last to do it, doing so against California... After winning the Preseason NIT earlier this season, Arizona joins Kansas as the only three-time winners of the event, winning it in 1999, 1995 and 1990... Since the start of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats have a compiled a record of 79-16 (.832 winning%)... Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona has been ranked in the top-10 in 45 of the last 52 AP polling periods... Arizona is 39-0 when senior Josh Pastner plays, hence the term "A Pastner Game" applies whenever the Wildcats win big -- on his heels, however, is walk-on John Ash... Pastner and Woods were selected captains for this year's team in voting that was done by teammates... The UA has not given up 100 points in regulation since Jan. 27, 1990, at Pittsburgh, a span of 326 games... UA lost that game 100-92.
Out to the Woods' Shed: Many, many, highlights and notes came out of Loren Woods' swat-fest against Oregon on Feb. 3, in Tucson... Most notably was the NCAA record tying 14 blocked shots... It was the most blocks in an NCAA game since 1996... He is now tied in the NCAA record books with David Robinson of Navy (vs. UNC Wilmington, 1-4-86), Shawn Bradley of BYU (vs. Eastern Kentucky, 12-7-90) and Roy Rogers of Alabama (vs. Georgia, 2-10-96)... It also broke the Pac-10 record of 11 blocks in a game, which was set by UCLA's Jelani McCoy (vs. Maryland, 12-9-95)... Woods also had a triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds, 14 blocks) and it was the first for Arizona since Damon Stoudamire did it on Feb. 25, 1995 also against Oregon in Tucson (32 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists)... Since the Pac-10 Conference began charting triple-doubles in 1985, it is the 12th triple-double in league history and just the second that involves blocked shots, as opposed to assists... McCoy's game against Maryland was the other (15-10-11 blocks)... This triple-double was the first in the Pac-10 since UCLA's Toby Bailey had one against Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 18, 1995... Obviously, the 14 blocks is an Arizona record, breaking the old mark of 10, which Woods set earlier this season against Washington State and it is also a McKale Center record, eclipsing the 11 blocks that Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll had in an NCAA Tournament game in 1977.
Pac-10 Players of the Week: Two Arizona players have named the Pac-10 Player of the Week this season -- Loren Woods, who has done it twice, and Michael Wright... For his performances against Oregon and Oregon State, Woods was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 7, for the second time this season... In Arizona's two wins, he averaged 15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 blocks and 2.5 assists per game... He was 10-of-18 from the floor (.555) and 11-of-14 from the free throw line (.785) and with his 14 blocks against Oregon, tied the NCAA record for blocks in a game... In the addition to above mentioned heroics against Oregon, he scored 15 points to go with nine rebounds, one block and three assists against Oregon State... He got a chance to rest due to the big win and played only 27 minutes... He was 5-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line... His first Pac-10 POW honor this season was on Jan. 17 -- after the Washington State and Washington outings, when he averaged 23.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.5 blocks per game... He was 16-of-36 from the floor and 15-of-19 from the free throw line, while averaging 38.5 minutes per game... In the win over WSU, he scored a then-career-high 25 points to go with a then-school record 10 blocks... He had six rebounds, one steal and was 9-of-9 from the free throw line... He was 8-19 from the floor... In the win over UW, he scored a game-high 22 points to go with 11 rebounds and five blocked shots... He played 39 minutes... He was 8-19 from the floor and 6-10 from the FT line... As for Wright, he received the award on Dec. 6 for his performances against Brigham Young and Texas after averaging 17.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg in the two wins... He was 13-of-19 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the FT line.
Arizona Single Season Block Chart 1. Loren Woods, 102 1999-00 2. Anthony Cook, 84 1988-89 3. Anthony Cook, 75 1987-88 4. Anthony Cook, 69 1986-87 5. Anthony Cook, 50 1985-86Block Party: Junior center Loren Woods is providing the UA basketball program with a luxury it has been without for a while a legitimate shot blocker... With 102 blocks already this season (4.1 bpg), he has already set the Arizona record for blocks in a season... Anthony Cook had the school record of 84 blocks, set in 1988-89... Woods is now on track to record 131 swats, which would break the Pac-10 single season record of 115 blocks, set by ASU's Mario Bennett in 1994-95 (for those of you who are wondering, the NCAA record for blocks in a season is 207, set by Navy's David Robinson in 1986)... In addition to his NCAA record tying 14 blocks against Oregon, Woods also has 10 blocks in a game once this season (Washington State) and seven blocks in a game three times (Notre Dame, Nebraska and New Mexico)... Last year, the Cats accounted for 93 blocks on the season and this year -- Woods alone had just nine more than that total... This season, the team has 158 blocks... Woods ended a three-week run by Arizona State's Eddie House when he was named the Pac-10 Conference's Player of the Week for the first time this season on Jan. 17...
