Nov. 24, 2009
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009
Time: 2 p.m. HST
Location: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400), Lahaina, Hawaii
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPNU (Carter Blackburn/Jimmy Dykes)
GAME DATA: Arizona (3-1, 0-0 Pac-10) takes on Vanderbilt (3-1, 0-0 SEC) in the consolation bracket finals - the fifth-place game - at the 26th annual EA Sports Maui Invitational ... The Wildcats' win Tuesday snapped a three-game losing streak at the Maui Invitational ... After accomplishing the feat four times in its first seven Maui Invite games, Arizona broke the 90-point barrier Tuesday against Colorado for the first time in seven games at the Lahaina Civic Center and it took overtime to do so ... UA shot better than 50 percent from the field for the first time this season on Tuesday.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona remains unranked in both polls after opening the season unranked for just the third time in the last 23 seasons. The Cats closed the 2008-09 campaign ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. 14.8 ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 123-48 (.719) and 3-1 (.750) 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 its 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 16 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, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford.
LAST TIME OUT: In what was a tight game throughout, Arizona's Nic Wise proved to be the difference as the Wildcats prevailed over Colorado, 91-87, in overtime during Tuesday's consolation-bracket game. The senior point guard was a steadying influence when UA needed it most, scoring 16 of Arizona's last 19 points in the contest, including eight of 11 points in the extra session. All told, Wise tallied 22 of his career-high 30 points in the final 25 minutes.
SCOUTING VANDERBILT: The Commodores improved to 3-1 on the season following Tuesday's 68-41 win over Chaminade. Vandy is averaging 73.3 points per game, while shooting.446 (103-of-231) from the field, including .347 (25-of-72) from three-point range. Vanderbilt is holding the opposition to .369 shooting (94-of-255) from the field and 62.8 points per game. Two Commodore players are averaging in double figures, as Jeffery Taylor and Jermaine Beal share team-high honors at 14.8 pg. A.J.Ogilvy leads the club with a 6.5 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Today's game is the second meeting of the two schools with Vanderbilt holding an 1-0 series advantage. Vanderbilt captured the only previous meeting, 107-76, on Dec. 29, 1956, in Nashville, Tenn. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Nashville, Tenn., and 0-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 110 in the UA basketball media guide for more series information.
AGAINST THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE: Arizona has a 13-21 (.382) record against current Southeastern Conference members. UA last faced an SEC foe on Dec. 5, 2004, in what was a 68-64 defeat of Mississippi State at the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif.
EA SPORTS MAUI INVITATIONAL HISTORY: Now in its 26th year as the premier early-season event, the EA Sports Maui Invitational and the University of Arizona have enjoyed a nice partnership. As mentioned earlier, the Cats have appeared four previous times (1993, 1997, 2000, 2005), won it once (2000) and finished second twice (1993, 1997). Overall, UA is 9-5 (.643) in the Maui Invitational. A win today would give the Cats the Cats 10 wins in Maui, which would place the program in sole possession of third place in terms of all-time wins. Here is a look at Arizona's game-by-game tourney results:
Dec. 21, 1993 vs. Notre Dame W, 98-79 Dec. 22, 1993 vs. Boston College W, 70-65 Dec. 23, 1993 vs. Kentucky L, 92-93 Nov. 24, 1997 vs. Boston College W, 99-69 Nov. 25, 1997 vs. Kentucky W, 89-74 Nov. 26, 1997 vs. Duke L, 87-95 Nov. 20, 2000 vs. Chaminade W, 97-57 Nov. 21, 2000 vs. Dayton W, 76-59 Nov. 22, 2000 vs. Illinois W, 79-76 Nov. 21, 2005 vs. Kansas W, 61-49 Nov. 22, 2005 vs. Connecticut L, 70-79 Nov. 23, 2005 vs. Michigan State L, 71-74 (ot) Nov. 23, 2009 vs. Wisconsin L, 61-65 Nov. 24, 2009 vs. Colorado W, 91-87 (ot)
THE 30-POINT PLATEAU: Senior point guard Nic Wise connected on 9-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-9 from three-point range en route to a career-high 30 points. Wise is just the second Wildcat player to score 30 or more points in the Maui Invitational. Khalid Reeves topped the 30-point plateau twice in 1993, scoring 32 points in a 98-79 win over Notre Dame on Dec. 21 and 31 points in a 93-92 Kentucky win over Arizona on Dec. 23. The last time a UA player scored 30 or more points came on Jan. 24, 2009, when Jordan Hill scored 30 in a 96-90 overtime win over Houston.
