On the Way to the Bay: The Arizona Wildcats (11-2, 0-0 Pac-10; No. 5 AP/No. 4 USA Today/ESPN) begin the Pacific-10 Conference schedule this week, traveling to the Bay Area to play at California (9-3; 0-0 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 6, and at top-ranked and defending league champion Stanford (11-0, 0-0 Pac-10; TBA-AP/No. 1 USA Today/ESPN) on Saturday, Jan. 8.
The game against the Golden Bears will tip-off at 8:37 p.m. PST (7:30 p.m. MST) and will be played at Cal's new 12,300-seat Haas Pavilion. It will be televised in Tucson on KWBA-TV with Dave Sitton on the play-by-play and Bob Elliott handling the color. As for the game against the Cardinal, it will be at 3 p.m. PST (4 p.m. MST) on Saturday and will be televised on Fox Sports Net with Barry Tompkins on the play-by-play and George Raveling on color.
Arizona, which has won eight of the last 14 Pac-10 Conference championships and was named as the preseason favorite to do so this year, will enter the first week of league play after winning its own Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic last week by downing Delaware, 89-77, on Dec. 30.
Series History: Arizona leads the series with California, 33-23 and is 26-9 against the Bears under Lute Olson... Arizona enters Thursday's game winning three of the last four games in the series, but dropped the last meeting a 89-76 decision on Feb. 25, 1999 in Oakland... Arizona is 10-7 under Olson against California in games played in the Bay Area... This is the first time Arizona has played on the California campus since Jan. 12, 1995... UA won that game 99-86 in Harmon Gym... Since then, Arizona has played the Bears at either the Oakland Coliseum, the Cow Palace or the New Arena in Oakland... The Wildcats own a 36-19 advantage in the series with Stanford and have won 19 of the previous 23 meetings, including three of the past four as well... As the case is with Cal, Arizona also lost its last game against the Cardinal, dropping a 98-83 contest in Maples Pavilion on Feb. 27, 1999... That game clinched the Pac-10 title for Stanford... Two years ago, sixth-ranked Arizona knocked off the previously unbeaten (18-0) and third-ranked Cardinal, 93-75, in Maples, ending their 20-game homecourt winning streak... Under Olson, Arizona has gone 25-7 versus Stanford... From 1989-95, Arizona put together a 15-game winning streak against the Cardinal since then, the teams have split the last eight contests.
UA's Probable Starting Lineup: 1999-00 Stats Ht. Wt. Yr-Exp. PPG RPG APG/BPG F 21 Michael Wright 6-7 238 So.-1L 13.7 8.8 0.7 apg F 44 Richard Jefferson 6-7 222 So.-1L 13.8 5.5 3.5 apg C 3 Loren Woods 7-1 230 Jr.-TR 13.5 5.8 3.3 bpg G 0 Gilbert Arenas 6-3 191 Fr.-HS 13.2 4.0 2.1 apg G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 178 Fr.-HS 11.4 3.2 5.6 apgArizona's Last Action: For the 15th year in a row, Arizona won the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic after beating Delaware, 89-77, on Dec, 30, at McKale Center. Running its all-time record to 30-0 in the tournament, four of the five Arizona starters scored in double figures, led by tournament most valuable player Loren Woods, who scored a game high 23 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Michael Wright, who was also named to the all-tournament team, had his seventh double-double of the season with 19 points and game-high 14 rebounds. Arizona's other all-tourney team performer, Richard Jefferson, pumped in 18 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. Arizona, which pulled down a season-high 52 rebounds in the game, dominated throughout and owned a 47-31 lead at halftime.
In the second stanza, the Wildcats eventually built a 24-point lead at 80-56 before Lute Olson emptied the bench. The Cats reached the title game after downing UNC-Wilmington in the first night of the tournament, 66-51.
Pac-10 Openers: Since Arizona joined the Pac-10 Conference in 1978-79, it owns an all-time record of 12-8 in the initial game of the league schedule... It has won two of the last three conference openers, losing at UCLA last season, beating UCLA at home in 1998 and downing California in Tucson in 1997... This is the second straight season that Arizona has opened the Pac-10 slate on the road... Last year, the Cats spilt the Los Angeles series, losing to UCLA (82-75) and beating USC (87-78)... Arizona also opened the 1995-96 campaign with a trip to the Bay Area... UA lost at California, 99-75, and then dropped the second leg of the trip at Stanford (80-71).
