Series History: In the most often played series in Arizona basketball history, the Wildcats own an all-time advantage of 122-72 against Arizona State... The UA will bring an eight-game winning streak into Wednesday's game against the Sun Devils... The last Arizona loss came on March 11, 1995, in McKale Center... ASU won that game 103-98 in double overtime, when Ben Davis and Damon Stoudamire were ruled ineligible by the NCAA and Joseph Blair was injured... Under Lute Olson, Arizona has gone 27-5 against ASU -- 12-4 in Tempe and 15-1 in Tucson... The last Arizona loss in Tempe came on Jan. 5, 1995... No. 15 ASU beat a ninth-ranked Arizona squad, 53-52... The series has been extremely close in games played at Tempe recently -- in the past eight games, the average score is UA 78.00, ASU 77.38... The past two games have been one-point Arizona victories... However, in the last 12 games held in Tucson, the Wildcats have won by an average score of 96-74... The rivalry began in 1914 with Arizona winning 25 of the first 27 games... Since 1984, Arizona has been victorious in 27 of the past 32... As for the series with Louisiana State, Arizona leads 2-1... UA has won the past two games... The teams played each other last season in Tucson with the Wildcats winning 78-71... The other win for the Cats was on Dec. 7, 1991 a 87-67 victory in Tucson... The lone LSU triumph was on Dec. 8, 1990 (92-82) in Baton Rouge.
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 14.2 8.5 0.6 spg F 4 Luke Walton 6-8 228 Fr.-RS 2.9 3.3 2.4 apg C 3 Loren Woods 7-1 230 Jr.-TR 15.6 6.9 3.7 bpg G 0 Gilbert Arenas 6-3 191 Fr.-HS 12.9 3.9 2.3 spg G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 178 Fr.-HS 13.3 3.3 5.2 apgArizona's Last Action: 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 last Saturday night. 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).
ASU Notes: After getting swept in Los Angeles last week, the Sun Devils will enter Wednesday's game with an 11-6 mark, 3-3 in the Pac-10... They are already three wins away from matching last season's win total... Eddie House has been the man this season scoring over 40 points three times, including the 61-point outburst at California on Jan. 8... On the season, he is averaging 23.4 ppg (28.3 in Pac-10 games) and has made 43-of-106 three-point attempts (.406)... He is shooting 87.1% from the free throw line... In Saturday's 83-77 loss at UCLA, he scored the team's first 12 points of the game, but was held to 18 on the day... Awvee Story, a 6-foot-6 guard, led the Sun Devils in scoring at UCLA with 21... He also had 24 against USC, second on the team to freshman guard Tanner Shell, who scored 24 off the bench... House had 13 against USC... Storey is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.9 ppg... He is the top rebounder (8.7 rpg/10.3 rpg in conference games)... Freshman forward Shawn Redhage is the No. 3 scorer at 11.7 ppg and leads the team in FG% at .542... Head coach Rob Evans is in his second year at helm of the ASU hoop program and has compiled a record of 25-22... He is in his eighth year as a head coach and owns a 111-103 career mark... He is 0-2 all-time against Arizona... Following the contest with Arizona, ASU travels to North Carolina State for a game on Saturday.
The Last Arizona/ASU Game: Arizona used what was then a career-high 22 points from Michael Wright and another superb Jason Terry performance (21 pts, 7 asts, 5 rbds) to beat Arizona State for the eighth straight time, 86-80, on Feb. 10, 1999, in McKale Center. The tenth-ranked Wildcats trailed at halftime by three (38-35), but used a strong second-half shooting performance (18-30/60%) to help lift them to their 17th win of the season. It was a tight contest throughout, as the Cats never owned a lead of more than seven and led by just one with 46 seconds left in the game. From there, A.J. Bramlett caught a nice feed from Terry in the air and put it in to put the Cats up 82-79 and that was followed by two Terry free throws, giving the UA an 84-79 advantage with 22 seconds left. After that, ASU converted a couple of free throws and then UA's Ruben Douglas capped the game with a dunk at the buzzer to give Arizona the victory. Eugene Edgerson came off the bench to celebrate his 21st birthday in style, scoring a season-high 13 points to go with five rebounds, while A.J. Bramlett had 12 points and nine boards.