LONG DISTANCE RUNAROUND: Arizona's 14 treys Tuesday (in 24 attempts/.583) was the most for the program in a single game since the Cats connected on 14-of-23 attempts (.609) on Jan. 17, 2004, in a 97-72 win at UCLA. That covers a span of 189 games played. Forty-two of Arizona's 91 points (46 percent) came courtesy of the trey. UA's long distance shooting helped the squad offset a 38-18 points in the paint deficit to the Buffaloes.
ALOHA ACCURACY: Bolstered by .583 accuracy (14-of-24) from three-point range Tuesday, Arizona managed to shoot better than 50 percent from the field for the first time this season. UA hit 30-of-57 (.526) field goal attempts, including 19-of-33 (.576) in the second half and overtime vs. Colorado.
DON'T OVERLOOK HIM: It would be easy for the focal point of Tuesday's win to be Nic Wise's 30-point, four-rebound and six-assist performance, but don't overlook Jamelle Horne's contributions. The San Diego, Calif., native tallied 17 points (6-of-9 FG), eight rebounds, seven blocked shots and three assists. Oddly, the 6-foot-7 forward did most of his damage from the outside, as he connected on a career-best 5-of-5 three-point FG attempts to equal a school record in terms of single-game three-point percentage. Horne's seven blocks were a career high and the most for an Arizona player since Channing Frye swatted seven Oregon shots on Feb.17, 2005.
SHOWING SIGNS OF SUCCESS: Since practice started in mid-October, Sean Miller has indicated that Brendon Lavender is the Cats' best outside shooter. Well, that type of accuracy finally appeared in full force Tuesday, as Lavender connected on 6-of-9 field goal (3-of-6 treys) to finish with 16 points. The 6-foot-5 guard is shooting .429 (9-of-21) from the field this season. Incidentally, Lavender's 16 points in Tuesday's win was just two shy of his total for the entire 2008-09 campaign.
NOT ALL IS GREAT: Offensive rebounding continues to plague the Wildcats, as witnessed Tuesday by Colorado's 14-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Through four games, Arizona has been outrebounded offensively, 53-33, or by an average of 5.0 offensive rebounds per game. Additionally, Arizona is averaging 14.3 turnovers per game, 2.0 more per game than the opposition through four games and has a 54:47 assist:turnover ratio.
BALANCED: Through four games, four Arizona players are averaging in double figures: Nic Wise, 18.3 ppg; Derrick Williams, 13.5 ppg; Jamelle Horne, 13.3 ppg and Solomon Hill, 10.8 ppg. Four UA players have finished in double figures in three of UA's four games this season.
IN NOVEMBER: Fast starts have become the norm for the Wildcats. Over the last 25-plus seasons, Arizona is 67-19 (.779) in the month of November. The numbers are even more impressive considering the quality of competition, as 27 of 86 opponents (31.4 percent) were nationally ranked. In those contests, Arizona is 18-9 (.667). UA will play once more in November this season. In six seasons as a head coach, Sean Miller's teams are 24-5 (.828) during the month of November.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored a season-high 91 points Nov. 24 vs. Colorado, breaking the 80-point barrier for the second time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 182-19 (.905) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 2-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
UP NEXT: Following today's game, Arizona heads back to the mainland, and afer a few days off, will face UNLV on Wed., Dec. 2. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen on KGUN-TV and FS Arizona.