Feb. 14, 2003
Date: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003
Time: 11 a.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: CBS (Vrene Lundquist/Billy Packer)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (19-2, 11-1 Pac-10) hosts USC (10-10, 5-6 Pac-10) in a key conference game Saturday ... Following today's contest, Arizona hits the road for its next three games ... Only two of the last 12 series meetings in McKale Center have been decided by less than 10 points ... A win today would give Arizona is first 4-0 record against the Southern California schools in one season since 1992-93 ... In Thursday's win all 13 players on the roster scored, a season first ... Today's game is Arizona's 10th national television appearance of the season.
The Rankings: Arizona returned to the top spot in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls after spending last week in the No. 2 position. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in nine of 14 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 265 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 20th season at Arizona and his 30th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 682-237 (.742) and 490-145 (.772) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the third-most Pac-10 wins (273) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) and Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.780/273-77) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 20-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won nine Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 18 years in a row, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27)... 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 Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & '81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 15 years (401-97/.805) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 45 NBA Draft picks, including 26 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 15 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 24 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 24 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 291-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 219 of its last 234 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 33-10 against USC, including a 18-1 mark at McKale Center.
Last Time Out: Arizona used a 16-0 run to open the second half and quickly turned an 11-point lead into what became a 106-70 victory Thursday over UCLA. Andre Iguodala scored a career-high 18 points and led a team effort that saw UA shoot 58.3 percent, force 15 UCLA turnovers and outscore the Bruins, 61-36 in the second half. Arizona topped the century mark for the first time since the first two games of the season and connected on better than 50 percent of its three-point attempts.
Scouting USC: The Trojans (10-10, 5-6 Pac-10) enter Saturday's game looking to get back in the win column after a 108-78 loss at Arizona State Thursday snapped a season-long three-game win streak. Aside from Desmon Farmer's game-high 29 points, there weren't many positives for USC on Thursday, as ASU shot 60 percent from the filed, posted a +14 rebound margin and led by as many as 34 points. On the season USC shoots 43.0 percent from the field in averaging 77.3 points per game, 0.2 points per game more than the opposition. Individually, Farmer leads the club with an 18.2 points per game average.
The Series: Today's game marks the 80th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 47-32 series advantage. Arizona has won eight of the last 10 games in the series, which dates back to 1922, including an 81-72 decision in Los Angeles on Jan. 16. The Wildcats have won 17 straight home games in the series. All-time, Arizona is 23-8 in series games played in Tucson, 22-24 in Los Angeles and 2-0 in neutral-site games. See page 125 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 81, USC 72, Jan. 16, 2003: Five Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Hassan Adams' 21 points, as Arizona erased an 11-point deficit in the nine-point win. Led by Desmon Farmer, who tallied 20 first half points, USC jumped out to a quick 15-4 lead and led 62-53 with 14:17 remaining before Arizona went on a 19-4 run over the next 6:39 to take control. The Cats held the Trojans to just 28.9 percent shooting and outrebounded USC, 30-16 after the break. Luke Walton posted his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Jason Gardner chipped in with a career-high 10 boards.
Where's the Defense: A high-scoring affair could be expected, as theses two clubs have combined to average 166.2 points over the last five meetings. In those five games, the winning team has averaged 91.6 points, including an average winning margin of 17.0 points, and has tallied at least 81 points in each of those tilts.
A Win Today . . . would be Arizona's 20th of the season, which would extend the program's streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins. That is the longest active streak in the nation. It would be the school's 26th 20-win season and the 25th in 30 season as a college head coach for Lute Olson. Only Dean Smith (30), Jerry Tarkanian (29), Jim Boeheim (24), Bob Knight (24) and Olson had as many as 24 20-win seasons heading into 2002-03.
The Century Mark: Arizona topped the 100-point plateau for the third time this season in Thursday's 106-70 win. It is the 90th time in school history (53rd in the Olson era) that Arizona has gone over 100 points and the Cats are 86-4 (.956) when accomplishing the feat. The school record for 100-point games in a season is eight set during the 1990-91 campaign.
Not So Close: With a +16.4 scoring margin for the season, one could expect a blowout or two. Thursday's 36-point win marked the sixth time this season that Arizona has won a game by 26 or more points. Of those six victories, three have come by 35 points or more. UA's current +16.4 scoring margin wouldn't make the school's top five in the record book. The school record for scoring margin in a season is 20.9 ppg in 1987-88.
A Good Start: A 16-0 run in the opening 3:42 of the second half definitely kick started a second half that saw Arizona score 61 points in the final 20 minutes, its highest output in any half this season. Arizona shot a season-best .583 (21-of-36) in the second half and tallied 13 assists on 21 second-half field goals.
