Game 24: No. 8 Arizona (17-6, 9-2) at No. 24 UCLA (15-6, 8-2)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 15, 2001
Time: 8:30 p.m. MST
Location: Pauley Pavilion (12,800), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: No. 8 Arizona (17-6, 9-2 Pac-10) hits the road for two key Pac-10 games, beginning with No. 24 UCLA (15-6, 8-2 Pac-10) ... Starting with the UCLA game, five of Arizonas last seven games are on the road ... The Wildcats are 2-2 in true road games this season, 2-1 in league play ... Since 1995-96, Arizona is 34-9 (.791) in the month of February ... Arizona is 3-3 this season against ranked teams and has won its last two ... In the second half of Arizonas last three games, the team is shooting 64.1 percent (50-of-78) from the floor and has outscored the opposition, 126-83, an average margin of +10.7.
The Rankings: UA jumped to No. 8 in the current Associated Press poll and 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 105 consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the nation. The Cats have been ranked in 232 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 628-223 (.738) and 436-131 (.769)... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona last year and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (244) 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 21-16 vs. UCLA.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats shot a season-best 60.3 percent from the floor and handed out a season-high 30 assists in defeating the Cougars for the 32nd straight time, 86-51, last Saturday. Loren Woods posted 18 points, six boards, five assists and four blocks to lead a strong team effort, as 10 of 12 players to see action scored points. Once again, the UA defense was solid, limiting WSU to just 34.0 percent shooting and outrebounding them, 43-20.
Scouting UCLA: No. 24 UCLA jumped back into the Associated Press Top 25 after winning five f its last six games, including a 94-88 win at DePaul on Saturday. The Bruins, who are averaging 80.9 points per game, have averaged 86 points in its current three-game win streak. UCLA shoots 45.5 percent from the floor and force 18.2 turnovers per game. Individually, all-Pac-10 performer Jason Kapono leads the squad with an 18.1 ppg average, one of four Bruins to average in double figures. Dan Gadzuric leads UCLA with a 7.9 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Tonights game is the 59th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 35-24 series advantage. Arizona has won six of the last seven meetings, including an 88-63 win in Tucson on Jan. 20. Arizona is 15-8 in series games played in Tucson, 8-25 in Los Angeles and 1-2 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: It took a total team effort for Arizona to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and race to the 88-63 win over UCLA on Jan. 20. Bolstered by a 22-4 run early in the second half, UA outscored UCLA, 55-22, after the break to claim its fourth straight win. Five different players scored in the decisive run, including 11 by Gilbert Arenas. He was one of five Wildcat players to finish in double figures and led all scorers with 22 points. Arizona shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half, 33.4 percent better than UCLA.
Heating Up: Loren Woods led the Wildcats to a pair of wins last week by averaging 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. In the two games, Woods also connected on 63.2 percent of his field goal attempts (12-of-19) and added six assists. He opened the week by hitting 4-of-7 shots to finish with 10 points and added three blocks. In Thursdays game he also reached 1,000 career points. Woods put forth one of his finest all-around games of the year in Saturdays game by posting 18 points, six boards, five assists and four blocks. He hit 8-of-12 shots from the floor in the effort and equaled a career high with the five assists. He raised his season averages to 13.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, a figure that leads the Pac-10.
A Finalist: Junior forward Michael Wright was selected as one of the top 15 contenders for the 2000-01 Naismith Player of the Year. Wright, who is averaging 16.6 points and 8.5 rebounds, is joined on the list by (in alphabetical order): Shane Battier (Duke), Charlie Bell (Michigan State), Troy Bell (Boston College), Michael Bradley (Villanova), Jarron Collins (Stanford), Joseph Forte (North Carolina), Eddie Griffin (Seton Hall), Brendan Haywood (North Carolina), Casey Jacobson (Stanford), Terence Morris (Maryland), Troy Murphy (Notre Dame), Jason Richardson (Michigan State), Jamaal Tinsley (Iowa State) and Jason Williams (Duke). The winner will be announced at the Naismith Awards Banquet in Atlanta, Ga., on April 7.