Michael Wright's Career Double-Doubles (21 in 53 career games) Arizona's record in these games is 15-6 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 10 12/30/99 Delaware 19 14 1/15/00 Washington 16 12 2/3/00 Oregon 20 10
And Make It A Double: All-America and John Wooden Award candidate Michael Wright has nine double-doubles in the Wildcats' 25 games this season, bringing his career double-double total to 21... The sophomore power forward has 21 double-doubles in 54 career games... On the season, he is averaging 14.6 ppg and a team-high 8.2 rpg, while shooting a Pac-10 best 57.0% from the floor... He is the only UA player to start in all 25 games this season has started 48 consecutive games for the Cats dating back to last year... He has a career rebounding average of 8.5 rpg (459 boards in 54 games)... Wright was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week back on Dec. 6 after averaging 17.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg in wins over Brigham Young and Texas... 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 rpg last season was the best ever for a freshman in the Pac-10 Conference.
Deepless in Seattle: Last week's game at Washington made a bit of history in some sense, as Arizona did not make a three-point shot for the first time since Dec. 5, 1990 (the Cats were 0-7 from the arc)... Up until that game, the Cats had made a three-pointer in 307 consecutive games... The last time it happened was at Northern Arizona (0-9), but the Cats still managed to edge out a 100-64 victory with an inside dominated game consisting of Sean Rooks, Chris Mills and Brian Williams.
A New UA Streak to Chart: With North Carolina dropping out of the Associated Press top-25 poll in late-January, Arizona now has the nation's longest active streak of consecutive weeks ranked in the AP top-25... The Wildcats streak stands at 86 weeks in row, dating back to the first regular season poll of the 1995-96 season... Arizona was not ranked in that year's preseason poll, but after winning its first two games of the preseason NIT, the Cats moved up to No.19, and would then rise to No. 4 on Nov. 27 after winning the tournament... That preseason poll was the only time since the 1987-88 preseason poll that Arizona was not ranked in the AP poll... Stanford and Duke are second with 69 straight weeks in the AP top-25... North Carolina had been ranked in the AP poll for 172 consecutive weeks before falling out a month ago... That was the second-longest streak in history, trailing only UCLA's 221 weeks from 1966-80... Earlier this season, Kentucky saw its run of 164 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP top-25 come to an end as well... Overall, Arizona has been ranked in the regular season Top-25 rankings for 213 straight weeks.
Pac-10 Team of the Decade???: Arizona had the most wins of any Pac-10 team in the 1990s (266), won five Pac-10 Conference crowns and tied for one other... UCLA was second with four Pac-10 conference titles that decade... For conference games only, Arizona's record of 140-40 was the best in the league, with UCLA at No. 2 with a 134-46 mark... The Cats went to the NCAA Tournament each year in the 1990s and won it all in 1997... There were 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 trailed only Duke's 10... UA and North Carolina were tied for second-most All-Americans in the 1990s.
Injury News: Junior point guard John Ash suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Oregon State, and as a result, did not make the trip to Washington and Washington State last week... His status for this week's games will be known later in the week... Loren Woods is fighting through some back spasms, but it has not affected his performances or availability... Richard Jefferson underwent surgery on his right foot on Jan. 11 to the fractured fifth metatarsal he sustained during the win at Stanford on Jan. 8... Jefferson will be out of action for eight weeks with his anticipated return is now set of the first of March, which coincides with the team's trip to Oregon State and Oregon... He could see time in those games, and should be ready to all-out in the regular season finales -- home games against Stanford (March 9) and California (March 11)... His foot is in a boot and he will undergo non-weight bearing rehabilitation for the first four weeks, which began last week.
