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WSU Notes 1/22/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/22/2008
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Game 19:? ? Arizona (12-6, 2-3) vs. No. 6 Washington State (16-1, 4-1)

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Date: ? Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

Time: ? 6:30 p.m. MST

Location: ? Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.

Radio: ? Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

TV: ? FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

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Game Data: ? Arizona (12-6, 2-3 Pac-10) returns home to face No. 6 Washington State (16-1, 4-1 Pac-10) Thursday in McKale Center ... Itˇ?s the Wildcatsˇ? first home game in 19 days ... Pay attention to shooting percentage in this game as Washington State leads the Pac-10 with a .501 field goal percentage, while UA ranks seventh in the league in field goal percentage defense at .427.

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The Rankings: ? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the second consecutive.? For the season, the Wildcats have been ranked in either or both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coachesˇ? Top 25 polls in eight of 12 polling periods this season.

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Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . ? will begin his 25th season at Arizona and his 35th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 780-280 (.736) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona upon his return from a leave of absence, which was announced on Nov. 4 ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... Olson recorded his 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizonaˇ?s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLAˇ?s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles)?... During his 24-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 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ˇ®89, ˇ®90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons, 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 seven times (1986, ˇ®88, ˇ®89, ˇ®93, ˇ®94, ˇ®98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ˇ®81) and directed the UA program to the nationˇ?s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona ?C 25 alone since 1990 ... Heˇ?s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons...?Under Olson, the Cats are 344-40 (.896) in McKale Center and have won 272 of its last 296 home games ... He is assisted by Kevin Oˇ?Neill, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.

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Last Time out: ? Arizona managed to maintain it composure and capitalized on opportunities late in the contest to pick up a much-needed victory, 79-75, Saturday at California.? Trailing by six points with 6:21 remaining, Arizona went on a 21-11 run to close the game, forcing five California turnovers and connecting on 13-of-15 free throws of its own during the run.? For the game, Arizona held an 18-4 advantage in points off turnovers.? Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger each scored more than 20 points and Nic Wise scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half.

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Scouting Washington State: ? The No. 6 Cougars enter play Thursday with a 16-1 record (4-1 Pac-10) following Sundayˇ?s 69-60 win over Oregon.? Through 17 games, WSU averages 69.2 points per game, shoots 50.1 percent (412-of-822), and posts a +2.8 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 39.8 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 16.6 points per game.? Individually, three Cougars average in double figures, led by Derrick Low, who averages 14.4 points? per game.? Aron Baynes leads Washington State with a 6.4 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Tonightˇ?s game is the 62nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 48-13 series advantage. Arizona has won 41 of the last 44 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 22, 1959, but the Cougars claimed the last one, 72-66 on Feb. 1, 2007, in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 23-7 in series games played in Tucson, 20-6 in Pullman, Wash., and 5-0 in neutral-site games.? See page 102 of the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ??Washington State 72, Arizona 66, Feb 1, 2007: ? Arizona fought back from an eight-point deficit and took a one-point lead only to surrender a decisive 8-0 run late in the second half as Washington State claimed a 72-66 win.? The Cougars shot 50.9 percent from the field, including 50 percent from three-point range in earning its first sweep over Arizona since 1983.? Daven Harmelingˇ?s trey with 19 seconds to go iced the win.? UAˇ?s Chase Budinger led all scorers with 19 points.

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A Different Look on the Sidelines: ? Prior to the Nov. 4 exhibition game, it was announced that UA head coach Lute Olson would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter.? It was announced on Dec. 7 that Olson would not return this season.? During this period, assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill will handle the head coaching responsibilities.? Oˇ?Neill, who was tabbed as Olsonˇ?s successor on Dec. 18, has 11 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I head coach, where he compiled a 152-165 (.479) record while at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern. Oˇ?Neill spent the last seven seasons in NBA circles.? During Olsonˇ?s leave of absence all games will be credited to Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching record.

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Against Ranked Clubs: ? Arizona faces a Washington State club that enters the game ranked sixth nationally.? On the season, Arizona is 1-2 against ranked teams and that lone win came at home against No. 9 Texas A&M (78-67 on Dec. 2).? Interestingly, all three games Arizona has played to date have come against top-10 opponents (No. 4 Kansas and No. 2 Memphis).? 67-87 (.435) against top-10-ranked teams, including a 6-13 mark against the nationˇ?s sixth-ranked team.? The last time Arizona faced the No. 6 team in the country came on March 24, 2005, in a 79-78 win over Oklahoma State in the NCAA Chicago Regional semifinal.? All-time, Arizona is 48-36 (.571) against ranked teams at home.

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Take Note: ? Thanks to the Cougs, Thursdayˇ?s game represents the 40th game between the Cats and Cougars since 1987-88 where one team or the other has been ranked in the polls. Only two games in the series, those played in 2005-06, failed to have a ranked squad. A year ago, UA was No. 10 in the AP poll before its overtime loss at Pullman on Jan. 6, while the Cougars came into Tucson to play an unranked Wildcats squad but brought their own No. 18 badge.