California Notes: The Golden Bears are 9-3 on the season and are coming off a 95-87 win over Davidson in the consolation game of the Golden Bear Classic last Sunday... They have won five of their last six heading into Thursday night's game against the UA the lone loss in the span was to Delaware in the opening night of their Golden Bear Classic on Dec. 29... Three players are scoring in double figures, led by 6-foot-7 junior forward Sean Lampley... He is averaging 16.8 ppg and also leads the team in rebounding at 8.8 rpg... The other two double-digit scoring guys are 6-foot-5 freshman forward Joe Shipp (11.3 ppg) and 6-foot-10 freshman center Nick Vander Laan (11.0 ppg)... Those three, respectively, have field goal percentage marks of 55.2%, 54.3% and 57.5%... It should be a decent front line match-up between them and Arizona's trio of Woods, Wright and Jefferson... Besides the defeat to Pennsylvania, the other two losses have been to Oklahoma and Colorado... Cal's head coach is Ben Braun, who is in his fourth year in Berkeley... He owns a record of 66-38 at Cal and has a 23-year career mark of 399-273... He is 2-4 all-time against Arizona.
The Last Arizona-California Game: Helped in part by a 12-0 run at the end of the first half, Cal handed seventh-ranked Arizona only its fifth loss of the 1998-99 season, posting an 89-76 victory on Feb. 25, 1999, at Oakland's New Arena... All five Wildcat starters scored in double figures including 17 from both Jason Terry and Ruben Douglas... Michael Wright led the Wildcats on the boards with eight rebounds, while Terry and A.J. Bramlett each had seven... Arizona jumped out to a 22-12 lead, but Cal chipped away at the lead, tying the game at 40-40... The Golden Bears then went on their 12-0 run to take a 52-40 halftime lead and in the second half, the Cal lead was never less than 10 points... Cal's Geno Carlisle led all scorers with 21 and Sean Lampley added 20, as the Golden Bears snapped a three-game losing streak to Arizona.
Lute Olson is within reach of a pair of coaching milestones... He is two wins away for career win No. 600 and recently 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
Coach O: Lute Olson (Augsburg '56) is his 17th season as the head coach at Arizona and his 27th overall as a head coach... This season will see him reach even more milestones in what has become a Hall of Fame type coaching career... He has a career record of 598-214 (.736), while his mark in Tucson stands at 406-122 (.769)... He needs just two more wins for career win No. 600, which would make him one of just 33 coaches in NCAA history to win 600 or more games... 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 26-9 all-time versus California and is 25-8 versus Stanford... 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 two in the junior college ranks (Long Beach City College, 104-20), he has coached in 1,192 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... His Pac-10 record stands at 223-65 (.774) 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)... 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 250-26 (.905) in McKale Center and have won 179 of their last 190 home games.
The UA's record of 331-76 over the course of the past 12+ years gives it the nation's best winning percentage during that span (.813).
Stanford Notes: The No. 1 Cardinal are 11-0 on the season and are outscoring the opposition by 21.5 ppg... This is the first time Arizona has played a No. 1 ranked team since it upset Kansas in the 1997 NCAA Tournament (85-82)... That game was in the Sweet 16 at the Southeast Regional and it helped propel the Cats to their first ever NCAA Championship... Stanford has won its last five game by an average score of 85-54... The team is shooting 45.5% from the floor, while limiting the opposition to a FG% of just 31.1% and 28.9% from the three-point line... Four players have a double-digit scoring average... The top scorer, 6-foot-6 freshman guard/forward Casey Jacobsen (13.1 ppg) -- comes off the bench... He has hit on 38.9% of his three-point shot attempts... Six-foot-10 Jarron Collins is second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg), followed by 6-foot-9 senior forward Mark Madsen (12.0), who has only played in three games due to injury... Six-foot-11 redshirt freshman center Jason Collins is the top rebounders at 7.1 rpg... Head coach Mike Montgomery is in his 15th season on the Farm and owns a 272-139 record... He is in his 22nd year overall as a head coach and has compiled a 426-216 career mark.
