Dec. 9, 2010
Date: Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010
Time: 4 p.m. MST
Location: Energy Solutions Arena (19,911), Salt Lake City, Utah
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: BYUtv (Dave McCann/Andy Toolson)
Game Data: Arizona (8-1, 0-0 Pac-10) heads to Salt Lake City, Utah, to face 18th-ranked BYU (9-0, 0-0 MWC) Saturday in Energy Solutions Arena, the home of the NBA's Utah Jazz ... Saturday's game will be Arizona's fourth game away from Tucson this year, and its third neutral-site game ... Arizona faces a ranked opponent for the second time this season and becomes the fourth Pac-10 team, joining California, UCLA and Washington, to face two nationally ranked foes to date ... The Wildcats average 81.7 points and post a +5.0 rebound margin in its three games away from home in 2010-11 ... This is UA's first trip to Salt Lake City since Dec. 17, 2005, in what was a 73-43 Wildcat win at Utah.
The Rankings: Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Cats started the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 144-63 (.696) and 24-16 (.600) at Arizona ... 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 their 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 17 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, 42, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 1-1 vs. BYU as a head coach.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats endured its worst offensive performance of the season, but still had just enough to earn a 73-62 win Wednesday over Cal State Fullerton. Derrick Williams collected his third double-double of the season (22 pts./10 reb.) and Kevin Parrom equaled a career high with 12 points. Arizona won this game on the glass, collecting 17 offensive rebounds and a +13 rebound margin en route to an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Scouting BYU: The Cougars enter today's game with a 9-0 record (0-0 MWC) following Wednesday's 86-58 win over Vermont in Glens Falls, N.Y. On the season, BYU averages 83.1 points, shoots 45.2 percent from the floor (266-of-589), 34.3 percent (69-of-201) from three-point range and 67.7 percent (147-of-217) from the line. Opponents average 61.3 points, are outrebounded by 4.3 boards per game and shoot 37.5 percent from the floor (194-of-517). Individually, three Cougars average in double-figures, led by Jimmer Fredette's 22.7 ppg average. Noah Hartsock leads BYU with a 6.1 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Today's game is the 39th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 20-18 series advantage. Arizona had won four straight in the series before BYU's 99-69 pasting in Tucson on Dec. 28, 2009. BYU and UA first met on Dec. 1,1951, in Provo, Utah, and met annually from 1963 to 1978 while both were members of the Western Athletic Conference. This is just the fifth meeting since Arizona joined the Pac-10 in 1978. All-time, Arizona is 15-4 in series games played in Tucson, 4-14 in Provo, and 1-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 42 in the UA media guide.
Last Meeting: BYU 99, Arizona 69, Dec. 28, 2009: BYU's Jimmer Fredette put forth a performance to be remembered as he tallied a McKale Center and Fiesta Bowl Classic-record 49 points. Fredette hit 16-of-23 field goal attempts, including 9-of-13 from three-point range, to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. BYU outrebounded UA, 34-28, and converted 19 Arizona miscues into 27 points of its own in what was the Wildcats' worst loss in McKale Center history.
Against the Mountain West: All-time, Arizona is 185-136 (.576) against schools that currently make up the Mountain West Conference. The last time the Cats faced a MWC opponent that wasn't BYU came Dec. 12, 2009, in a 63-46 loss at San Diego State. UA has lost three straight games to MWC opponents. For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.
Against ranked Opponents: Today's game vs. No. 18 BYU is Arizona's second game this season against a nationally ranked foe, following UA's 87-79 loss to No. 6 Kansas on Nov. 27 in Las Vegas. Since the Associated Poll debuted during the 1949 season, Arizona is 126-164 (.434) against all ranked opponents, and the Cats are 7-12 against teams ranked No. 18 at the time of the game. Since taking over at Arizona, Sean Miller is 1-3 against ranked teams. Please see pages 70-72 in the UA media guide for more information.
20-Point games: Derrick Williams notched Arizona's fifth 20-point game this season by registering 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and 9-of-10 shooting from the line. Individually, it was Williams' fourth 20-point game this season, and the 13th of his 40-game career. Williams now shares the Pac-10 lead in that category with Washington State's Klay Thompson. Incidentally, sophomore Solomon Hill is the other Wildcat to register a 20-point game, as he tallied 20 points on Nov. 26 vs. Santa Clara.
Double-Doubles: Arizona's stellar forward also posted his third double-double of the season Wednesday with 20 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday vs. Cal State Fullerton. For Williams, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from La Mirada, Calif., it was the seventh double-double of his career. Interestingly, no other Wildcat has more than eight rebounds in a single game besides Williams this season (Hill).