Defensive Mindset: Not only did Arizona get things done offensively in Thursday's win, but it also was a force defensively as well. Two numbers of note from the boxscore that indicate a bit more defensive effort: 15 and 8. Arizona forced 15 UCLA turnovers in the second half and limited the Bruins to just eight offensive rebounds for the game. UA turned 19 UCLA turnovers into 33 points, 28 in the second half alone.
Take Good Care: The Wildcats passed out 20 assists Thursday against UCLA and limited themselves to just nine turnovers. It was the fourth time this season that UA has committed less than 10 turnovers in the game. Incidentally, Arizona has collected 20 or more assists eight times in 2002-03.
From Behind the Arc: Bolstered by Jason Gardner's 4-of-7 effort Thursday, Arizona shot 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from three-point range. It marked the second time the Wildcats have topped the 50 percent plateau from behind the arc. Over the last seven games, Arizona is shooting .429 (57-of-133) from three-point range, 10 percent better than its season percentage.
To the Forefront: Freshman Andre Iguodala definitely stepped forward Thursday with an 18-point, five-rebound performance. Since his debut, the 6-foot-6 forward has been a presence on the glass and on defense, but Thursday was the first time he led the team in scoring. Iguodala hit 4-of-8 field goals, including both three-point attempts, and was 8-of-8 from the line. It was his fourth double-figure scoring effort of the year.
Dialed In: Salim Stoudamire seems to get more accurate with each passing game, as he is shooting 54.2 percent (58-of-107) from the field over his last 11 games, including 50.8 percent (33-of-65) from three-point range. His 46 treys on the season lead the team, and the improved shooting has boosted his season scoring average to 13.1 points per game.
On the Block: Not only has Channing Frye shown offensive improvement in Pac-10 play, as he is averaging 12.1 points and shooting 57.4 percent from the floor, but his defensive stature is on the rise. In 12 league games, Fyre has 27 blocked shots (2.3 bpg), a figure that ranks second in the league. The Phoenix native has recorded three or more blocks in seven of 12 conference games. He also passed out a season-high two assists in Thursday's win.
Bouncing Back: There is nothing like a few dunks to help break you out of a slump, and that's exactly what happened to hassan Adams. After totaling 20 points in his last four games, Adams responded with 12 points and three rebounds against UCLA. Of his five field goals (in 10 attempts), three were, in fact, dunks.
In Reserve: As Luke Walton stated in postgame interviews Thursday, "They do all the same work we do, but they don't get any of the glory. It's fun to see them get in there and play well." He was speaking of reserves Jason Ranne and Fil Torres, who combined for five points, two assists and a steal in eight minutes of action. In addition to both logging career bests in playing time, it also marked the first time in two seasons together that they both scored in the same game.
Count on Him: Sophomore Isaiah Fox continues to be one of Arizona's most reliable rebounders. Against the Bruins, Fox grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes and is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game. All told, Fox has grabbed five or more rebounds in a game nine times in 2002-03.
Consistent: Rick Anderson is nothing if not consistent. The senior forward with the 10.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game averages always seems to be in the ballpark. Anderson, who has scored in double figures 12 times this season, hasn't scored more than 17 points all season. To further the point, he has 12 games with five or more rebounds, but has only reached double figures twice.
Seeing Progress: Freshman Chris Rodgers tallied seven points in Thursday's win, his second-best offensive output of the season. Rodgers knocked down his third trey of the year and hit 4-of-5 free throws against UCLA. Also worth noting is his two assists and no turnovers in 14 minutes. On the season, the Portland, Ore., native has a 1.69 assist:turnover ratio, which is second-best on the squad (Gardner, 1.74).
Another Milestone: Jason Gardner enters Saturday's game just three treys shy of 300 for his career. If he does reach the milestone, he would become the first Arizona player and just the second player in Pac-10 history to accomplish the feat. Arizona State's Stevin Smith made 323 career three-point field goals from 1991-94.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 76-7 (.916) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats were 16-4 last season when scoring at least 80 points.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Ndudi Ebi (F, 6-8, 192) from Houston, Texas, Westbury Christian High School, Mustafa Shakur (G, 6-3, 175) from Wynnewood, Pa., Friends Central High School and Kirk Walters (C, 6-10, 210) from Grand Rapids, Mich., South Christian High School will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Arizona gets a much-appreciated six days off before starting a three-game road trip. The Wildcats travel to Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday, Feb. 22, to take on in-state rival Arizona State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen on Fox Sports Net Arizona.