The Last Game in Wells Fargo Arena: The Wildcats used an A.J. Bramlett turn-around eight-footer with 10.7 seconds left to beat Arizona State on Jan. 14, 1999, in Tempe, 74-73. Arizona had to survive a last second shot attempt by Eddie House to win its seventh straight game over the Sun Devils and fourth straight in Tempe. Bramlett was the man for the UA, as he went for a career-best tying 24 points (11-of-13 FGA) and grabbed 11 rebounds. He and Michael Wright, who also had double-double with 18 and 12, helped control the paint and combined to make 19-of-24 shots. After trailing 40-35 at halftime and 49-40 with 16:27 left in the game, UA used solid second half shooting (16-of-26 - 61.5%) to help get back in it. In the second half, the Cats took their first lead since 8-7, when Jason Terry stole the ball on dunked one home, giving the UA a 61-60 advantage with 9:20 remaining. From that point, there would be 10 lead changes and four ties before Arizona earned the victory. In addition to Bramlett and Wright's heroics, Terry added 11 points, six assists and three steals, played all 40 minutes, and after making a switch to defend House in the closing portion of the game, played great defense -- especially on the shot attempt at the buzzer.
New Faces in the Rivalry: Among Arizona's starting five, only one player has participated in the Arizona/Arizona State rivalry -- sophomore forward Michael Wright... In his two games versus the Sun Devils last season, he averaged 20 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, while going 16-of-21 from the floor (76.1%)... In fact, Wright is the only player on this year's Arizona squad who has ever scored a point against Arizona State... Among the UA's top-seven rotation, only two others have ever played against ASU... Junior Justin Wessel and sophomore Rick Anderson are the others... In the last meeting between these two teams (Feb. 10, 1999), Wright and Wessel were the only players on this season's team who played in that outing... Those same two played in the last game at Wells Fargo Arena, as did Anderson (five minutes).
A New UA Streak to Chart: With North Carolina dropping out of the Associated Press top-25 poll this week, Arizona now has the nation's longest active streak of consecutive weeks ranked in the AP top-25... The Wildcats streak stands at 83 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 66 straight weeks in the AP top-25... North Carolina had been ranked in the AP poll for 172 consecutive weeks before falling out of it this week... 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 210 straight weeks.
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 603-215 (.737), while his mark at the at the University of Arizona stands at 411-123 (.770)... His Pac-10 record is 228-66 (.776) 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 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 27-6 all-time versus Arizona State and is 2-1 against LSU... 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 three in the junior college ranks (Long Beach City College, 104-20), he has coached in 1,198 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 12 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 21 overall in his career... Under Olson, the Cats are 252-26 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 181 of their last 192 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 65-68Valley of the "Won": Arizona has won its past nine games that have been played in the Phoenix metro area... The streak dates back to the last time it lost at ASU -- Jan. 5, 1995, when the UA dropped a 53-52 decision in what was then the University Activity Center... In addition to the four consecutive wins at Arizona State, the UA beat Wyoming in America West Arena last season, has won two 7-Up Shootout games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum -- Cincinnati in 1996 and Tulane in 1997, and posted a pair of victories in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, which was held at ASU... In those latter two tilts, Arizona beat Valparaiso and Iowa to reach the Sweet 16 in Denver... At ASU, the Cats have won its last six games in a row staged there, counting the 1996 NCAA games.
Cat Scratches: Although the UA is in the midst of a four-game road trip, seven of its final 11 games will be at home... The Cats have been to the free throw line 217 more times than the opposition and have scored 171 more points from the charity stripe... Twelve of the Wildcats' 19 opponents have shot less than 40% from the field this season... In the past seven games, Loren Woods has averaged 20.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 4.6 bpg (35 blocks), is 67-121 from the floor (55.4%) and is 33-of-44 from the free throw line (75.0%)... His 10 blocks versus Washington State on Jan. 13 was both a team and Pac-10 Conference game record, but one short of the McKale Center record of 11, set by Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll in 1977... The 11 blocks that Arizona had as a team against Washington State were the most since Nov. 29, 1993, when the Cats also had 11 versus Baylor... In his current seven-game block party, his 35 blocks are two fewer then Arizona's top shot blocker had for all of 1998-99 (A.J. Bramlett, 37)... The opponents have 97 more field goal attempts than UA... Six of Arizona's seven regulars are shooting 70% or better from the free throw line and the lone exception, Michael Wright is at 67.9%... Overall, the team is shooting 72.5% from the line... Although it was the only Pac-10 loss of the season, the USC game represented the only time the Cats have outrebounded a league opponent this season (39-31)... In Pac-10 games only, Arizona is being outrebounded by a 233-208 margin... Overall, Arizona has outrebounded its opponents 747-674 this season... Arizona is 5-1 versus ranked opponents, beating No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 9 Texas, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 25 UCLA and losing to No. 6 Connecticut... There are just 2.7 points separating the UA's No. 1 scorer (Loren Woods/15.6 ppg) from the No. 4 scorer (Gilbert Arenas/12.9 ppg)... In between you have Michael Wright at 14.2 ppg and Jason Gardner (13.3 ppg)... This week marks the 74th time in Arizona basketball history that the team has been ranked in the top-five by the Associated Press -- they have been in the top-five for the past nine weeks in a row, which is the longest consecutive span spent in the top five since the 1987-88 team was ranked anywhere from No. 1 to No. 4 for 15 weeks in a row... Arizona started the season ranked ninth in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls... Of Jason Gardner's 68 field goals this season, 46 are from three-point land (67.6 %)... Further, 107 of his 171 field goal attempts have been from behind the three-point line (62.6%)... When junior John Ash started at point guard last Saturday 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 74-17 (.813 winning %)... Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona has been ranked in the top-10 in 42 of the last 48 AP polling periods... Arizona is 36-0 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... When John Ash got into the USC game with just under a minute to go, it marked the first time the UA lost when he played... Up until then, Arizona was 29-0 when he played -- and 1-0 when he starts, something Pastner can not claim... 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 320 games... UA lost that game 100-92.
