Nov. 21, 2001
Date: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2001 Time: 7 p.m. MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: Arizona (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10) returns home after a highly-successful three-game road swing to host Nike Elite (3-7) in the second of two exhibition games ... It is the final game of Nike Elite's 11-game tour of U.S. colleges and the team has undergone substantial roster changes since its last game on Nov. 14 at Indiana. Only one player on the roster (Daryl Cunningham) remains from the team that lost 98-76 to the Hoosiers ... The Cats look forward to this window of opportunity in the schedule to focus on some of the intricacies of its offensive and defensive packages.
The Rankings: With wins over three nationally-ranked teams to open the season, Arizona jumped to No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and to No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Cats were unranked in both preseason polls. Prior to 2001-02, UA had been ranked in the AP top 25 for 109 straight weeks. Arizona has been ranked in 237 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 19th season at Arizona and his 29th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 642-225 (.740) and 450-133 (.772) at Arizona ... He recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the fourth most Pac-10 wins (250) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 19-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 nine Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 17 years in a row, which is the 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 six times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98), the Big 10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & '81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 14 years (377-87/.813) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona - 15 alone since 1990 ... A Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame finalist in each of the last two years, Olson has led UA to 14 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 23 overall in his career, making him one of only seven head coaches in NCAA history to record 23 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 271-26 (.912) in McKale Center and have won 199 of its last 210 home games.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire scored all 19 of his points in the second half as the Wildcats erased a 12-point deficit in the come-from-behind victory over No. 23 Texas last Saturday. UA trailed 51-39 with 18:28 remaining when Stoudamire and Jason Gardner sparked a 30-9 run over the next 10 minutes to take control of the contest. Arizona limited Texas to just .278 shooting and outrebounded the 'Horns, 29-20, in the second half. Gardner finished with a career-high 28 points and six assists, while Rick Anderson and Luke Walton combined for 15 points, 18 rebounds and six assists.
Scouting Nike Elite: Only one player remains from the roster that went 3-7 against some of the top NCAA Division I squads this fall, Daryl Cunningham, who scored in double figures three times during the tour. His best game came in the 86-66 win over Penn State (Nov. 9) in which he scored 12 points and added six boards, two assists, two blocks and three steals.
Stoudamire Steps Up: Salim Stoudamire scored a career-high 19 points and added three rebounds and a steal in UA's 88-74 win at Texas. The freshman was 5-of-10 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line in the effort. Stoudamire was key in helping Arizona erase a 12-point second half deficit by scoring all 19 of his points in the second half, including both three-point attempts. Stoudamire scored 11 of his points in a 30-9 run that enabled UA to take control of the game before he added eight points in the final five minutes to clinch it.
Against Ranked Opponents: Arizona is 3-0 this season and all three wins have come against ranked opponents. The Cats have knocked off No. 2 Maryland, No. 6 Florida and No. 23 Texas...all away from Tucson. Dating back to last season, Arizona has played seven straight games against ranked opponents and is 6-1 in that span. Since the start of the 1999-2000 campaign, UA is 18-6 vs. ranked opponents. The Wildcats' next regular season game is against No. 4 Kansas on Dec. 1.
Milestone Win: Last Saturday's win over Texas was Lute Olson's 450th at Arizona. Now in his 19th year, Olson has a 450-133 (.722) record as the Wildcat mentor. He ranks second on the UA career victory list, trailing only Fred A. Enke, who posted a 497-324 (.605) record in 36 years at Arizona.
Big Jump: According to research supplied by the NCAA, the University of Arizona men's basketball team nearly pulled off an unprecedented feat. The Cats' ascension from unranked in the preseason Associated Press poll to No. 8 in this week's second edition is the second-largest jump in poll history since the 1989-90 season when the poll expanded to 25 teams. Only Kansas, who went from unranked to No. 4 in 1989-90, topped this Wildcat effort.
Texas Successes: Trailing Texas 51-39 with 18:28 to go in the second half, Arizona responded with a 12-0 run over the next 3:30 to tie the game at 51 then reeled off a 16-7 run over the next seven minutes to take control of the game. It was Arizona's sixth straight win over Texas. Interestingly, Texas is 29-3 in its last 32 home games, but two of those losses have against Arizona (88-81, Dec. 4, 1999).
Leading the Way: Junior guard Jason Gardner continued his run of strong play at Texas, posting a career-high 28 points to go with five boards, six assists and two steals. He was 7-of-15 from the floor in Austin at played all 40 minutes for the second time in three games. On the season, Gardner is averaging 24.7 points, 5.0 assists and shooting .524 from the floor (.481 from three-point range). Arizona is 26-5 in Gardner's career when he tallies at least five assists in a game.
Out of a Hole: Saturday's win at Texas, in which the team erased a 12-point second half deficit, marked the first time Arizona has erased a second half double-figure deficit and won a game since March 7, 1998, when UA defeated UCLA, 91-87, in Los Angeles. In that game, Arizona trailed 57-43 with 17:42 remaining before Michael Dickerson scored 22 of his game-high 30 points over the final 14:03. Please note that twice since that game, March 23, 2001 vs. Mississippi (12) and Jan. 9, 1999 vs. Washington (14), Arizona overcame double-digit deficits in the first half and came from behind to win.
