March 12, 2011
Date: Saturday, March 12, 2011
Time: 3 p.m. PST
Location: Staples Center (19,282), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: CBS (Gus Johnson/Bob Wenzel)
GAME DATA: No. 1 seed Arizona (27-6, 14-4 Pac-10) remains in Los Angeles for the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament and advances to the championship Saturday afternoon at Staples Center against No. 3 seed Washington (22-10, 11-7 Pac-10) ... Arizona's 19 wins and four championships (1988-90, 2002) in this event are league bests ... Since the event was reincarnated in the Staples Center in 2002, the Cats are 10-8 in tournament play, snapping a three-game tournament losing streak with a win over Oregon State on Thursday ... The number 70 looms large in conference tournament action as Arizona is 9-3 since 2002 when scoring 70 or more points and 1-5 when it does not, and Friday's win over USC was the first in that category ... In 14 Pac-10 Tournament appearances all-time, Arizona has now advanced to the championship sixth times (1988, '89, `90, 2002,'05) where the Cats have a 4-1 record to date.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona has been ranked for six consecutive weeks and currently is No. 16 in the Associated Press and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. UA's six straight weeks in both national polls is the longest for a Pac-10 club in 2010-11.
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 163-68 (.706) and 43-21 (.672) 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 2-2 vs. Washington as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona's depth made the difference, as the Wildcat bench outscored USC, 23-4, en route to a 67-62 win over the Trojans in the semifinal of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament Friday. Jamelle Horne and Jordin Mayes led the UA reserves, combining for 16 points, and the duo scored all 10 points in a key 10-2 burst midway through the first half that pushed the lead to double figures. Derrick Williams led Arizona with 20 points, including UA's final six, but it was a key trey by Horne with 2:29 to go that kept the Trojans at bay.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 70th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 44-25 series advantage. UA has won eight of the last 15 meetings, including the last, 87-86 in Tucson on Feb. 19. All-time, Arizona is 26-6 in series games played in Tucson, 17-17 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-2 in neutral site games. For more series information, please see page 46 in the UA media guide. In Pac-10 Tournament action, Arizona is 0-2 against Washington, dropping a 90-85 decision in the 2004 semifinals on March 12, and an 81-72 decision in the 2005 championship game on March 12.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 86, Washington 85, Feb. 19, 2011: A Solomon Hill put-back with 22 seconds to go and a Derrick Williams blocked shot with 1.8 seconds remaining enabled Arizona to claim a one-point win. UA crushed Washington on the boards, 40-25, which helped the Cats offset better shooting (.540/.448) and fewer turnovers (11/19) by the Huskies. Arizona did shoot 61 percent from three-point range (11-of-18) and make 16-of-18 free throws in a game that featured four ties and six lead changes in the last six minutes. Four Cats finished in double figures, led by Williams' game-high 26.
IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: Here is a quick run down of Arizona's appearances in the Pac-10 Tournament championship games:
1988 (Tucson, Ariz.): (1) Arizona 93, (2) Oregon State 63
1989 (Inglewood, Calif.): (1) Arizona 73, (2) Stanford 51
1990 (Tempe, Ariz.): (2) Arizona 94, (4) UCLA 78
2002 (Los Angeles, Calif.): (2) Arizona 81, (4) USC 71
2005 (Los Angeles, Calif.): (2) Washington 81, (1) Arizona 72
THOSE NUMBERS LOOK GOOD: They aren't exactly eye-popping, but Arizona managed to post 13 assists against only seven turnovers in Friday's win. The nearly 2:1 ratio was markedly better than the team's 1.1:1 ratio through 33 games. Additionally, UA's seven miscues was the second-lowest number of the season. Highlighting the effort was back-up point guard Jordin Mayes, who passed out three assists without a turnover in 12 minutes of action.
IT CARRIES MORE WEIGHT: It would be safe to assume that Arizona has ridden the three-point shot into Saturday's championship game, as the Wildcats actually have a higher three-point field goal percentage than its overall field goal percentage in Pac-10 Tournament action. Through the first two days, Arizona connected on 45.7 percent of its field goal attempts (53-of-116) and 47.5 percent (19-of-40) of its shots from behind the arc. The Cats have scored 57 of 145 points (39.3 percent) from three-point range and 68 points (46.8 percent) from inside the three-point stripe. On the season, 31.2 percent of Arizona's points come from the three-point shot. Jordan Mayes and Jamelle Horne shared the team lead with two treys apiece, and it just seemed like all four of those were very meaningful within the flow of the game.
