Exhibition 1: Concordia University at Arizona
Date: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007
Time: 2:30 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)
Game data: No. 17 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the preseason with an exhibition game Sunday against Concordia University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada ... Itˇ?s safe to assume that the Wildcats are looking forward to outside competition after three weeks of practice ... Six Cats finished in double figures in Tuesdayˇ?s Pepsi Red-Blue game.
The Rankings: Arizona will open the 2007-08 campaign ranked No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches preseason poll. The Associated Press Top 25 poll has yet to be released. It marks the 20th time in the last 21 seasons that the Cats will open the season with a national ranking.
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 ... 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.
Last Time out: Jerryd Bayless scored 26 points to lead four players in double figures as the Blue downed the Red Tuesday, 76-63, in the annual Pepsi Red-Blue game. The balanced Blue attack outshot (.473-.458), outrebounded (35-22) and forced more turnovers (15-11) in the 13-point win. Mohamed Tangara (13 pts./9 reb.) and Daniel Dillon (12 pts./5 ast.) also finished in double figures for Les Bleus. The Red squad was led by Chase Budinger, who scored a game-high 29 points, while freshman Jamelle Horne chipped in with 11. Nic Wise finished with 13 points and four assists while playing for both sides.
Scouting Concordia: Coached by John Dore, Concordia posted a 15-1 record last year and were the top seed in the CIS national championship before ultimately finishing in fifth place. On Sept. 2, the Stingers shot 57 percent from the field in defeating Illinois, 86-82, in an international exhibition. Brothers Dwayne and Damian Buckley engineered the upset, combining for 52 of Concordiaˇ?s 86 points. In 2006-07, the Buckley duo combined to average 30.1 points per game.
Breaking Out: Aside from the fact that six newcomers made their first appearance in an Arizona uniform, the best news may have been the breakout performance of junior Mohamed Tangara. The 6-foot-9 forward from Bamako, Mali, connected on 4-of-6 FGs and 5-of-7 FTs en route to 13 points, nine rebounds and a steal. Perhaps most impressively, Tangara logged 40 minutes, a figure that eclipsed his season total from 2006-07.
Controlling the Boards: Led by Bret Brielmaierˇ?s game-high 12 rebounds Tuesday, the Blue squad dominated the boards by posting a 35-22 advantage. Four of the seven players to see action for the Blue grabbed at least four rebounds. Of Brielmaierˇ?s 12 caroms, seven were of the offensive variety.
Much the same: In the seven months since we last saw him on the court, not much has changed in Chase Budingerˇ?s efficient approach. The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward knocked down 9-of-14 field goal attempts, 4-of-6 treys and 7-of-10 free throws on the way to a game-high 29 points in 32 minutes. Budinger was 6-of-8 from the floor in the first half.
Not To Be Overlooked: One number that may have slipped under the radar in Tuesdayˇ?s scrimmage was freshman Laval Lucas-Perryˇ?s game-high eight assists to go with five points and two boards. Not to be outdone, senior Daniel Dillon collected five assists (and zero turnovers) as well. All told, the five UA guards to start Tuesday (one team used a three-guard lineup), posted a 2:1 assist:turnover ratio (24:12). As a quick comparison, last season UA had a 1.17:1 assist:turnover ratio.
Preseason KUDOS: Two Arizona players have garnered a few preseason accolades, as Chase Budinger and Jerryd Bayless have found themselves included on a few lists to watch. Budinger has been tabbed a preseason All-American by both collegeinsider.com and collegehoops.net and heˇ?s also on both the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards preseason watch list. Bayless was a second team all-freshman pick by collegehoops.com.
Options in the Middle: Two of Arizonaˇ?s big men, senior Kirk Walters and freshman Alex Jacobson represented themselves well in the Red-Blue game, combining for nine points (4-of-9 FG), five rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot in 48 total minutes. That could lead to an interesting rotation in the middle when 6-foot-10 sophomore Jordan Hill returns to the lineup.
Shooting Straight: Obviously things will change once outside competition, but the Wildcats certainly shot the ball well during the Red-Blue game, especially from behind the arc. The team combined to hit 15-of-35 three-point attempts (.429) in the contest. That figure was markedly better than last seasonˇ?s 34.1 three-point field goal percentage. Five different Cats knocked down treys on Tuesday.
An Educated Guess: According to media members that regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in this yearˇ?s Pac-10 race. Arizona received 238 points, trailing UCLA, Washington State and Oregon. The last time UA was predicted to finish this low was in the 2001-02 preseason poll. On a historical note, the Wildcats have been the preseason favorite 11 times in the last 18 years.
Above the .500 mark: Basketball is a team game, but there are times when the individual battles just happen to rise to the top. A win today by the Wildcats would give UA assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill a winning career record against Concordia University. Oˇ?Neill faced the Stingers 14 times while attending McGill University (1975-78) and left with a level 7-7 record. However, Oˇ?Neill finished strong, posting a 7-2 record against Concordia over his final two seasons at McGill.
Springboard to the Next Level: With the 2007-08 National Basketball Association regular season underway, no fewer than 10 former Arizona Wildcats are on the opening day NBA rosters. Only three schools nationally have more alumni in the league (Connecticut, 13; North Carolina, 12; Duke, 12). Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Channing Frye, Portland TrailBlazers; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Mustafa Shakur, Sacramento Kings; Damon Stoudamire, Memphis Grizzlies; Salim Stoudamire, Atlanta Hawks; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks; and Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers. There have been at least 10 former Wildcats in the NBA in six of the last eight seasons and no fewer than eight during that span.
More on the NBA: Bolstered by UAˇ?s 10 alumni in the NBA, the Pac-10 Conference had a total of 45 former players on opening day rosters, a figure that ranks third among conferences nationally. Here is the breakdown by league: 1.) Atlantic Coast and Big East, 54; 3.) Pac-10, 45; 4.) Southeastern, 41; 5.) Big 12, 35; and 6.) Big Ten, 33.
Up Next: Arizona closes the exhibition schedule with a game on Thursday, Nov. 8, vs. Team Georgia. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST. The Wildcats open the regular season on Nov. 13 vs. Northern Arizona.