UA Advantages: In addition to the fact that Arizona outscored Texas 51-31 in the second half of Saturday's win, UA limited Texas to just .278 shooting from the floor (10-of-36) in the second half and outrebounded the Longhorns 29-19 after the break. Arizona outscored Texas 34-30 in the paint, had more points off turnovers (12-11) and second chance points (13-8). At one point in the second half, Texas missed 12-of-13 field goal attempts. Arizona held Texas' front line of Chris Owens, Brian Boddicker, and James Thomas to a combined 7-of-16 shooting.
College Boards: In posting its third rebound advantage of the year (48-43 vs. Texas), five different Arizona players grabbed at least five rebounds. Luke Walton and Rick Anderson led the way with nine boards each.
Well Rounded: With each passing minute, junior Luke Walton continues to shine some light on his outstanding all-around game. Saturday vs. Texas, Walton totaled 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in 37 minutes. He also committed zero turnovers, marking the fourth time in his career that Walton has played at least 20 minutes without a turnover.
20-20-20: Gardner's 28-point game was his third consecutive 20-plus point of the season and the 11th of his career. It is the first time in his 73-game career that he has topped the 20-point plateau in three straight games. Only once before in his career (Jan. 20-22, 2000) had Gardner scored 20 or more in two consecutive games.
Anderson Rolls On: Rick Anderson scored a season-high 14 points at Texas, including his first two treys of the season. The junior from Long Beach, Calif., also added a career-best nine rebounds and a blocked shot in 37 minutes.
From the Line: For the second straight game, UA's edge at the free throw line contributed to victory. The Cats connected on 26-of-31 attempts (.839) and outscored Texas 26-10 from the line. Once again, Arizona made more free throws (26) than the opponent attempted (21). That also holds true for the season, as UA has made 51 charity attempts compared with 44 attempts by the opposition.
Scoring 80: Arizona topped the 80-point plateau for the first time this season in last Saturday's win at Texas. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of Wildcat success, as the squad is 46-3 (.939) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points.
Frye Guy: Freshman Channing Frye certainly made the most of his 13 minutes of action last week at Texas. In that span, the 6-foot-10 center notched season highs in points (8), rebounds (6), field goals (3), FG attempts (7), free throws (2) FT attempts (2), blocks (2, tied) and steals (1). He has two blocks in each UA game this year.
Farsighted: Arizona connected on .571 of its three-point attempts (8-of-14) vs. Texas to continue a season-long trend of accuracy behind the three-point arc. Through three games, Arizona is shooting a respectable .451 (23-of-51) from three-point range, .009 higher than its overall field goal percentage.
Pac-10 Predictions: In voting done by Pac-10 Conference media members, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in the league standings, its lowest predicted finish since 1985-86. Despite receiving two first-place votes (one of three teams to do so), UA ranked fourth with 200 points behind UCLA, Stanford and USC. Ironically, the last time the Cats were picked to finish as low, Coach Olson and crew captured the first his of nine Pac-10 titles.
Roster Moves: Two players were added to the roster late last week after surviving the program's fall tryout. Junior Fil Torres (G, 6-2, 185) from Lisle, Ill., and freshman Anas Fellah (G, 5-10, 165) from Tucson have officially joined the program. Counting senior forward Peter Hansen, who will join the team after the completion of football season, these two additions bring the number of players on the roster to 14.
Talent Pool: With the 2001-02 NBA season under way, no fewer than 11 former Wildcats are on NBA active rosters. Only one other school in the country (North Carolina) has more of its alumni on active rosters. Here is the list of Arizona players currently playing in the NBA: Gilbert Arenas (G/Golden State/1st year), Mike Bibby (G/Sacramento/4th year), Jud Buechler (F/Phoenix/12th year), Michael Dickerson (G/Memphis/4th year), Richard Jefferson (F/New Jersey/1st year), Steve Kerr (G/Portland/14th year), Chris Mills (F/Golden State/9th year), Sean Rooks (C/Los Angeles Clippers/10th year), Damon Stoudamire (G/Portland/7th year), Jason Terry (G/Atlanta/3rd year), and Loren Woods (C/Minnesota/1st year).
Wildcats on TV in 2001-02: Arizona will once again receive extensive television coverage, as every game, including exhibitions, are scheduled to be televised live in 2001-02. The schedule features 13 national appearances with five games offered on Fox Sports Net, five games slated for CBS-TV, two on ESPN/ESPN2 and one on ABC-TV. Fox Sports Net Arizona will also produce 17 games to be shown in the Arizona market, including four appearances on Tucson's KWBA-TV 58.
Up Next: No. 4 Kansas comes to McKale Center on Sat., Dec. 1, for a 12:30 p.m. MST match-up. The game will be televised nationally on CBS-TV. It will be the Wildcats' eighth consecutive regular-season game against a ranked opponent, dating back to last season.