Game 1: No. 10 Arizona (0-0) vs. San Diego (0-0)
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch/Jimmy Dykes)
Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the 2004-05 season Tuesday against San Diego (0-0, 0-0 WCC) in the first round of the 2004 Preseason N.I.T. ... This is Arizona’s fourth appearance (1986, 1990, 1995, 1999) in the Preseason N.I.T. and the Cats have a cumulative 12-1 (.923) record in the event.
The Rankings: Arizona will open 2004-05 ranked 10th in the preseason edition of the Associated Press Top 25 poll and 11th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It marks the 17th time in the last 18 seasons in which the Cats have been nationally ranked in the preseason, including 10 times in the top 10. UA has been ranked in 286 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 711-249 (.741) and 519-157 (.768) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA’s John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 21-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 20 years, 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, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ?'81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s best winning percentage over the past 16 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 26 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 307-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 235 of its last 252 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 0-0 against San Diego.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats used an 18-6 run over the first 4:06 of the second half to break open a 10-point game en route to the 105-80 exhibition victory Thursday against Sonoma State. Channing Frye scored 13 of UA’s 18 points in the spurt and finished with a game-high 24 points. Arizona forced 20 SSU turnovers and outrebounded the Seawolves, 43-28. Mustafa Shakur added 22 points and 10 rebounds in the effort.
Scouting San Diego: Four Torero starters return from last season’s 4-26 club (1-13 WCC) for head coach Brad Holland. San Diego averaged 68.1 points per game in 2003-04, shot 45.3 percent from the floor (724-of-1600) and averaged 18.4 turnovers per game. Senior Brice Vounang collected 21 points and 10 rebounds in USD’s 73-66 exhibition loss to Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 11. Froward Brandon Gay added 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Toreros posted a +8 rebound advantage.
The Series: Thursday’s game marks the second meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 1-0 series advantage. The Wildcats won the only previous meeting, 79-70, in Tucson on Dec. 12, 1972. All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in San Diego and 0-0 in neutral-site games. Arizona is 23-13 (.639) against West Coast Conference opponents. See page 104 in the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 79, San Diego 70; Dec. 12, 1972: Coniel Norman’s 22 points led a balanced UA attack as four Wildcats finished in double figures in the nine-point win. Al Fleming pulled down 23 rebounds (the fifth-highest total in Arizona history), including 14 in the second half. Eric Money’s jumper with 14:54 remaining broke a 52-52 tie and ignited a 9-2 UA run that gave the Cats a lead it would not relinquish.
For Openers: Arizona has a record of 76-20 (.792) in season openers (results are unavailable for four seasons), including an 18-3 (.857) mark under Lute Olson. The Wildcats are 58-12 at home, 10-8 on the road and 8-0 in neutral-site games.
In November: Fast starts certainly are the norm for the Wildcats under Lute Olson. Over the past 21 years, Arizona is 46-8 (.852) in the month of November.
Preseason N.I.T. History: Celebrating its 20th year as the nation’s premier early-season college basketball tournament, the Preseason N.I.T. and the University have mutually prospered under its spotlight. As mentioned earlier, the Wildcats have participated in the event four times (1986, 1990, 1995 1999) and won the tournament three times (1990, 1995, 1999). All-time, Arizona has a 12-1 record in Preseason N.I.T. play, including a 5-0 mark at McKale Center. Currently, Arizona is tied with Kansas for the most Preseason N.I.T. championships won with three. Here is a look at UA’s game-by-game tournament results:
Nov. 21, 1986 at UNLV L 87-92 Las Vegas, Nev.
Nov. 14, 1990 Austin Peay W 122-80 Tucson
Nov. 16, 1990 East Tennessee State W 88-79 Tucson
Nov. 21, 1990 vs. Notre Dame W 91-61 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 23, 1990 vs. Arkansas W 89-77 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 15, 1995 Long Beach State W 91-57 Tucson
Nov. 17, 1995 at Arkansas W 83-73 Fayetteville, Ark.
Nov. 22, 1995 vs. Michigan W 86-79 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 24, 1995 vs. Georgetown W 91-81 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 16, 1999 Kansas State W 88-69 Tucson
Nov. 19, 1999 New Mexico State W 84-60 Tucson
Nov. 24, 1999 vs. Notre Dame W 76-60 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 26, 1999 vs. Kentucky W 63-51 New York, N.Y.
In the Middle: Center Channing Frye has displayed the type of game in the preseason that one might expect from a senior. The 6-foot-11 Phoenix native hit 9-of-16 field goals en route to a game-high 24 points while adding nine rebounds (five offensive) and a block in just 19 minutes of action. In the two exhibition games, Frye averaged 23.5 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 53.1 percent (17-of-32) from the field.