Roster Additions: A member of Arizona's football team, Peter Hansen, was added to the Arizona basketball roster to help the team out because of the roster depletions... His first day or practice was Jan. 12, and at 6-foot-8, 235 pounds, he is able to give the team an extra big body to go against in practice... He has played in two games so far (at ASU, at WSU)... The football team's designated "extra point and field goal blocker", he is a walk-on to the football team who started his career as a quarterback... He went to Palo Alto HS in Palo Alto, Calif... A two-year letterman for the hoops team there... In his two-year career for the Arizona football team, he has blocked three field goals and two PAT's... Last football season, he blocked field goal attempts against Oregon State and UCLA, and knocked down a point after attempt against Washington...In 1998, he blocked an extra point against Washington, and later altered a field goal attempt by the Husky kicker later in the game...Blocked a Nebraska field goal attempt in the first quarter of the 1998 Holiday Bowl... One other addition is walk-on Russell Harris, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound freshman guard from Mundelein, Ill (Mundelein High School)... His only action of the season was at Washington State when he played two minutes.
Roster Moves: After Richard Jefferson's injury, there are now only seven scholarship players available for action (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Gardner, Luke Walton, Justin Wessel, Loren Woods and Michael Wright)... There are three non-scholarship/walk-on players (John Ash, Josh Pastner and Mike Schwertley)... Two additional scholarship players, Eugene Edgerson and Lamont Frazier, are sitting out this season... Edgerson is out with a redshirt season so he can work on the student-teaching portion of his education degree... Frazier has missed the past six games to take care of academic responsibilities and a medical condition -- and as a result of all the missed time, the UA coaching staff will look to redshirt him this season... The deletions from the original roster include freshman center Robertas Javtokas, who decided to return his native Lithuania and play professionally... Junior transfer Luke Recker transferred to Iowa he had come to the UA from Indiana prior to this season, but returned to the Midwest to be closer to his family and girlfriend (Kelly Craig), 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"... The third was sophomore guard Ruben Douglas, who was granted his request for a release from his scholarship on Nov. 14... He has transferred to New Mexico.
Michael Wright John R. Wooden Award & All-America Candidate Arizona sophomore forward Michael Wright was named as one of 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top college basketball player. He is one of two players from the Pacific-10 Conference to be selected, joining Stanford's Mark Madsen. On the season, Wright is averaging 14.6 ppg, and a Pac-10 high 8.2 rpg, while shooting a Pac-10 best 56.6% from the floor. He has nine double-doubles, bringing his career total to 21 in 53 career games. "...Wright played a phenomenal game and won the battle inside. He's a warrior." Stanford's Mark Madsen
" Wright dominated and played like an experienced veteran player." -- UCLA head coach Steve Lavin
McKale Magic: When New Mexico beat Arizona on Dec. 21, in McKale Center, it snapped what was the nation's fourth-longest active home winning streak... The Wildcats had won 37 consecutive home games... And up until then, only four players on this year's team had ever experienced a loss in McKale Center (Justin Wessel, Josh Pastner, John Ash & Eugene Edgerson -- those four were on teams that were 47-1 at home -- they are now 53-2 at home)... Prior to the New Mexico game, the last loss for the UA in McKale Center was a 66-64 defeat to UCLA on Feb. 13, 1997... Arizona has won 54 of its last 56 home games and is 183-11 in McKale Center since the 1987-88 season... During that time, the Cats have lost three non-conference games (New Mexico - Dec. 21, 1999; Syracuse - Dec. 23, 1995; Arkansas - Dec. 6, 1992)... The New Mexico loss also snapped a 23 game home winning streak against consecutive non-conference opponents... Last year was the ninth season in history that Arizona went undefeated at home... Arizona owns an all-time record of 346-65 (.842) in McKale Center... This is the 12th season UA 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.
Looking Ahead: Following this week's games against USC and UCLA, Arizona will not play until Saturday, Feb. 26, when it hosts Arizona State... Game time is set for 2:07 p.m. and it will be televised by Fox Sports Net Arizona. Road Warriors: Counting last week's trip to Washington and Washington State, Arizona has played in 10 different locales and four separate time zones while logging 16,457 travel miles this season... Further, the team has been through 14 different airports and on 31 different plane flights.
The UA's record of 341-78 over the course of the past 12+ years (since 1987-88) gives it the nation's best winning percentage during that span (.814).