The Last Arizona-Stanford Game: In a win that gave Stanford its first Pac-10 title, Arizona was beaten by the Cardinal, 98-83, on Feb. 27, 1999, in Maples Pavilion. In what was the biggest loss for the Cats in their past 87 Pac-10 games, Arizona did have five players score in double figures, but were unable to match Stanford's torrid shooting the Cardinal shot a UA opponent season-high 54% (47.6% from the three-point arc) -- and the 52 points that Stanford's Arthur Lee and Kris Weems combined for. Arizona fell behind early and was eventually down by 20 (42-22) with 4:17 left to go in the first half, but used a 12-1 run to close the half and trailed 43-34 going into the lockeroom. In the second stanza, it was all Stanford, as it continued to shoot well (58.3 FG%) and fed off of Arizona's poor shooting (32.6%). When it was all said and done, Jason Terry led the way for the Cats with 21 points, six steals and five rebounds, but was just 7-of-29 from the floor. A.J. Bramlett had his 15th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Ruben Douglas netted 15 points. Richard Jefferson had 13 points and Eugene Edgerson scored 11 to go with seven boards.
Teammates Then, Opponents Now: Arizona's Michael Wright and Stanford's Casey Jacobsen were teammates on the silver medal 1999 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship team this past summer... Wright was the leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and Jacobsen averaged 6.9 ppg... They lost to Spain in the gold medal game... Jacobsen and Arizona freshman point guard Jason Gardner played on the same team at the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game back in March... Playing for the West Squad, which won 141-128, Gardner had seven points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals, while Jacobsen had 22 points. Pac-10 Team of the Decade???: Arizona has the most wins of any Pac-10 team in the 1990s (267), has won five Pac-10 Conference crowns and tied for one other... UCLA is second with four Pac-10 conference titles this decade... For conference games only, Arizona's record of 140-40 is the best in the league, with UCLA at No. 2 with a 134-47 mark... The Cats have been to the NCAA Tournament each year this decade and won it all in 1997... There have been 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 trails only Duke's 10... UA and North Carolina are tied for second-most All-Americans in the 1990s.
Lower Output, Same Results: Arizona has scored less than 70 points in a game four times this season -- in the past two seasons combined, the Wildcats only had three games with less than 70 points... The Cats are averaging 77.4 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... They are coming off a season-high point total, however, after scoring 89 against Delaware last week... Conversely, this year's Cats have been playing some pretty stingy defense, allowing only 63.6 ppg... That mark is the best since the 1985-86 club finished the season giving up just 62.3 ppg.
Cat Scratches: Arizona has played just one true road game this season up until this week... That was at Texas on Dec. 4... There have been four neutral site games and eight home games to go with the lone road game... All five UA starters have a double-figure scoring average and just 2.4 points separates the No. 1 scorer (Richard Jefferson/13.8 ppg) from the No. 5 scorer (Jason Gardner/11.4 ppg)... In between you have Michael Wright at 13.7 ppg, Loren Woods at 13.5 ppg, Gilbert Arenas at 13.2 ppg... The last time the Cats had all five in double figures after 13 games was in the 1995-96 season (Miles Simon, Joseph Blair, Ben Davis, Michael Dickerson, Reggie Geary)... Arizona has been to the free throw line 142 more times than its opposition this season... This week will mark the 71st time that Arizona has been ranked in the top-five by the Associated Press... Of Jason Gardner's 43 field goals this season, 30 are from three-point land (69.7%)... Further, 75 of his 117 field goal attempts have been from behind the three-point line (64%)... He is on pace to attempt 184 three-point field goals this season -- Damon Stoudamire has the single-season record of 265 3PT FGA's... Arizona started the season ranked ninth in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls... Of Arizona's five starters, you have two sophomores (Wright/Jefferson) who have combined for 77 career games and 36 Pac-10 games, two true freshmen (Gardner/Arenas) who have never played in a Pac-10 game and a junior who had never played for the Cats until this season (Woods)... 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 won 69 of 85 games (.811 winning %)... Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona has been ranked in the top-10 in 39 of the last 45 AP polling periods... Arizona is 36-0 when senior Josh Pastner plays, hence the term "A Pastner Game" applies whenever the Wildcats win big... The Cats are 3-1 versus ranked opponents this season, beating No. 5 Michigan State, No. 9 Texas, No. 11 Kentucky and losing to No. 6 Connecticut... Senior Josh Pastner and junior Loren 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 314 games... UA lost that game 100-92.
