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First Road Test Awaits Cats Wednesday at Rice
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/29/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 29, 2010

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Date: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
Time: 7 p.m. CST
Location: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750), Houston, Texas
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: CBS College Sports (Roger Twibell/Steve Lappas)

 

Game Data:  Arizona (5-1, 0-0 Pac-10) travels to Houston, Texas, for its first true road game of the season Wednesday at Rice (3-3, 0-0 C-USA) ... The trip to Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse won't be an easy one, as the homestanding Owls have won its three home games by an average of 19.3 points ... Arizona is averaging 80.5 points per game in its two contests away from McKale Center, which is an average of 25.2 points more than Rice is allowing in its home games ... Last Saturday's game against Kansas was the first of the 2010-11 season in which the Wildcats committed more turnovers than the opposition ... Over the previous four seasons, the Wildcats are 3-7 in non-conference road games.

 

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 141-63 (.691) and 21-16 (.566) 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 1-0 vs. Rice as a head coach.

 

Last Time Out:  In a game that belied the first-true-test-of-the-season storylines for both teams, Kansas made the majority of plays both early and late to prevail, 87-79, Saturday in the final game of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational.  The Jayhawks built as much as a 16-point lead midway through the first half before Arizona came all the way back to take as much as a four-point lead of its own in the second period.  KU outscored Arizona 12-7 in the last three minutes, placed six players in double figures and held a 27-15 lead in turnover points to offset a 27-point, eight-rebound performance by Derrick Williams.

 

Scouting Rice:  The Owls enter tonight's game with a 3-3 record (0-0 C-USA) following Saturday's 62-59 loss at Texas.  On the season, Rice averages 68.8 points, shoots 41.9 percent from the floor (144-of-344), 30.7 percent (31-of-101) from three-point range and 79.7 percent (94-of-118) from the line.  Opponents average 60.3 points, are outrebounded by 6.7 boards per game and shoot 37.9 percent from the floor (120-of-317).  Individually, two Owl players average in double-figures, led by Arsalan Kazemi's 14.2 ppg average.  He also leads Rice with an 11.3 rebounds per game average.

 

The Series:  This is the second meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 1-0 advantage,  Arizona won the first-ever get-together last season, 66-49, on Nov. 19  in Tucson.  All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Houston, Texas, and 0-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 44 in the UA media guide.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 66, Rice 49, Nov. 19, 2009:  Four players in double figures proved to be enough to offset an up-and-down defensive effort as Arizona posted a 17-point win.  UA limited Rice to .194 (6-of-31) shooting in the first half and led by as many as 18 points early and 13 at the half before Rice cut the deficit to six points with just over 12 minutes to go. Nic Wise helped UA pull away from there, finishing with a game-high 15 points, seven assists and five steals, while Jamelle Horne, Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams also scored 10 or more points.

 

Against Conference USA:  All-time, Arizona is 77-42 (.489) against schools that currently reside in Conference USA. Prior to last season's game vs. Rice, the last time the Wildcats faced a C-USA club was Jan. 24, 2009, when Arizona defeated Houston, 96-90 (ot), in Tucson.  For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.

 

Leading the Way:  Forward Derrick Williams led Arizona to a 2-1 week by averaging 22.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in Arizona's three games this week.  The sophomore connected on 54.1 percent of his field goals (20-of-37), including 85.7 percent (6-of-7) from three-point range, and added three assists and three blocks.  Williams opened the year by hitting 6-of-10 field goals en route to 19 points to go with six rebounds against Bethune-Cookman.  He connected on 5-of-12 shots from the field in scoring 22 points highlighted by 3-of-3 from behind the arc to post 22 points in the win over Santa Clara.  He followed that up with a season-high equaling 27 points (9-of-15 FG/3-of-3 3-pt.FG), eight rebounds and two steals in Saturday's loss to sixth-ranked Kansas.  Williams has three 20-point games to his credit in 2010-11 and a streak of 15 consecutive games in double figures dating back to last season.  On the year, Williams averages 21.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game, while shooting 64.5 percent (40-of-62) from the field.

 

Last Week's Wrap-Up:  The Wildcats posted a 2-1 week with wins over Bethune-Cookman (78-45) and Santa Clara (82-59) before falling to sixth-ranked Kansas (79-87) all as part of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational.  Prior to Saturday's loss, Arizona opened the season with a five-game win streak, which was Arizona best start since the 2002-03 season.  Additionally, the five-game win streak was the longest of the Sean Miller era at Arizona.