The Kids are Alright: The starting freshman guard tandem of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas have been big parts of the UA's 21-4 start... They are combining for 25.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 7.3 apg and 3.6 spg... They are No. 1 & 2 in steals on the team... Gardner, who was the top vote getter with 51% of the votes on ESPN.com's Jan. 27 question "who is the Pac-10's top freshman?", leads the team in minutes and assists, averaging 36.0 mpg and 4.8 apg (he has played all 40 minutes six times this season)... At Arizona State, he played well beyond his years, scoring 16 points to go with seven assists, four rebounds and four steals, while playing a part in the defensive effort on ASU's Eddie House... As for Arenas, he is coming off a tremendous game, tying a career-high with 24 points at Washington State... He was 11-of-14 from the floor and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals... Prior to that, he had the best game of his young career at Arizona State, scoring a career and game-high 24 points (10-of-13 shooting from the floor) to go with a career-best eight rebounds and he too was a part of the "box-and-one" defense that wreaked havoc... Gardner had an excellent weekend the last time Arizona played the L.A. schools... In the games at UCLA and USC, he scored 45 points... He was 11-of-22 from the floor, 17-of-20 from the free throw line and 6-of-14 from three-point land (he had a career-high 25 points against USC)... The tandem was exceptional at UCLA, as they combined for 38 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals... Gardner had 20 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Arenas netted 18 and was 7-of-11 from the floor... They backed that up with a 41-point, 8-rebound night at USC... Gardner had a big performance in the win over Stanford, scoring 22 points to go with a career-best six rebounds and four assists... He was 4-of-5 from the three-point line... 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... 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.
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 #2 12/13 7-1 #4 #3 12/20 9-1 #3 #2 12/27 9-2 #5 #4 1/3 11-2 #5 #4 1/10 13-2 #2 #2 1/17 15-2 #2 #2 1/24 16-3 #5 #4 1/31 17-4 #9 #5 2/7 19-4 #7 #7 2/14 21-4 #4 #4
Jefferson's Starship: Prior to going down with his foot injury, sophomore forward and Phoenix product Richard Jefferson and was a regular on the various "Plays of the Week" shows... One of the most athletic players in the country, he had turned in a solid season, while providing more than a fair share of highlight reel dunks and blocks... Prior to being out with the injury, he was fourth on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and first in three-point shooting (.452/14-31)... He was third in field goal percentage (.532) and rebounding (4.9 rpg)... He was second in assists (3.3 apg)... Earlier this season, he was a subject of ESPN.com's question of the day on the college basketball site it asked "who is the best small forward in the country?"... He garnered 12% of the vote to finish fourth behind Michigan State's Morris Peterson, Maryland's Terrance Morris and Cincinnati's Pete Mickeal... He is finally coming into his own as a wing player after spending his high school career as a back-tothe-basket post player... His season was highlighted by a 19-point, five rebound, four assist outing at Texas, that helped lift Arizona to an 88-81 win over the ninth-ranked Longhorns... All 19 points came in the second half when he was 8-of-10 from the floor... He was named to the Fiesta Bowl All-Tournament team.
Lower Output, Same Results: Arizona has scored less than 70 points in a game nine times this season, including seven of the past 15 games... In the past three seasons combined, the Wildcats only had eight games of less than 70 points...The Cats are averaging 75.3 ppg this season... At this rate, the 1999-00 Arizona team would be the lowest scoring group since the 1985-86 program, which wound up averaging 68.8 ppg... Conversely, this year's Cats have been playing some pretty stingy defense, allowing only 64.9 ppg... That mark is the best since the 1985-86 club finished the season giving up just 62.3 ppg... Seven teams have scored less than 60 points against Arizona this season.