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Providing a Spark: ? In two games last week, Nic Wise averaged 14.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in helping the Wildcats split a pair of league road games.? The sophomore from Houston, Texas, shot 52.9 percent from the field (9-of-17), and 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from three-point range to go with six steals.? He opened the week with 13 points (5-of-10 FG), four assists and four steals in a game-high 39 minutes at Stanford.? He followed? that up with 15 points (3-of-5 3FG), a career-high seven rebounds and three assists.? He scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, as Arizona rallied for the win, including 3-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds.? It was also his seventh game in double figures this season.? On the year, Wise averages 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

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Scoring 80: ? Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 166-19 (.897) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.? Arizona is 4-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.

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They donˇ?t call them free for nothing : ? In its six losses, Arizona made fewer free throws than all but one opponent. That was a home game against Oregon, where UA hit 11-of-15 from the charity stripe while the Ducks (who clicked at 60 percent from the floor anyway) made 8-of-12.? At Stanford UA had more FT attempts (6-13) than the Cardinal, but the home team shot better (9-11). Getting to the line ˇ? and its underlying aggression of taking it to the hole ˇ? has been a helpful key for UA.

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More on Nic: ? Nic Wise was a bucket shy of his career high in the victory at Cal, with 15 points ˇ? in only 19 minutes of play. He was banged on the head during a play at the end of the first half, feared out of action completely, but later re-entered with 10:32 remaining in the game and Arizona trailing by five. His 11 points in that final stretch of play proved pivotal. His 28 points on the road swing were nearly double his season average of 8.1 ppg, but more indicative of a trend in his scoring. He has six double-figures games in the last eight and has hit at a 12.3 ppg rate in those contests. Through the first 10 games of the year his scoring average was 4.8.

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Two Topping 20: ? Arizona has had only three games with two players scoring 20 points or more, and won all three games. Last week it was Jerryd Bayless with 24 and Chase Budinger with 21 at California.? A few weeks ago Budinger and Jordan Hill notched 20 apiece against Oregon State, Jan. 3, in Tucson. On Dec. 8, Hill had his monster game of 23 points (and 14 boards) against Illinois in Chicago, while Bayless added 20.

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Close Calls: ? Arizona improved to 2-4 in narrow decisions with the victory at California ˇ? games decided by five points or less. On the one hand, itˇ?s worthy to note Arizona appears to be in just about every game it plays; on the other, itˇ?s tough to swallow some of the losses.? Arizonaˇ?s last three conference games (all on the road) have all been decided by five points or less.? UA had late leads in each and only came away with one victory.

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On the Rebound: ? Arizona was bombed on the boards at California, suffering its worst deficit (12 boards, 32-20) of the season. UAˇ?s top rebounder in the game was its shortest guy, guard Nic Wise, who collected a career-high seven. The clubˇ?s top rebounder, Jordan Hill, had four. On the season the Cats hold a slim +1.2 rebound margin.?? In case you? wondered, the last time Arizona grabbed just 20 rebounds and won came on Jan. 4, 2007, in a 96-87 win at Washington.? In that contest, while Washington outrebounded Arizona, 28-20, the teams combined to shoot .586 (68-of-116) from the field and .879 (29-of-33) from the line ˇ? so there werenˇ?t many rebounds to be had in that particular contest.

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The Start of Something Good: ? Arizona hit a season-high 11 three-pointers at California in its last game (11-for-27), eclipsing the previous highs of a 10-for-21 mark at Kansas. The percentage at Haas Pavilion was UAˇ?s best in the last five games. Ironically, one three-point attempt by Jerryd Bayless didnˇ?t go in, but he was fouled and made all three bonus shots to cut into the last Cal meaningful lead (of five points, 64-59) with five minutes left. After Bayless made his freebies, the Bears had one other lead of two points. UA turned to the free throw line down the stretch, hitting nine of 10 from the line.

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Honor Among Thieves: ? Chase Budinger had a career-high six steals at Cal to help Arizona win the turnover battle (11 to 17). Since conference play began the Wildcats have had fewer turnovers than opponents in all but one game (at Arizona State). Itˇ?s a piece of the puzzle that could help UA as league play develops. Nice Wise leads the way with 34 thefts, while Budinger doubled his total with eight in the Bay Area to give him the No. 2 figure on the squad at 16.

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Accuracy Helps: ? ? Arizona shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) from the field in Saturdayˇ?s win at California, improving the teamˇ?s record to 8-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better.? Conversely, UA opponents have won three of five games this year when topping the 50 percent plateau against the Wildcats.

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Early Signees: ? The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.? Brandon Jennings (G, 6-0, 170) from Lakewood, Calif., Oak Hill Academy; Brendon Lavender (G, 6-4, 180) from Mesa, Ariz., Mountain View High School;? Emmanuel Negedu (F, 6-7, 230) from Bloomington, Ind., Brewster Academy; Jeff Withey (C, 6-11, 240) from San Diego, Calif., Horizon High School, will join the squad next fall.? According to rivals.com, this class was ranked as the seventh-best nationally.

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Up Next: ? The Wildcats close this two-game homestand Saturday against Washington.? The game is scheduled to tip-off at 1 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.

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