CONTROLLING THE GLASS: Led by Derrick Williams and Kevin Parrom, who each grabbed six boards, Arizona outrebounded USC, 32-30. It was the 22nd time this season that Arizona has outrebounded the opposition and the Cats are 21-1 when accomplishing the feat. Much of the damage on the glass came in the first half, as UA outboarded the Trojans, 17-13, in the period, including a 7-2 advantage on the offensive glass. Five Wildcats grabbed multiple rebounds in the opening half. On the year, Arizona posts a +4.4 rebound advantage.
MAKING AN ADJUSTMENT: The last time Arizona faced USC, the Trojan frontline of Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic combined to hit 12-of-23 field goal attempts (.522), scored 37 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. Friday night, UA limited that duo to 24 points -- on four fewer field goal attempts -- and 20 rebounds. Additionally, Derrick Williams rebounded from 3-of-11 shooting and a season-low eight points to hit 7-of-10 shots and finish with 20 points and six rebounds.
IT CAN'T LAST: The Wildcats shot just .436 (24-of-55) from the field Friday, and was easily outshot by USC, who connected on 49.1 percent (26-of-53) of its shots. Field goal percentage defense is an area that must improve if the Cats expect to extend the schedule deep into in the month of March. Over the last eight games, Arizona opponents have connected on 48.2 percent (217-of-450) and have shot better than 50 percent from the field five times in that span. By comparison, opponents managed to top the 50-percent plateau against Arizona just four times in the first 25 games of the season.
A DIFFERENCE MAKER: Forward Jesse Perry collected his eighth double-figure game of the season Friday, hitting 4-of-7 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from the line to go with four rebounds. The 6-foot-7 junior from St. Louis, Mo., scored eight of those points in the first half and was the team's leading scorer through 20 minutes of action. Arizona is 7-1 when Perry finishes in double figures. On the season, Perry averages 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.2 percent from the field (77-of-163).
STEPING UP AND KNOCKING THEM DOWN: Sophomore Derrick Williams heads into Saturday's championship game just five made free throws away from establishing a new school record for FTs made in a season. Currently, Williams has made 207-of-276 (.750) attempts from the stripe this season. Williams, who already holds the Arizona record for free throws attempted in a season, is trying to top the current mark originally set by Khalid Reeves in 1993-94. Friday against USC, Williams was 5-of-6 from the line, including a spotless 4-of-4 in the game's final 20 seconds.
20-POINT GAMES: On the strength of some stellar shooting, the La Mirada, Calif., product was able to notch another 20-point game in this event, marking the 15th time he's accomplished the feat this season. As a team, Arizona has 23 20-point games. In addition to Williams' 15, Lamont Jones has three, Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom have two each and Solomon Hill one. Incidentally, Williams has at least one 20-point game against every Pac-10 opponent this season except Oregon.
FILLING IN: Sophomore Kevin Parrom has made the most of his first two starts of the season, averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the Pac-10 Tournament's first two games. Friday against USC, the 6-foot-6 swingman from the Bronx, N.Y., tallied six points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal in 31 minutes of action. On the season, Parrom averages 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds to go with a .509 (87-of-171) field goal percentage.
FORWARD/BACKWARD: Friday's win saw the Wildcats frontcourt players be much more efficient than their backcourt brethren, as Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry, Jamelle Horne and Kyryl Natyazhko combined to make 14-of-29 (.483), while the backcourt crew of Kevin Parrom, Lamont Jones, Jordin Mayes, Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender connected on 38.5 percent (10-of-26) of its shots.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: Arizona managed to pull down four more offensive rebounds than USC Friday (13-9) and held a +4 advantage in second chance points in a game that turned out to be decided by five points. It's a simple measure of activity and aggressiveness on the offensive end, but Arizona has won the offensive board battle in 18 of 33 games so far this season.
UP NEXT: Regardless of today's outcome, Arizona returns home to await word on the dates and locations of further postseason participation.