Groovin' & Truckin': Redshirt freshman Luke Walton has been one of the Cats better all-around players of late... The team's leading assist man in the past four games, he has been the starting three-man in the past 10 games after Richard Jefferson went down with his injury... He had seven assists, six rebounds and six points in the Washington game... Against Oregon State, he scored 12 points to go with a career-best eight assists, six rebounds and three steals... He also turned in good back-to-back games at ASU and LSU...In the LSU outing, he had a career-best 13 points to go with four rebounds and three assists... That was preceded by his "break-out" game the UA coaches had been expecting to come... At Arizona State, he scored a then-career-high 10 points and had a career-best six rebounds and was 5-of-8 from the floor... It would make sense that a "Deadhead" would choose Berkeley -- and the Bay Area -- to not only come out of a shooting slump, but turn in what was until the ASU game, his most impressive performances of the season... Against California, Walton made his first field goal since the IUPUI game back on Dec. 13 -- breaking a five-game drought without a field goal... He had a solid all-around game, scoring five points to go with three rebounds and three assists... His jumper with 2:31 left in the game gave Arizona a 60-58 lead -- an advantage it would never relinquish... Against Stanford, he filled in for an injured Richard Jefferson and played a career-high 32 minutes, including all 20 in the second half... Although he was only 1-of-6 from the floor, he had a game and career-best seven assists... It was his defense and heady play that received the most mention from Lute Olson and Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery... In the Oregon win, he had nine points to go with five boards and a game-high five assists... He had another good all around game against Washington, scoring four points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
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, which 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.
Ties 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 21 ties on the season - including the one he wore at Stanford, which was career win No. 600 -- that piece of his wardrobe was shipped to the Basketball Hall of Fame, where it will be displayed in a temporary display honoring his 600th victory.
Woods' and the Wildcats' Block of Charity: In recognition of his breaking the University of Arizona record for blocked shots in a single season, The River Internet Access Company donated $500 to the University of Arizona General Scholarship Fund in the name of Loren Woods... This donation ties in with The River's season-long commitment to local charities of $25 per blocked shot made during all U of A games televised by Fox Sports Net Arizona.
Pretty Good Success: Dating back to the first round loss of the 1986 Big Apple NIT, Arizona has won 68 of its last 74 games that have been played as part of an in-season tournament or one-game special event (i.e. Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic, Preseason NIT, Maui Invitational, Great Eight Classic, Las Vegas Showdown, Great Alaska Shootout, Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, etc., etc.)... This season, Arizona is 7-1 in such events, going 4-0 in the Preseason NIT, losing to Connecticut at the Great Eight, beating Nebraska in the Las Vegas Showdown and beating UNC-Wilmington and Delaware in the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
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 95 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 three true freshmen.
Happy Action Graduation Time: If getting your undergraduate degree in just two-and-a-half years was not enough, Arizona senior Josh Pastner has pushed the envelope even further with his most recent scholastic accomplishment... On Dec. 18, he received his master's degree in teaching & teacher education, taking just three-and-a-half years to do so... He walked in the University of Arizona's graduation ceremonies on Saturday morning, and then boarded a plane to Las Vegas to meet up with the team for that night's game against Nebraska... Last year the road trip and graduation day was exactly the same as well, when he received his undergraduate degree in family studies... He walked the morning of Dec. 19, 1998 and then flew to Las Vegas later that day for the Cats' game in the Las Vegas Shootout versus Iowa State.
A Redshirt Year: Arizona is without the services of senior forward Eugene Edgerson this season, as he will redshirt 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... He is student teaching kindergarten at Borton Magnet Elementary School in Tucson... He will still practice with the team but will miss practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The Golden Arches: This season's roster contains three former McDonald's High School All-Americans freshman Jason Gardner, sophomore Richard Jefferson and junior Loren Woods.
Then There Were Four: Just four players 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.
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.
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).
Former Cats in the NBA: This season, there are nine former Arizona players on NBA rosters -- the list has been cut by three in recent weeks, as A.J. Bramlett, Ben Davis and Khalid Reeves were been released when the final cut-down date hit... The current nine-man list includes, Mike Bibby (Vancouver), 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 80-4 in games when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent... The Wildcats are 19-0 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 84-8 when it scores 80 or more points in a game... Further, since the 1992-93 season, Arizona is 146-15 when it scores 80 or more... The Cats are 9-0 this year, were 15-2 in 1998-99, 26-3 in 1997-98 and 19-2 in 1996-97.
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"...Wed., Feb. 23, 9 p.m./Fri., Feb. 25, 9 p.m. (repeat); Wed., Mar. 8, 7 p.m.; Wed., Mar. 22, 5 p.m./Fri., Mar. 24, 7 p.m. (repeat).
Surfin' With The Cats: Follow Arizona basketball games on the internet at www.arizcats.com... Go to the TotalCast portion of the site to see the live real-time play-by-play updates of each of the Arizona men's basketball games.