Nov. 4, 2009
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: UA All-Access (Webcast only)
GAME DATA: Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the exhibition portion of the 2009-10 schedule by hosting Augustana College (0-0) Wednesday in McKale Center ... Augustana is an NCAA Division II institution located in Sioux Falls, S.D. ... Last year, the Vikings posted a 21-10 record ... Since the NCAA rule change regarding exhibition games four years ago, Arizona has played three Canadian teams (U. of Alberta, U. of Victoria and Concordia), one from Texas (Incarnate Word) and one California team (Sonoma State) twice ... The Wildcats return to action in another exhibition tilt on Tuesday, Nov. 10, against Western New Mexico. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona starts the season unranked in both preseason polls for just the third time in the last 23 seasons. The Cats closed the 2008-09 campaign ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . begins his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 120-47 (.719) ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of its conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 16 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 40, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford.
LAST TIME OUT: Top-seeded Louisville scored the game's first four points and never looked back as the Cardinals raced to a 103-64 win in the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal in Indianapolis. The loss was the worst for Arizona in NCAA Tournament history. Louisville shot 57.6 percent from the floor, knocked down 14 treys and placed five players in double figures to stop UA's deepest tournament run since 2005. Chase Budinger led all scorers with 22 points and Jordan Hill and Nic Wise added 14 apiece, but it wasn't enough to match Louisville's depth.
SCOUTING AUGUSTANA: Coached by Tom Billeter, the Vikings return two of its top five scorers from last season's 21-10 club that is picked to finish second in the 2009-10 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Leading the way is 6-foot-5 senior guard David Foster, who averaged 12.5 points and 3.1 rebounds a year ago. The native of Big Timber, Mont., connected on 63 treys and shot 38.9 percent from three-point range in 2008-09. Cody Schilling, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard from Ellsworth, Minn., averaged 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.6 percent (116-of-225) from the field. The Vikings out shot (.470-.420) and outrebounded (36.6-32.9) opponents last year and saw eight players average better than 8.3 ppg or better en route to an average of 76.9 ppg as a team.
HELLO OLD FRIEND, AGAIN: For the second year in a row, one of Arizona's exhibition foes is coached by a former UA assistant coach. Current Augustana head coach Tom Billeter was a Wildcat assistant under Lute Olson from 1985-87, helping the Cats to its first Pac-10 tile in 1986 and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. Now in his seventh season at Augustana, Billeter has an 85-88 record at the school and a 182-138 career record in 11 years as a head coach. Last season, Incarnate Word was led by Ken Burmeister, who also served under Olson.
BALANCED: Sean Miller's teams have long been known for a balanced approach to piling up points, and Sunday was no different as a total of seven players finished in double figures in what turned out to be a 69-68 finish. The 68.5 point average in the 32-minute exhibition would amount to an 86-point output in a standard 40-minute affair.
ON TARGET: In what was Arizona's first public appearance last Sunday at the Red-Blue game, both sides connected on a cumulative 50-of-105 field goal attempts, good for a respectable 47.6 percent. The numbers were about as respectable from long range, as the Cats combined to hit 10-of-27 three-point attempts (.370). Freshman Kyryl Natyazhko led the way individually, connecting on 7-of-13 attempts (.538).
STANDING TALL: Junior forward Jamelle Horne put forth nice effort Sunday, connecting on 8-of-13 field goal attempts en route to 17 points to go with nine boards, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes of action. Last season, the 6-foot-7 native of San Diego, Calif., averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds.
NEW AND IMPROVED: It's been said many times by many coaches: players make the most improvement between their freshman and sophomore seasons. If one preseason exhibition can be an indication, sophomore Brendon Lavender certainly has returned a better ballplayer. The 6-foot-5 guard from Mesa, Ariz., nearly matched his 2008-09 season total (18 points) in the Red-Blue game, finishing with 13 points, four assists and zero turnovers in 29 minutes. Lavender, who Sean Miller has called UA's best outside shooter, hit 4-of-7 FG attempts, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc.
AS STEADY AS EVER: Guard Kyle Fogg played his way into Pac-10 honorable mention all-freshman honors a year ago by being nothing if not steady. The 6-foot-3 sophomore continued that trend in the Red-Blue game by posting 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. He connected on 2-of-3 three-point attempts and all three free throws on the way to a double-figure effort.
BACK AT IT: In what was his first McKale Center appearance since Jan. 31, Garland Judkins responded with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go with three boards, four assists and two steals. The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Humble, Texas, missed the last 11 games of the season due to a suspension. He made 18 appearances (4 starts) as a freshman, averaging 2.4 points per game.
FRESHMAN PHENOMS: Much has been made of Coach Miller's five-man recruiting class, all landed in roughly 90 days, and its impact on this year's roster. The quintet - Solomon Hill, Lamont Jones, Kyryl Natyazhko, Kevin Parrom and Derrick Williams - made a solid statement in their McKale Center debut, combining for 74 points and 22 rebounds, while shooting 27-of-62 (.435) from the field.
WORTH MENTIONING: Though he finished with only two points, sophomore forward D.J. Shumpert finished with a team-high six assists against no turnovers to go with five rebounds, a block and a steal in 27 minutes.
TAKE NOTE: Senior guard Nic Wise has earned a bit of preseason recognition, as the 5-foot-10 product of Houston, Texas, was named to the preseason watch lists for both the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, each of which is given to college basketball's player of the year. Arizona's most experienced player averaged 15.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game last season.
CONTINUING TO PRODUCE: With the 2009-10 National Basketball Association regular season underway, no fewer than 10 former Arizona Wildcats were on the opening day NBA rosters. That figure is tied for fifth place nationally in terms of production. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Jerryd Bayless, Portland TrailBlazers; Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks; Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets; Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns; Jordan Hill, New York Knicks; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, San Antonio Spurs; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks and Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers. There have been at least eight former Wildcats in the NBA in each of the last 10 seasons with 10 or more in seven of those campaigns.
MORE UA CONNECTIONS TO THE LEAGUE: Arizona's 10 former players in the Association helped the Pac-10 tally 50 active NBA players, a figure that ranks third nationally behind the Big East (55) and Atlantic Coast Conferences (53). Additionally, the Pac-10's average of 5.0 alums per member institution was tops nationally. Here is look at the breakdown by conference: 1.) Big East, 55; 2.) Atlantic Coast, 53; 3.) Pac-10, 50; 4.) Southeastern, 40; 5.) Big 12, 36; 6.) Big Ten, 32.
PAC-10 PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in this season's Pac-10 race. The Wildcats received 221 points (see chart at left), trailing California, Washington and UCLA. It's the third consecutive year that UA has been tabbed fourth. On a historical note, Arizona has been the preseason favorite 11 times in the last 20 years.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats host Western New Mexico in its final exhibition tune-up in 2009-10. The contest is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, and will tip-off at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be webcast only through the All-Access feature at www.arizonawildcats.com.