Game 13: No. 16 Arizona (8-4, 1-0) vs. No. 2 Stanford (12-0, 1-0)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 6, 2001 Time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Location: Lute Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist/Billy Packer)
Game Data: No. 16 Arizona (8-4, 1-0 Pac-10) hosts No. 2 Stanford (12-0, 1-0 Pac-10) in a matchup of the Pacific-10 Conference preseason favorites ... The Wildcats have swept its opening weekend of Pac-10 play in three of the last four seasons ... UA is shooting 49.4 percent from the floor at home, 2.5 percent better than its season average ... In the last 10 years, Arizona (140) and Stanford (109) rank first and third, respectively, in number of Pac-10 wins ... Over the past two seasons, Arizona is 8-3 vs. ranked teams, including 1-2 this season.
The Rankings: UA slipped to No. 16 in the current Associated Press poll and to No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. Arizona opened the year as the nation's top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 99 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 226 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 621-222 (.737) and 429-130 (.767)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's 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 17-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 nation's best winning percentage over the past 13 years... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 22 overall in his career, making him one of only six head coaches in NCAA history to record 22 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 263-26 (.910) in McKale Center and have won 191 of its last 202 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: Ten of Arizona's final 12 points came from the free throw line in the final 3:51 to earn the 78-75 win Thursday in the Pac-10 season opener. Overall, the Wildcats hit its last 13 free throws in the game and parlayed that into a 21-9 advantage from the charity stripe. Both teams shot better than 54 percent from the floor and UA was able to amass a 27-18 rebound advantage. Michael Wright led all scorers with 28 points, while Gilbert Arenas added 13.
Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal (12-0, 1-0) enter this morning's game riding a 12-game win streak after Thursday's 94-77 win at Arizona State. The nation's No. 2 team shoots 50.0 percent (334-of-668) from the floor, while holding the opposition to just 37.3 percent. Outstanding on the glass, the Cardinal averages 40.3 rebounds per game and a +8.6 rebound margin. Individually, four players average in double figures, led by sophomore Casey Jacobsen's 18.0 ppg clip.
The Series: Tonight's game is the 59th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 39-19 series advantage. Arizona has won five of the last six series meetings, including both games last season. Arizona is 25-6 in series games played in Tucson, 11-13 in Palo Alto and 3-0 in neutral-site games.
Farewell, Bobbi: The Wildcat family suffered a great loss earlier this week, as Bobbi Olson died peacefully Monday morning, surrounded by her family, from complications related to ovarian cancer. She was 65. Mrs. Olson, the former Roberta Rae Russell, was the wife of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson. The couple had been married 47 years and have five children and 14 grandchildren. "Bobbi faced her illness with great courage," said Lute Olson. "Her love of family remained her priority and even in her last moments she continued taking care of and comforting all of us as only a wife and mother can do. A special memorial fund is being 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. A public memorial service is set for Sunday, Jan. 7, in McKale Center at 3 p.m.
Taking Over: It was announced prior to last Saturday's game (Dec. 30) that coach Lute Olson would take an immediate leave of absence from the program in order to spend quality time with Bobbi. UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough has assumed temporary leadership of the program for an indefinite amount of time. Rosborough has more than 21 seasons of experience as an assistant under Lute Olson and was a head coach for three seasons (1986-89) at Northern Illinois University, where he compiled a 28-56 (.333) record in that span. He is 1-1 since taking over for Coach Olson.
That's More Like It: After being held to single digits for the first time all season against Mississippi State, Michael Wright responded with a yeoman-like effort in the win over Cal. Wright hit 11-of-13 field goal attempts en route to equaling a career high with 28 points. He also hit 6-of-8 free throw attempts, grabbed eight boards and added a season-high two steals. The 11 field goals (also a career best) and 28 points were UA team highs this year.
Knocking Em In: The Cats' free throw prowess was on display Thursday, as the squad knocked down 21-of-26 (.808) free throws in the three-point win. Included in that was a 13-of-14 (.929) effort in the second half where the Cats hit its last 13 charity attempts, including eight in the final 1:55. Arizona has the most made free throws (228) in the Pac-10 and leads the league with a .745 free throw percentage.
