Game 29: No. 8 Arizona (21-7, 13-3) at No. 1 Stanford (27-1, 15-1)
Date: Thursday, March 8, 2001
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Maples Pavilion (7,391), Palo Alto, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: No. 8 Arizona (21-7, 13-3 Pac-10) closes the regular season with a pair of games in the Bay Area, beginning tonight at top-ranked Stanford (27-1, 15-1 Pac-10) ... The last time Arizona defeated a No. 1-ranked opponent came in a 68-65 win at Stanford on Jan. 8, 2000 ... Over the last two seasons, the Wildcats are 11-5 against ranked teams, including 4-4 this year ... UA has won its last two road games by a combined 74 points ... Either Stanford and Arizona, the preseason Pac-10 favorites, leads the conference in 16 of 19 team statistical categories with just two regular season games remaining.
The Rankings: UA rose to No. 8 in the current Associated Press poll and remained 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 108 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 235 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 632-224 (.738) and 440-132 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (248) 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 14 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 271-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 199 of its last 210 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 27-10 vs. Stanford.
Last Time Out: UA shot a season-best .618 from the floor in the first half and used a 25-4 run to break the game open and hand Oregon its worst loss in nine seasons, 104-65 last Saturday. Arizona led 55-25 at the half and saw the lead grow to as much as 51 (89-38) with nine minutes to go. All five Wildcat starters finished in double figures and the quintet shot 64 percent as a group. Jason Gardner ( 11 points/10 assists) posted his second career double-double.
Scouting Stanford: The nations top-ranked team enters play this evening with a 27-1 record (15-1 Pac-10) and a seven-game win streak after Saturdays 85-79 win at UCLA. The Cardinal clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 championship with that victory. As a team, Stanford averages 83.0 points and shoots a stellar .514 from the floor, while limiting the opposition to just 63.6 points and .418 shooting. A very balanced team, four Cardinal players average in double figures, led by Casey Jacobsens 17.8 ppg mark. Jason and Jarron Collins lead the team in rebounding, combining to average 14.7 rebounds per game.
The Series: Tonights game is the 60th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 39-20 series advantage. Arizona has won five of the last seven meetings, but dropped an 85-76 decision in Tucson on Jan. 6. Arizona is 25-7 in series games played in Tucson, 11-13 in Palo Alto and 3-0 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Second-ranked Stanford had an answer for every Arizona challenge, as the Cardinal picked up the 85-76 win in Tucson on Jan. 6. Five key points just before the halftime buzzer stretched the Stanford lead to 10 at the break, a lead that would not fall below seven in the second half. Stanford outrebounded Arizona, 42-32, and held a 26-16 advantage from the free throw line. It was Stanfords first win at McKale Center since 1996.
Yeomanlike Effort: Michael Wright averaged 15.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in leading Arizona to a pair of wins last week. The junior also hit .647 of his field goal attempts (11-of-17) and added six steals. He opened the week with 13 points, four rebounds and two steals in the 11-point win over Oregon State on Thursday. Wright followed that with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds in the 39-point win over Oregon. In the win over the Ducks, Wright hit 8-of-11 FG attempts and added a career-high four steals in just 20 minutes of action. Fourteen of Wrights 18 points came in the first half as the Wildcats raced to a 55-25 halftime lead. Wrights efforts raised his season averages to 16.4 points per game and 8.3 rebounds. He also leads UA with a .593 FG percentage.
The Century Mark: The Wildcats 104-point effort Saturday was teams second-best offensive effort of the year. It was also UAs fourth 100-point game of the season. On the season, Arizona is averaging 81.9 points per game, 5.5 points better than last season.
On Target: UA got off to a good start on Saturday, shooting a season-best .618 (21-of-34) from the floor in the first half and led 55-25 at the break. The Cats cooled off a bit in the second, shooting .581 (18-of-31) and finished .600 (39-of-65) for the game. It was the second time the squad has shot 60 percent or better from the floor this season (.603 vs. Washington State, Feb. 10).
Deadeye: The UA starting five was primarily responsible for the hot shooting vs. Oregon, combining to shoot .643 (27-of-42) from the floor. All five players finished in double figures for the first time this season.
Leading the Way: Four of Arizonas last six opponents have failed to shoot 40 percent from the field, which has helped the Cats lead the league in field goal percentage defense at .391. In conference play, that figure drops to .380.
Clamping Down: The UA defense also was in high gear on Saturday, collecting 14 assists and forcing 26 Oregon turnovers. Michael Wright and Gilbert Arenas each posted four steals...a career high for Wright and a season high for Arenas.
On the Boards: Once again, Arizona was dominant on the glass, outrebounding Oregon, 41-25. It was the Wildcats eighth game this season in which the team has posted a +15 or better rebound margin. Arizonas rebound margin for the week was +34. Arizona is 17-3 this season when outrebounding the opposition.
Gardner Doubles Up: Jason Gardner posted his second career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists vs. Oregon. The double-double came in just 28 minutes and included just one assist. Gardners 10 assists equaled a Pac-10 high this season in league play. He leads the team with 127 assists and has a 2.49 assist:turnover ratio. Arizona is 24-5 in Gardners career when he registers at least five assists in a game.
A Model of Consistency: With two wins last week, Arizona has now won at least 20 games for the 14th consecutive season and 23rd time in school history.
Stepping Up: Loren Woods played one of his best all-around games this season on Saturday by posting 17 points (on 8-of-10 shooting), seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Included in the effort was his first career trey. Not to be overlooked was his defensive effort on Oregons Bryan Bracey. Bracey entered the game as the Pac-10s second-leading scorer at 19.1 ppg and Woods held him to just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.
A Typical Walton Performance: Luke Waltons stat line of eight points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals may not jump out at you. But all five of his rebounds were on the offensive glass and amounted to half of the Oregon total for the game. He is also five assists shy of totaling 100 for the second straight season. He has a 2.11 assist:turnover ratio this year, a figure that ranks fourth in the Pac-10.
Reaching 1,000: Gilbert Arenas enters play tonight just 22 points shy of 1,000 career points in less than two seasons. Should Arenas tally those points, he would become just the sixth player in school history to score 1,000 career points by the end of his sophomore season. Here are the others: 1. Coniel Popcorn Norman (1972-74) 1,194; 2. Bob Elliott (1973-75) 1,106; 3. Sean Elliott (1985-87) 1,077; 4. Mike Bibby (1996-98) 1,061; 5. Chris Mills* (1988-91) 1,004. *Mills scored 459 points as a freshman at the University of Kentucky in 1988-89 before transferring to Arizona.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 14-0 when scoring 80 points and 7-7 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 42-3 (.933) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in 10 of its last 15 games and is averaging 82.6 points over that span.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 15th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,389 points. Just ahead of Wright in 14th place is Joe Nehls (1976-80) with 1,409 points.
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. Wright was also named one of 20 finalists for the Wooden Award. Lute Olson was named College Hoops Insider Pac-10 Coach of the Year as well.
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: Arizona closes the regular season with a Saturday evening tilt at California. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. MST tip and can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.