Arizona in the Pac-10 Stats: Michael Wright leads the league in field goal percentage with a mark of 55.7% (97-of-174)... Loren Woods is fifth in FG% at 54.1%... Woods is No. 1 for blocked shots with a 3.68 bpg mark... Wright is second in rebounding with a 8.5 rpg average, trailing Arizona State's Awvee Storey, who pulls down 8.7 rpg... Jason Gardner is fourth in assists at 5.21 apg and sixth in three-point percentage (.430)... As a team, Arizona is in the top three in the following categories field goal percentage defense (2nd, 39.1%), scoring defense (2nd, 64.8 ppg), blocked shots (2nd, 5.89 bpg), defensive rebounds (2nd, 27.0 pg), rebounding (3rd, 39.3 rpg), 3PT field goal percentage defense (3rd, .322) and turnover margin (3rd, +1.79).
LSU Notes: Before Wednesday's game at home versus Arkansas, the Tigers own a record of 14-3 on the season and are 2-3 in the Southeastern Conference... They started the season 13-0 before falling at home to Tennessee on Jan. 8... They then proceeded to lose two more after that at Florida and at Vanderbilt... LSU broke that three game losing streak by beating Georgia at home last Wednesday... Six-foot-9 sophomore forward Stromile Swift is the team's leading scorer (16.8 ppg) and rebounder (7.9 rpg)... He has a field goal percentage of 62.7% (111-of-127)... He has five double-doubles on the season and scored 33 points to go with 13 boards against Wyoming earlier this season... Jabari Smith, a 6-foot-11 senior center, is second with a 13.5 ppg average and a 7.3 rpg mark...The team is shooting 49.1% from the floor.
The Last Arizona/LSU Meeting: Last season, Arizona beat Louisiana State in McKale Center on Feb. 13, 1999, by a score of 78-71. The Cats used another headline-grabbing performance from Jason Terry, as he tied a school record by hitting seven three-point shots, a display that helped him score a game-high 25 points to go with five assists and three steals. Freshman Michael Wright added his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Eugene Edgerson had his second straight double-digit scoring total (first time in his career that has happened) with 12 points and eight boards off the bench. As a team, the UA shot 50% from the floor against a LSU team that had been holding its opponents to a FG% of only 39.2%. For the Tigers, Stromile Swift and Maurice Carter each scored 21 points in the loss.
Arizona Single Season Block Chart 1. Anthony Cook, 84 1988-89 2. Anthony Cook, 75 1987-88 3. Loren Woods, 70 1999-00 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 the past few years a legitimate shot blocker... With 70 blocks already this season (3.7 bpg), he already has the third-highest single season total in school history... Anthony Cook has the school record of 84 blocks, but Woods is well ahead of that pace (he is on track for 118 swats -- the Pac-10 single season record for blocks is 115, set by ASU's Mario Bennett in 1994-95)... Woods set the UA record for blocks in a game with 10 against Washington State, breaking the old mark of seven, which he had done three times this season (Notre Dame, Nebraska and New Mexico and Anthony Cook did in 1987 against UTEP)... Last year, the Cats accounted for 93 blocks on the season and this year, they already have 112... 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 on Jan. 17... In the wins over Washington State and Washington 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 career-high 25 points to go with a 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... Woods became the second player from Arizona to win the weekly honor, joining Michael Wright, who received the award on Dec. 6 for his performances against Brigham Young and Texas.
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.
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 14.2 ppg, and a team-high 8.5 rpg, while shooting 55.7% from the floor. He has eight double-doubles, bringing his career total to 20 in 48 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 veterand player." -- UCLA head coach Steve Lavin
Injury News: Arizona sophomore forward 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 set for the second week of March, which coincides with the team's 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... Should that portion of his rehabilitation progress as anticipated, he will then progress to weight bearing activities for the final four weeks of rehab.