Good Looks: Solid field goal shooting helped the Wildcats to victory on Thursday, as Arizona equaled a season high with its .542 (26-of-48) FG percentage for the game. UA started strong by setting a new season high with .583 (14-of-24) accuracy in the first half. Arizona is 4-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.
Crazy Caroms: Here are a couple of interesting rebounding facts from Thursday's game. First, Arizona collected a season-low 27 rebounds, but was still able to out-board the Golden Bears by a +9 total. It was the sixth time that the Cats have outrebounded an opponent by nine or more. Secondly, UA held Cal to an opponent-low five offensive and 18 total rebounds. It was the second time this season that UA has held an opponent to less than 20 rebounds. Arizona is 6-2 this season when outrebounding the opposition.
In Close Games: Thursday's three-point win improved Arizona's record in games decided by five points or less to 2-3. Over the last two seasons, UA is 6-7 in close contests.
Even it up: With the win over Cal, the starting quartet of Michael Wright, Richard Jefferson, Loren Woods, Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas evened its record as starters to 2-2 on the year. All five players were preseason Wooden Award Player of the Year candidates.
More on Wright: It would seem like you'd want to get the ball to a guy shooting 61.7 percent from the floor. But Thursday's 13 field goal attempts for Michael Wright equaled a season high originally set during the season opener vs. Chaminade. Interestingly, Wright has been limited to less than 10 FG attempts in a game five times this season.
Second Half Success: There's nothing like waiting until the last minute...In scoring 13 points on Thursday, Gilbert Arenas tallied 11 of those in the second half. That type of second half success has been the norm for Arenas recently. In games against LSU, Mississippi State and California, Arenas has scored 39 of his 51 total points after the half to go with a .765 (13-of-17) field goal percentage. Incidentally, his 13-point effort was the 40th double-figure game of his career.
One Up, One Down: Jason Gardner ended his string of making at least two treys in every game this year by going 1-for-1 from behind the arc vs. California. But his streak of at least one trey in 22 straight games dating back to last year continues. He leads the team with 34 treys and a 44.7 3-point FG percentage.
Continuing his Climb: With 28 points on Saturday, Michael Wright moved in to 24th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,139 points. Just ahead of Wright at the moment in 23rd place is Jud Buechler (1987-90) who totaled 1,144 career points.
On the Glass: With six rebounds on Thursday, Richard Jefferson now ranks fourth on the squad with a 4.8 rebounds per game average. It marked the seventh time in his 11 games that Jefferson has collected at least five caroms.
Behind the Arc: Luke Walton doubled his season output from three-point range on Thursday by connecting on 2-of-3 three-point attempts. The two treys also equaled a career high for the San Diego native. He also added five assists, three boards and two steals in the effort.
In case You Were Wondering: The last time Arizona played the No. 2-ranked team in the country was March 9, 2000, when UA defeated Stanford, 86-81, in McKale Center. Stanford was also the last No. 1-ranked team to face Arizona. That happened on Jan. 8, 2000, in a 68-65 UA win.
League Leader: The only Arizona player to lead a Pac-10 statistical category, Michael Wright leads the league when it comes to rebounding. The junior leads the Pac-10 with a 9.4 rebounds per game average. His 41 offensive rebounds also tops the conference rankings.
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 Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. Olson will be honored at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Awards program.
All-Pac-10: According to the preseason all-Pac-10 teams selected by CBS SportsLine, six of the 10 players on the first and second teams play for either Arizona (Woods, Wright Gardner, Arenas) or Stanford (Jacobsen, Jarron Collins.
In Pacific-10 Conference Play: Arizona entered its 23rd season of Pac-10 competition this week with a composite record of 265-131 (.669). In those 22 seasons, that record is second in the league behind only UCLA. The Wildcats have won or shared nine league titles in that span, the most of any Pac-10 member. Arizona's .669 winning percentage ranks second among all Pac-10 members since 1916.
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. Mary's 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
Up Next: The Wildcats hit the road for the only time in the month of January with games at Washington State (Jan. 11) and Washington (Jan. 13). Those games will be televised on KWBA-TV and Fox Sports Net Arizona, respectively.