A New Breed of Cats: With Kentucky not being included in the Associated Press Top-25 rankings on Dec. 13, for the first time in nine years, Arizona now has the second longest current streak of appearing in the AP's weekly poll (80 weeks, counting this week's poll)...This streak dates back to the first regular season poll of the 1995-96 season... Arizona was not ranked in that year's preseason poll... That was the only time since the 1987-88 preseason poll that Arizona was not ranked in the AP poll.. Overall, Arizona has been ranked in the regular season Top-25 rankings for 207 straight weeks... North Carolina extended the nation's No. 1 streak of being ranked in the AP poll to 170 consecutive weeks and that is the third-longest streak in history.
Roster Moves: Arizona started the season with 16 players on its roster, but the number has since been reduced to 13 and there are only eight scholarship players available for action (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson, Luke Walton, Justin Wessel, Loren Woods and Michael Wright)... There are three non-scholarship players (John Ash, Josh Pastner and Mike Schwertly)... 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 at the University of Arizona by the UA coaching staff on Nov. 14.
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, trailing only Murray State (46), Utah (41) and Duke (40)... 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)... 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 50 of its last 52 home games and is 179-11 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 342-65 (.840) 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.
Looking Ahead: Following this week's trip to the Bay Area, the Wildcats host the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15... Washington State is up first, coming to McKale Center on Thursday, Jan. 13, for a 6:30 p.m. game... Washington is on Saturday, Jan. 15, tipping off at 6:30 p.m. as well... Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona.
For Starters: Lute Olson has gone with the same starting lineup in 10 of the 13 games this season... The time 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.
Road Warriors: Before this week's trek to the Bay Area, Arizona has played in five different cities and four separate time zones while logging 8,842 travel miles... There will be an additional 1,530 miles added to the travel log... Further, the team has been through eight different airports and on 14 different plane flights.
Block 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 43 blocks already this season (3.3 bpg), he already has six more than last year's top UA shot blocker -- A.J. Bramlett -- had for the entire season (37)... In fact, Woods has more than half as many as the UA's top shot blockers in every year since blocked shots have been recorded at the UA (1975-76)... For a lowdown of the shot blockers in UA history, consult page 85 in the Arizona basketball media guide... The Arizona individual record for blocks in a season is 84, set by Anthony Cook in 1988-89, and Woods is well ahead of that pace (he is on track for 105 swats)... He has tied the UA record for blocks in a game three times this season, blocking seven shots against Notre Dame, Nebraska and New Mexico (Cook had seven blocks in 1987 against UTEP)... Also, Richard Jefferson's 15 blocks this season is already four more than his entire total for the 1998-99 campaign... Last year, the Wildcats accounted for 93 blocks on the season and this year, they already have 78.
And Make It A Double: All-American candidate Michael Wright has seven double-doubles in the Wildcats' 13 games this season, bringing his career double-double total to 19... The sophomore power forward has 19 double-doubles in just 42 career games... On the season, he is averaging 13.7 ppg and a team-best 8.8 rpg, while shooting 57.4% from the floor... He has started 37 consecutive games for the Cats dating back to last season... 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 (19 in 42 career games) Arizona's record in these games is 13-6Date 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 14Jefferson's Starship: Appearing on a "Plays of the Week" near you, sophomore Richard Jefferson is one of the most athletic players in the country and has had a solid season, while providing more than a fair share of highlight reel dunks and blocks... He is first on the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and three-point shooting (.467/14-30), second in field goal percentage (.555), and assists (3.5 apg) and third rebounding (5.5 rpg)... On Monday of this 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 around 13% of the vote to finish fourth behind Michigan State's Morris Peterson, Maryland's Terrance Morris and Cincinnati's Pete Mickeal... The Phoenix product has scored in double figures in every game but two (Connecticut & UNC Wilmington)... 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.