Picking up Where they Left off: Last season, Arizona ranked second nationally with a school- and Pac-10-record 78.6 free throw percentage (511-of-650). The Wildcats haven’t let the accuracy slide during the offseason as the team hit 48-of-59 (.814) free throw attempts during the exhibition games. Of the seven players with at least four attempts in the two exhibitions, six are shooting 75.0 percent or better from the line.
Productivity: Sophomore Ivan Radenovic continues to produce in the four spot. In the two exhibition games, Radenovic averaged 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists, while shooting 47.1 percent (9-of-19) from the field. Last Thursday against Sonoma State. Radenovic scored 18 points (5-of-8 FG), pulled down four boards and added three blocked shots.
Preseason Recognition: A nation’s-best four Wildcats were included on the preseason Naismith Award watch list. Hassan Adams, Channing Frye, Mustafa Shakur and Salim Stoudamire were all on the list of 50 top college basketball players. The Naismith Award, presented annually since 1969, goes to the nation’s player of the year. Frye and Stoudamire were also included on the preseason John R. Wooden Award list, and Frye was also selected as a preseason All-American by Playboy magazine.
Versatile: Swingman Hassan Adams continues to develop a nice all-around game. In Thursday’s exhibition win over Sonoma State, the 6-foot-4 Adams tallied 19 points and two offensive rebounds, but also added four assists (against one turnover) and collected three steals. He was 8-of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-2 from three-point range.
Role Reversal: Normally, it’s Mustafa Shakur that collects the assists and Salim Stoudamire who get the points in the backcourt, but there was a noticeable switch in the 105-80 win over Sonoma State. With the defense geared to take away Stoudamire’s productivity, Shakur stepped up by hitting 8-of-14 field goals, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Stoudamire, meanwhile, collected 10 assists, five boards and a steal.
From the Point: Granted it’s only the exhibition season, but the numbers put up by Mustafa Shakur have been impressive. Shakur is averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.5 steals over the two exhibition tilts. Perhaps most impressively, he’s passed out 15 assists against only three turnovers in 53 total minutes played.
Defense and Rebounding: Two areas that needed improvement since the close of last season have shown signs of progress. In the preseason, opponents are shooting a combined 38.6 percent from the floor (56-of-145), being outrebounded by a +15 margin, and turning it over an average 18.5 times per game. While UA has collected a total of 23 steals in those two games, Sonoma State did connect on better than 45 percent of its field goal attempts and went to the free throw line 15 times.
Energy: Junior guard Chris Rodgers made a difference off the bench last Thursday, as the Portland, Ore., native collected five points and two assists in 18 minutes. Most impressively, Rodgers nabbed a game-high six steals in the contest, nearly half of UA’s total of 14. In the preseason, he is averaging 9.5 points, 2.5 assists and 4.5 steals.
Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 19 of a possible 26 first-place votes and 253 points overall. Washington (237), Stanford (194) and Oregon (167) rounded out the top four places. It is the 10th time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
The Next Level: With the 2004-05 NBA regular season underway, no fewer than eight former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only three other schools (Kentucky, 13; Connecticut and Duke, 9) have more players in the league. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Damon Stoudamire, Portland TrailBlazers; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers; and Loren Woods, Toronto Raptors. Incidentally, six of those former Cats were in the starting lineup on opening night.
More NBA Notes: Bolstered by four schools with seven or more players each in the league, the Pac-10 Conference ranks third overall in terms of putting players on NBA rosters. As of opening night, no fewer than 40 Pac-10 alums were in the NBA. The "Conference of Champions" ranks behind only the Atlantic Coast Conference (49) and the Southeastern Conference (44) in terms of developing NBA-caliber talent.
Television Update: Broadcast information is now available for the John R. Wooden Classic games on Sunday, Dec. 5. KTTU-TV, channel 18 in Tucson, will carry the Arizona-Mississippi State game at 1:30 p.m. PST. Several broadcast outlets, including WGN-TV, MSG network and NESN, will carry both games of the doubleheader. The nightcap features UCLA vs. Boston College.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: An Arizona win on Tuesday vaults the team into the second round of the Preseason N.I.T., where the team would host the winner of the Wright State/Tulsa game on Thursday, Nov. 18 (tip-off TBA on FSN Arizona). A loss gives the Cats a less-hectic schedule as the team would next be in action at Virginia on Sunday, Nov. 21.