 

On the mark:  Arizona continues to shoot the ball well this season, posting a .504 field goal percentage (163-of-324) through six games.  The Cats have shot 50 percent or better from the floor three times so far in 2010-11.  Four Wildcats with at least 25 FG attempts this season are shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.  Last season, Arizona shot .443 (745-of-1681) from the field.

 

Expanding his Range:  One of the most improved parts of Derrick Williams' shooting range, as the 6-foot-8 forward has connected on 7-of-9 (.778) three-point field goal attempts this year.  In two games in Las Vegas this weekend, Williams connected on 5-of-6 attempts from behind the arc.  He's nearly doubled his trey total of last season (4) and his seven treys this year is just two shy of the team lead of nine (shared by three players).

 

Worth a Mention:  Despite losing by eight points Saturday to the Jayhawks - the closest decision margin for both teams on the season as UA and KU had combined to win the 10 previous games this season by an average of 35.7 points - Arizona did manage to post 79 points, the most Kansas had allowed this season, outrebound the Jawhawks, 37-33, and made 15 free throws in 21 attempts both of which were KU opponent highs this season.  As a reference point, opponents outrebounded Kansas just seven times in 35 games last season.

 

The Guy Is Good:  Facing on of the best frontlines in college basketball, Derrick Williams responded with 27 points (equaling a season high), eight rebounds, a block and two steals.  The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward from La Mirada, Calif., connected on 9-of-15 field goal attempts, including 2-of-3 from three-point range.  Six of Williams' eight boards were on the offensive end.  "I don't think anyone would argue (that Williams) was the best player on the court," Kansas coach Bill Self told the Associated Press following the game.

 

No Guarantee of Success:  Saturday against Kansas, forward Derrick Williams equaled a season high with nine field goal made and set another with 15 field goal attempts.  But simply getting Williams a lot of shots, or witnessing him making a majority of them is no guarantee of a high level of success.  In his 37-game career, the Wildcats are 11-7 (.611) in games in which Williams gets 10 or more field goal attempts and 8-4 (.667) when he makes seven or more field goals in a game or scores 20 or more points.

 

Cleaning the Glass:  Through six games this season, the Wildcats have not lost a rebounding battle.  UA has outrebounded five foes and was even with another (Santa Clara).  Saturday vs. Kansas, Arizona posted a 37-33 rebound advantage. The effort included 14 offensive rebounds, which was the team's second-best effort on the offensive glass this year.  Last year, Arizona outrebounded 15 of 31 opponents.

 

On the Offensive:  It's a combination that could prove lethal:  a good shooting team that is also a good offensive rebounding team.  Early on this season, Arizona has been both, shooting 50 percent from the field and leading the Pac-10 with a .414 offensive rebound percentage.  Through six games, Arizona has collected more offensive rebounds in five of six games (Idaho State), and averages 12 offensive rebounds per game.

 

Limiting their Looks:  Arizona's opponents have managed a cumulative .400 field goal percentage (128-of-320) though six games this year.  In fact, only Kansas (31-of-57/.544) has broken the 50-percent barrier against the Cats in 2010-11.  Something has to give on Wednesday, as Rice enters the game limiting opponents to a cumulative 37.9 field goal percentage (120-of-317).

 

Super Substitute:  The Wildcats got a much-needed boost off the bench Saturday, as junior guard Kyle Fogg registered season-high totals of 18 points and two rebounds.  The native of Brea, Calif., hit 6-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. For Fogg, it was the 30th double-figure scoring game of his 72-game career.  Eleven of those 18 points came in the first half when he and Derrick Williams combined to score 24 of Arizona's 39 points.  On the season, Fogg is averaging 9.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

 

An All-Around Effort:  Solomon Hill put forth a solid effort Saturday vs. Kansas, registering nine points, five rebounds and a season-high four assists.  The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward from Los Angeles, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in three games this week.  Arizona's second leading scorer this season (10.7 ppg), Hill is shooting .595 (22-of-37) from the field and .900 (18-of-20) from the free throw line.

 

Beware the Fogg:  Kyle Fogg's 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range Saturday moved him into eighth place currently on the Arizona career three-point field goal percentage list at .396 (80-of-202).  The junior guard from Brea, Calif., has struggled with his long-range shooting this season (9-of-27/.333), but has connected on 6-of-his-last-14 attempts (.429) from behind the arc over his last three appearances.

 

In Reserve:  Saturday's game was the first this season in which Arizona's bench was outscored, as Kansas out-pointed the Cats, (31-26.  On the season, Arizona's reserves have outscored the opposition, 192-96.  That a 2:1 ratio and an average margin of +16 per game.

 

Up Next:  Following tonight's game, the Wildcats return home to host Oklahoma as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.

 

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