The Kids are Alright: The freshman guard tandem of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas appear to have acclimated themselves quite well to the college game... Big parts of the UA's 11-2 start, they are combining for 24.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 7.7 apg and 3.8 spg... They are No. 1 & 2 in steals and minutes on the team... Gardner leads the team in minutes, averaging 35 mpg and his three-point percentage (.400/30-75) is better than his overall field goal percentage (.368/43-117)... 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
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, who 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 11 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... He played eight minutes with one rebound in that win.
Who's Back: Heading the group of two returning starters and seven letterwinners is last year's Freshman All-American and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Michael Wright. A 6-foot-7, 238-pound sophomore from Chicago, Ill. (Farragut Academy), he has received preseason acclaim as being one the top power forwards in the country for 1999-2000. He is the team's leading returning scorer (13.9 ppg) and rebounder (8.8 rpg) after posting the best rebounding average by a freshman in Pac-10 history last season. The other returning starter from last year is sophomore Richard Jefferson (F, 6-7, 222, Phoenix, Ariz.)... (Ruben Douglas was a third returning starter, but he was granted his request to be released from his scholarship at the UA on Nov. 14). Jefferson was an All-Pac-10 Freshman team performer last season after averaging 11.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 2.9 apg. Among the other returning letterwinners are Justin Wessel (F, 6-8 , 225, Jr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Rick Anderson (F, 6-8 , 221, So., Long Beach, Calif.), John Ash (G, 5-10, 177, Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) and probably the most valuable player in the country who has averaged 2.4 minutes per game during his career, Josh Pastner (G, 5-11, 182, Kingwood, Texas).
A Redshirt Year: Another face that is returning this season, but will not be playing is Eugene Edgerson... He will redshirt this season 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... Depending on his teaching schedule, he will still practice with the team but will miss Wednesday practices during the fall semester.
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).
The (Kind Of) New Faces: There are six players on this season's roster who have never played in a Pac-10 game, although two of them were with the program last year and sat out either as a transfer or with a redshirt season. The transfer is junior center Loren Woods (7-1, 251, St. Louis, Mo.), who came to Arizona from Wake Forest. The former McDonald's All-American had to sit out last year, but is eligible to play in 1999-00 and will establish his presence right away. He did practice with the Cats in 1998-99, so he has a good knowledge of the system. The redshirt is Luke Walton (F, 6-8, 228, Fr., San Diego, Calif.). He missed last season with a medical redshirt after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot. He was healthy towards the end of last year and was able to practice with the team at the end of February.
Where Are You From?: California is the state that can claim the most members of this year's Wildcats, as four players are from "The Golden State " (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Lamont Frazier and Luke Walton)... There are three from Arizona (John Ash, Richard Jefferson & Michael Schwertley)... The rest of the roster contains six players from different states.
The Golden Arches: This season's roster has three former McDonald's All-Americans Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson and Loren Woods.
Then There Were Four: Just four players on this year's roster 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, and so did Ruben Douglas, who made his decision to do so as well on Nov. 14.
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).
Former Cats in the NBA: This season, there are 12 former Arizona players on NBA rosters -- two have been added in recent weeks -- Ben Davis w/Phoenix and Khalid Reeves w/Chicago... The 12-man list includes, Mike Bibby (Vancouver), A.J. Bramlett (Cleveland), Jud Buechler (Detroit), Ben Davis (Phoenix), Michael Dickerson (Vancouver), Sean Elliott (San Antonio/injured list), Steve Kerr (San Antonio), Chris Mills (Golden State), Khalid Reeves (Chicago), Sean Rooks (Dallas), Damon Stoudamire (Portland) and Jason Terry (Atlanta).
Shooting Sets the Tone: Since the 1996-97 season, Arizona is 71-4 in games when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent... The Wildcats are 11-0 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 81-8 when it scores 80 or more points in a game... Further, since the 1992-93 season, Arizona is 143-15 when it scores 80 or more... The Cats are 6-0 this year, were 15-2 in 1998-99, 26-3 in 1997-98 and 19-2 in 1996-97.
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... Due to Arizona travel conflicts during the non-conference season, the show will air just once prior to Pac-10 play... The next Lute Olson Show will be Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m. and the TV show will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10:30 p.m on UPN channel 18 in Tucson.
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"... Fri., Jan. 14, 9 p.m./Sun., Jan. 16, 1 p.m. (replay); 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.