Date: Thursday, March 1, 2001
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKake Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 9 Arizona (19-7, 11-3 Pac-10) opens the final homestand of the season by playing host to Oregon State (10-17, 4-11 Pac-10) ... In conference play, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense (64.4), scoring margin (+17.4), field goal percentage defense (.378), assists (17.14), steals (7.92), turnover margin (+2.00) and defensive rebounds (26.29) ... Over the last 11 games, UA has a +19.9 scoring margin ... Each of the Wildcats last six wins have each come by 20 points or more and in those games, the team has shot a combined .520 percent (183-of-352) from the field.
The Rankings: UA fell to No. 9 in the current Associated Press poll and rose to No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Arizona opened the year as the nations top-ranked team in the media and coaches polls. Incidentally, UA has been ranked in the AP top 25 for 107 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 234 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 630-224 (.738) and 438-132 (.768)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (246) in history, trailing UCLAs John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon States Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washingtons Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47)... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 18-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 16 years in a row, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 26)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times (1986, 88, 89, 93, 94, 98), the Big 10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & 81) and directed the UA program to the nations best winning percentage over the past 13 years... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 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 269-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 197 of its last 208 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention, Jay John and undergraduate assistant Josh Pastner. Olson is 31-6 vs. Oregon State.
Last Time Out: Arizona used a 17-2 run to open the second half to extend an 11-point Wildcat lead at the break to 26 in last Wednesdays 88-58 win at Arizona State. Led by Gilbert Arenas, Arizona shot 54 percent in the second half and outscored ASU, 54-33. Arenas hit all six of his field goal attempts and scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. UA outboarded ASU and held a 36-14 advantage at the free throw line. Michael Wright collected a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Scouting Oregon State: The Beavers enter play on Thursday with a 10-17 record (4-11 Pac-10) after Saturday's 68-65 overtime loss to UCLA. OSU has split its last four games, including a 67-52 win over USC a week ago. On the season, Oregon State leads the Pac-10 with 200 three-point field goals and averages 62.3 points per game. Individually, Jason Heide leads the team with a 13.8 points per game scoring average and a 5.4 rebounds per game average. He is one of three Beavers to average in double figures.
The Series: Tonights game is the 50th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 34-15 series advantage. Arizona has won 20 of the last 23 meetings, including a 68-41 win in Corvallis on Feb. 3. Arizona is 18-5 in series games played in Tucson, 14-10 in Corvallis and 2-0 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Michael Wright collected his second consecutive double-double and UA put forth a strong defensive effort in the 68-41 win over Oregon State on Feb. 3. Wright was one of four Cats to finish in double figures and his 11 boards led to a 38-19 rebound advantage. Arizona held OSU scoreless for the first 10:21 and limited the Beavers to just 31.8 percent shooting. The Wildcats blistered the nets for 77.3 percent shooting in the second half and outscored OSU 44-23. Freshman Travis Hanour scored a career-high 11 points in the win.
Still Rolling: Arenas scored a game-high 22 points in the 88-58 win over Arizona State to mark his third consecutive 20-point game. He scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half on 6-of-6 shooting, despite playing just 11 minutes in the second stanza. For the game, Arenas connected on 7-of-11 field goals and added two assists and two steals in 25 total minutes. The effort raised his field goal percentage in Pac-10 play to .525 (85-of-162), including .479 (34-of-71) from three-point range. He now leads UA in scoring with a 16.6 points per game average.
Streaking: Gilbert Arenas' 79 points over the last three games is the highest three-game total for a UA player since Jason Terry scored 83 in a three-game stretch vs. Stanford, California and Washington (Jan. 28-Feb. 4) in 1998-99.
Doubling Up: Michael Wright collected his eighth double-double of the year with a 15-point, 12-rebound effort vs. Arizona State, a figure that ties him for second in the Pac-10 this season. For his career, Wright leads all active Pac-10 players with 33 double-doubles.
Making It Hard To Score: The Wildcat defense continues to do a good job of contesting shots. In Wednesday's win, Arizona held ASU to just .294 shooting in the second half and .333 for the game. It was the 14th time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting, including nine times in league play.
Barely Denting the Scoreboard: The UA defense also limited ASU to just 58 points, marking the ninth time the Cats have held an opponent to less than 60 points. In conference play, Arizona leads the Pac-10 with a 64.4 ppg scoring defense mark.
Free Throw Advantage: Arizona was able to convert 32 ASU fouls on Wednesday into 47 free throw attempts. The Wildcats connected on 36 of those attempts and carried a +22 scoring advantage from the line. It was the fourth time this season that the team has made 30 or more free throws in a game.
A Rebounding Note: Led by Michael Wright's 12 rebounds Wednesday, Arizona was able to post a 38-37 rebound advantage. On the year, Arizona is 15-3 when outrebounding the opposition.