Roster Addition: Peter Hansen, a member of Arizona's football team, was added to the Arizona basketball roster last week 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... 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.
And Make It A Double: All-America and John Wooden Award candidate Michael Wright has eight double-doubles in the Wildcats' 19 games this season, bringing his career double-double total to 20... The sophomore power forward has 19 double-doubles in 48 career games... On the season, he is averaging 14.2 ppg and a team-high 8.5 rpg, while shooting 55.7% from the floor... He is the only player to start in all 19 games this season has started 42 consecutive games for the Cats dating back to last year... 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.
Michael Wright's Career Double-Doubles (20 in 48 career games) Arizona's record in these games is 14-6 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 12Roster 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.
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 51-2 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 now won 52 of its last 54 home games and is 181-11 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 344-65 (.841) in McKale Center... This is 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.
For Starters: Lute Olson has gone with the same starting lineup in 14 of the 19 games this season... The latest change was against Washington on Jan. 13, when John Ash started at the point and Justin Wessel started at the two guard for Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas who were both held out of the starting lineup for being late to practice on Jan. 14... Luke Walton has been inserted into the lineup in place of the injured Richard Jefferson... The first two times the starting five was altered was against Michigan State and IUPUI... Against MSU, an adjustment was made at the center spot, as Justin Wessel started for Loren Woods... Woods was late to the game because of a traffic accident he was in while on the way to McKale Center... He finally got to the arena in the early goings of the first half and checked into the lineup at the 14:17 mark after warming up on a stationary bike... He made his first field goal attempt 24 seconds later... Gilbert Arenas was the other normal starter who did not start against MSU, as a result of him being late to a scheduled treatment session with basketball athletic trainer Ed Orr... Rick Anderson started in his place and Richard Jefferson started at the two-guard... Against IUPUI, Anderson again started for Arenas and Jefferson went at the two-guard.
Looking Ahead: Following this week's games at ASU and LSU, Arizona returns home next week for games against Oregon and Oregon State... The contest against the Ducks is on Thursday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m., while the game with the Beavers is set for Saturday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m... Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona.
Road Warriors: Counting this week's trips to Tempe and Baton Rouge, Arizona will have played in eight different locales and four separate time zones while logging 13,860 travel miles this season... Further, the team will have been through 11 different airports and on 26 different plane flights.
Jefferson's Starship: Prior to going down with the 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 has 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)... Last week, 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.
The UA's record of 336-77 over the course of the past 12+ years gives it the nation's best winning percentage during that span (.814).
The Kids are Alright: The freshman guard tandem of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas have been big parts of the UA's 16-3 start... They are combining for 26.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 7.2 apg and 3.6 spg... They are No. 1 & 2 in steals on the team... Gardner leads the team in minutes and assists, averaging 35.8 mpg and 5.2 apg (he has played all 40 four times this season) and is coming off an excellent weekend in Los Angeles... In the games against 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 a 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.
Lower Output, Same Results: Arizona has scored less than 70 points in a game seven times this season, including five of the past nine games... In the past three seasons combined, the Wildcats only had eight games of less than 70 points...The Cats are averaging 75.6 ppg this season... At this rate, the 1999-00 Arizona team would be the lowest scoring group since the 1986-87 program, which wound up averaging 75.6 ppg... Conversely, this year's Cats have been playing some pretty stingy defense, allowing only 64.8 ppg... That mark is the best since the 1985-86 club finished the season giving up just 62.3 ppg.
Groovin' & Truckin': 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 his most impressive performances of the season... Against California, UA redshirt freshman Luke 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... He had another good all around game against Washington, scoring four points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
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 #4Pac-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 16 ties on the season...
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 88 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 will be 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.
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).
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 days, as A.J. Bramlett, Ben Davis and Khalid Reeves have been released in the past days... 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 75-4 in games when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent... The Wildcats are 14-0 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 82-8 when it scores 80 or more points in a game... Further, since the 1992-93 season, Arizona is 144-15 when it scores 80 or more... The Cats are 7-0 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"... Thurs., Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m./Sat., Jan. 29, 3 p.m. (replay); Wed., Feb. 9, 5 p.m./Fri, Feb. 11, 9 p.m. (replay); Wed., Feb. 23, 9 p.m./Fri. Feb. 25, 9 p.m. (replay).
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.
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... It all takes place at Bob's on Tanque Verde... The next Lute Olson Show will be Monday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. and the TV show will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 p.m on UPN channel 18 in Tucson.