At the Break: Though Arizona shot a season-low 40 percent from the field (12-of-30) Wednesday, the Cats still managed to hold a 34-24 advantage at the intermission. UA is 8-0 this season when leading at the break. Additionally, Wednesday's 10-point halftime lead marked the squad's sixth double-figure lead in eight such occurrences this season. Against Bethune-Cookman (30-23) and Santa Clara (34-28), the lead was, obviously, single digits.
Something to Work On: In it's last two games, Arizona has witnessed a bit of a lull defensively in the second half. In those two outings, opponents have cumulatively connected on 25-of-45 (.556) field goal attempts and averaged 35 points in the period. Admittedly, UA shot .518 (29-of-56) in that span and averaged 41 points, but the second half shooting by Oklahoma and Cal State Fullerton were the two best efforts by an opponent this season.
It worked out OK in the End: Wednesday night, Arizona shot a season-low .448 (26-of-58) from the field, including its lowest field goal percentage in any half this season in the first period (.400/12-of-30), en route to 73 points, its lowest offensive output this year. Still, the Wildcats prevailed by 11 points, continuing a streak that has seen the club win eight games by 11 or more points and post a +22.9 scoring margin.
On the Glass: In what has become a recurring theme, a team effort on the glass Wednesday gave Arizona a 37-24 rebound advantage over Cal State Fullerton. It marked the eighth time in nine games that UA has won the rebound battle, and more impressively, marked the seventh time this season that the Wildcats have won those battles by 10 or more. Arizona's +11.6 rebound margin leads the Pac-10 and ranks seventh nationally. Arizona has yet to be outrebounded by an opponent in 2010-11.
Second Chances: The driving force behind Arizona's rebound supremacy Wednesday was a season-high 17 offensive rebounds, which led to an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points. On the season, Arizona averaged 12.0 offensive rebounds per game and has collected 10 or more offensive boards in six of nine games. Additionally, Arizona's .419 offensive rebound percentage leads the Pac-10.
Launch Pad: An overreliance on the trey may have been one of the causes of Arizona's season-low .448 field goal percentage Wednesday. Against CSUF, 43 percent of UA's total field goal attempts were from behind the arc (25-of-58), and in the first half when Arizona managed just 40 percent shooting, 47 percent of its attempts (14-of-30) were from long range. Normally, UA connects on a respectable 39.5 percent (81-of-205) of its three-point attempts, but one could suppose that the lesson in Wednesday's 32-percent effort (8-of-25) from behind the arc is to try something different if the shots aren't falling.
Accepting Charity: Led by Derrick Williams' 9-of-10 effort Wednesday, Arizona outscored Cal State Fullerton, 13-7, from the free throw line. On the year, the Wildcats are averaging 18.6 points per game from the charity stripe and outscoring foes by an average of 5.6 points per game. Cumulatively, the squad averages 24.3 free throw attempts per game and connects on 76.7 percent of them (168-of-219).
Production from Everyone: Through nine games, the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 277-129 in bench points this season - or an average of 16.5 ppg (30.8-14.3). UA has outscored eight of the nine opponents (KU, 31-26) to date, and has bettered five opponents by 15 or more points.
Worth Noting: Wednesday vs. Cal State Fullerton, Arizona had two players log 30 or more minutes played, which is a first this season as Derrick Williams (33) and Kyle Fogg (30) set season-highs in minutes played. Prior to Wednesday, only once in the previous eight games had a Wildcat played 30 minutes, Solomon Hill (30) against New Mexico State. To date, no UA player is averaging more than 25.6 minutes per game.
Difference Maker: Sophomore swingman Kevin Parrom connected on 5-of-7 field goals en route to equaling a career high with 12 points. For good measure, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound native of the Bronx, N.Y., equaled season highs with four assists and two steals in 18 minutes played. On the year, Parrom is averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game to go with a .531 field goal percentage and a team-leading 2.1:1 assist:turnover ratio.
Comfort Zone: In three road/neutral-site games this season, senior forward Jamelle Horne is averaging 11.0 points per game and shooting 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from three-point range. In fact, nine of his 17 treys this season have come away from McKale Center, despite playing in three fewer games.
Scoring 80: Arizona scored 83 points Sunday vs. Oklahoma, topping the 80-point plateau for the sixth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 192-19 (.910) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: The Arizona coaching staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letter-of-Intent in the November early signing period. Nick Johnson (G, 6-2, 180) from Gilbert, Ariz., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Sidiki Johnson (F, 6-8, 220) from the Bronx, N.Y, who preps at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.; and Josiah Turner (G, 6-3, 185) from Sacramento, Calif., Sacramento High School; make up a class that was ranked in the top-10 nationally by both espn.com and rivals.com.
Up Next: Following today's game, the Wildcats head back home to face Northern Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic. Tip-off in McKale Center on Thursday, Dec. 16, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on KWBA-TV and FS Arizona.