Deep Threat: Senior Justin Wessel has picked it up offensively of late, averaging 5.3 points over his last four games. In Wednesday's win, Wessel hit both FG attempts, including his fourth career trey. In knocking one down from behind the arc, it was his first three-point field goal since Jan. 28, 1999, vs. Stanford, a span of 70 games.
Second Half Simmer: Echoing a common theme in Pac-10 play, the UA got off to a slow start in Wednesday's win and rebounded with solid shooting in the second half to pull away. After opening the game 8-for-20 (.400), the Cats shot 15-of-28 (.536) in the second to raise its FG percentage to .479 for the game. The Wildcats have shot better than 47 percent from the floor in nine of its last 13 games.
An Uprising: Arizona has won its last two road games by a combined 74 points, the highest back-to-back road winning margin in the Lute Olson era. Interestingly, though, that figure ranks fourth in school history (see list below). The school record came in 1920-21 when "Pop" McKale's team won a pair of games at New Mexico Tech by a combined 125 points. The 1920-21 Wildcats went 7-0 that season and won its games by an average of 39.6 points, including a +39.4 margin in five road games.
125 - UA 75-11 at New Mexico Tech; UA 74-13 at New Mexico Tech, 1920-21
109 - UA 64-15 at New Mexico Tech; UA 77-17 at New Mexico Tech, 1923-24
85 - UA 42-24 at Pomona; UA 92-25 at Yuma Independent, 1932-33
74 - UA 105-61 at USC (2/17/01); UA 88-58 at Arizona State (2/21/01), 2000-01
73 - UA 110-71 at UW (12/20/87); UA 89-56 at WSU (12/22/87), 1987-88
72 - UA 74-51 at UTEP; UA 86-37 at New Mexico State, 1946-47
Helping Out: Luke Walton continues to prove himself as one of the Pac-10's best assist men. Despite playing just 19 minutes on Wednesday at Arizona State, Walton passed out a team-high four assists with just one turnover. On the season, Walton ranks second on the team with 88 assists and a 2.04 assist:turnover ratio. He also ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with that assist:turnover ratio.
Offensive Weapon: Eugene Edgerson collected his third double-figure scoring game of the season with 12 points at ASU. Two of his three double-figure efforts came in the month of February after opening the season with a 13-point effort vs. Chaminade.
League Leader: Led by Loren Woods' four blocked shots, Arizona collected six blocks as a team in Wednesday's win. It equaled the third-highest total of the year. Woods leads the Pac-10 with a 2.78 blocks per game average.
Take Note: One more win this season would give Arizona its 14th straight 20-win season and the 23rd in school history.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 13-0 when scoring 80 points and 6-7 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 41-3 (.932) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in nine of its last 13 games and is averaging 82.4 points over that span.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 15th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,358 points. Just ahead of Wright in 14th place is Joe Nehls (1976-80) with 1,409 points.
Olson Honors: UA head coach Lute Olson will be given the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching award. The award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999, and recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Woodens high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. Olson will be honored at the 25th annual John R. Wooden Awards program.
Farewell, Bobbi: A special memorial fund has been established in Bobbi Olson's name at the Arizona Cancer Center, where she had undergone treatment since her illness was diagnosed in June 1998. Contributions can be made payable to the Arizona Cancer Center/UAF and mailed to Arizona Cancer Center Development, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724-5013.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five players to National Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period: Wil Bynum (5-10, 170, G, Chicago, Ill./Crane Tech Prep), Channing Frye (6-10, 230, C, Phoenix, Ariz./St. Marys H.S.), Isaiah Fox (6-9, 255, C, Santa Monica, Calif./Crossroads H.S.), Dennis Latimore (6-8, 230, F, Halsted, Kan./Halsted H.S.) and Salim Stoudamire (6-2, 175, G, Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego H.S.). It was ranked as the ninth-best recruiting class in the nation by Clark Francis Hoop Scoop magazine.
TV/Radio Information: The Lute Olson television show airs every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on KTTU-TV, channel 18. Additionally, the Lute Olson radio show is broadcast live every Tuesday on Newsradio 790 KNST at 6 p.m. All Arizona basketball games are broadcast live on the Wildcat Radio Network, which consists of 13 affiliates in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. KNST Newsradio 790 in Tucson serves as the flagship, while network participants include: KOY (Phoenix), KTAN (Sierra Vista), KVNA (Flagstaff), KDAP (Douglas), KWRQ (Safford), KZUA (Holbrook/Show Low), KJAA (Globe), KNOT (Prescott), KBLU (Yuma), KINO (Winslow), KRLV (Las Vegas, Nev.) and XENY (Nogales, Sonora). All UA games are live on the internet at broadcast.com.
Up Next: Arizona honors the Class of 2001 at Senior Night, the final home game of the year. The Wildcats play host to Oregon at 6 p.m. MST with the game televised on Fox Sports Net Arizona.