Getting Defensive: The Arizona defense limited two opponents this week to an average of 56.5 points and 37.2 percent shooting (41-of-110). In Saturdays win over Washington State, UA held the Cougars to just 51 points and 34.0 percent shooting, the eighth time this season the squad has held an opponent to 60 points or less and the 12th time with under 40 percent shooting. On the year, UA opponents are averaging 65.7 points and 39.4 percent shooting.
Deadeye: Arizona shot a season-best 60.3 percent (35-of-58) in Saturdays win over Washington State. Included in the effort was 65.0 percent (13-of-20) shooting in the second half. The last time UA shot 60 percent or better from the field came almost one year earlier on Feb. 12, 2000, in a 73-50 win over Washington State in Pullman.
Assisting the Cause: Arizona tallied a team and Pac-10 high 30 assists in Saturdays win. All told, the Wildcats tallied those 30 assists in scoring 35 field goals, an 86 percent conversion rate. Arizona has tallied 70 assists over the last three games (all wins), including no less than 20 in either contest. The Cats +18 assist margin on Saturday (30 ast./12 to) was the teams best of the season.
Unselfish Play: In posting a season-high 30 assists on Saturday, five UA players set or equaled season or career highs in the stat column. Gilbert Arenas (6), Loren Woods (5), and Travis Hanour (3) set career highs in the assist category, while Luke Walton (6) and Michael Wright (1) equaled season highs. Incidentally, Walton totaled 11 assists (with just three turnovers) in 34 minutes this week. He has a 2.03 assist:turnover ratio this season.
Doing His Job: Point guard Jason Gardner posted 13 assists and three turnovers in two games this week. Included in the effort was a six-assist, no-turnover performance vs. Washington State. It was his third zero-turnover game of the season when playing more than 20 minutes. He leads the Wildcats with a 4.3 assist per game average and 2.22 assist:turnover ratio.
On A Roll: In his last four games, Michael Wright is averaging 17.0 points and 10.8 rebounds. He also collected double-doubles in three straight games prior to WSU and now has seven on the season and 32 for his career.
Holding Em Down: Richard Jefferson, who tallied 10 points and three assists on Saturday, continued his string of solid defensive performances by holding Washington States Mike Bush to a season-low two points. Bush entered the game averaging 18.7 points per game, one of the top scorers in the Pac-10.
In the Last 10: Over the last 10 games, Arizona has displayed outstanding play on both ends of the court. The Cats are shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and averaging 80.1 points and 17.5 assists. Perhaps more importantly, UA is limiting the opposition to just 35.5 percent shooting and 59.6 points. In posting a 9-1 record in that span, Arizona has a +20.5 scoring margin.
Streaking: No player has been hotter over the last 10 games than Gilbert Arenas. He is averaging 17.1 point per game and shooting 53.6 percent (60-of-112) of his field goal attempts, including 48.9 percent (22-of-45) from three-point range. Arenas is also averaging 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He has led the team in scoring in six of the last 10 games.
On the Glass: Arizona enjoyed a 43-20 rebound advantage in Saturdays win. It marked the fourth time this season that the Cats have posted +20 rebound advantage this year. It was also the third time the squad had limited an opponent to 20 rebounds or less. On the year, Arizona ranks third in the Pac-10 with a +6.0 rebound margin.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success than the 80-point mark. This season, Arizona is 11-0 when scoring 80 points and 6-6 when it does not. Over the last three seasons, UA is 39-3 (.929) when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona has scored at least 80 points in seven of its last 10 games.
Continuing his Climb: Michael Wright currently stands in 17th place on UA's career scoring list with 1,312 points. Just ahead of Wright in 16th place is Frank Smith (1980-83) with 1,329 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 takes on USC on Saturday, Feb. 17, at noon MST. The game will be televised by CBS-TV.