Nov. 20, 2009
Date: Monday, Nov. 23, 2009
Time: 7 p.m. HST
Location: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400), Lahaina, Hawaii
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPN2 (Sean McDonough/Bill Raftery/Jay Bilas)
GAME DATA: Arizona (2-0, 0-0 Pac-10) heads to the Valley Isle of Maui to take on Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) in Monday's fourth quarterfinal to open the 26th annual EA Sports Maui Invitational ... It marks the fifth appearance for Arizona in this marquee event (1993, 1997, 2000, 2005) ... The Wildcats and Badgers, who haven't met since 2006, traveled a combined 7,036 miles for this neutral-site match-up ... In 12 previous Maui Invitational games, UA averages 82.4 points per game and has broken the 90-point plateau four times.
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.
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 122-47 (.722) and 2-0 (1.000) 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 ... Sean Miller is 1-0 against Wisconsin as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Four players in double figures proved to be enough to offset an up-and-down defensive effort as Arizona posted a 66-49 win Thursday over Rice. UA limited the Owls to .194 (6-of-31) shooting in the first half and led by as many as 18 points early and 13 at the half before Rice cut the deficit to six points with just over 12 minutes to go. Nic Wise helped UA pull away from there, finishing with a game-high 15 points, seven assists and five steals, while Jamelle Horne, Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams also scored 10 or more points.
SCOUTING WISCONSIN: The Badgers improved to 2-0 on the young season following Wednesday's 58-42 win over Oakland. UW has been stingy in its two victories, allowing an average of 44.0 points per game and outrebounding the opposition by 9.0 boards per game. The Badgers are shooting 49.0 percent (50-of-102) from the field as a team and are holding opponents to just .304 (31-of-102) shooting from the floor, including .188 (6-of-32) from behind the arc. Individually, the balanced Badger attack sees seven players averaging 5.0 points or better, led by Jon Leuer's 15.5 ppg average. Keaton Nankivill's 6.5 rebounds per game mark leads the team.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the fifth meeting of the two schools with the series knotted at two wins apiece. Arizona won the last meeting of the series, which dates back to Dec. 3, 1962, 94-75 on March 17, 2006 in an NCAA Minneapolis Region first round game in Philadelphia. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 1-0 in Madison, Wis., and 1-1 in neutral-site games. Please see page 110 of the UA basketball media guide for more information.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 94, Wisconsin 75, March 17, 2006: UA scored on its first eight possessions, jumped out to a 24-8 lead nine minutes in and cruised to the 94-75 win over Wisconsin. In what could have been Arizona's best all-around performance of the season, the squad shot 59.3 percent from the field, posted a 36-27 rebound margin and had five players finish in double figures. Hassan Adams scored a game-high 21 points, while Ivan Radenovic tallied 18 points and Mustafa Shakur added 17 points and nine assists.
AGAINST THE BIG TEN: Arizona has a 31-29 (.517) record against current Big Ten Conference members. UA is 4-3 against the league over the previous five seasons, last facing a Big Ten opponent on Dec. 8, 2007, in what was a 78-72 (ot) defeat of Illinois at the United Center in Chicago.
IN NOVEMBER: Fast starts have become the norm for the Wildcats. Over the last 25-plus seasons, Arizona is 66-18 (.786) in the month of November. The numbers are even more impressive considering the quality of competition, as 27 of 84 opponents (32.1 percent) were nationally ranked. In those contests, Arizona is 18-9 (.667). UA will play three more times in November this season. In six seasons as a head coach, Sean Miller's teams are 23-4 (.852) during the month of November.
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 8-4 (.667) in the Maui Invitational. 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)
TRAVELING TO THE ISLANDS: In addition to Arizona's history in the Maui Invitational, the Wildcats have played a total of 22 games in the Aloha State. All-time, UA is 15-7 (.682) in games played in Hawaii, including berths in the Rainbow Classic (1968, 1975), Hawaii-Pacific Classic (1984) and the Hawaii Tip-Off Tourney (1991).
AGAINST THE MAUI FIELD: The Wildcats have a cumulative 16-11 (.593) record against the seven foes that make up the 2009 Maui Invitational field. Arizona is 1-0 vs. Chaminade, 3-0 vs. Cincinnati, 4-8 vs. Colorado, 3-0 vs. Gonzaga, 3-0 vs. Maryland, 0-1 vs. Vanderbilt and 2-2 vs. Wisconsin.
AN INVERSE RELATIONSHIP: Learning to play at a high level for 40 miniutes can be lost at times on a young squad, and perhaps that has something to do with Arizona's first- and second-half efforts so far. Through two games, Arizona is shooting .500 from the field (31-of-62) and averaging 42.0 points per game in the first half, and .433 (26-of-60) and 34.5 ppg in the second. Defensively, the numbers are inversely related: opponents are shooting .283 (17-of-60) and averaging 26.5 points (-16.5 points) in the opening period and .424 (28-of-66) and 34.0 ppg (-0.5 points) in the send period. UA's freshmen are averaging 86.5 minutes per game, or 43 percent of the playing time.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Senior Nic Wise equaled a career high with five steals in Thursday's win to propel the Wildcats to 11 steals, a high to date. Obviously, the season is just 80 minutes old, so a season high isn't that newsworthy. But reaching double figures is. By comparison, Arizona collected 10 or more steals in a game just three times in 35 outings a year ago.
BOARD WORK: Despite having six players with four or more rebounds, Arizona was outrebounded for the first time this season vs. Rice, 41-39. Arizona's still carries a +3.0 rebound margin into the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Jamelle Horne leads the team with a 9.0 rebounds per game average, while Solomon Hill averages 5.5 rebounds per contest.
FRONT LINE FORTITUDE: The Wildcat starting frontline of Derrick Williams, Jamelle Horne and Solomon Hill put forth a solid effort in Thursday's victory, combining for 35 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. The trio connected on 16-of-32 shots from the floor (.500). Incidentally, 20 of those 35 points came in the second half against Rice.
STEADYING INFLUENCE: Make no mistake about it, Nic Wise is the force that drives the Wildcats. Thursday against Rice, the 5-foot-10 product of Houston, Texas, tallied 15 points, seven assists and five steals in 35 minutes. Wise connected on 6-of-10 field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, to notch the 43rd double-figure scoring game of his career. The seven assists pushed Wise over the 300-assist plateau for his career and improved his career record to 20-9 (.690) in games in which he passes out five or more assists.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Freshman forward Derrick Williams connected on 5-of-10 field goals en route to 10 points on Thursday to post his first collegiate game in double figures. The 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., also grabbed six boards and collected a pair of assists and steals in 29 well-rounded minutes. In the effort, Williams grabbed a team-high three offensive rebounds.
SECOND THINGS SECOND: Solomon Hill has certainly made the most of his two collegiate games, as the freshman ranks second on the club with per game averages of 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds to date, and has scored in double figures in both. The 6-foot-6 forward is also one of two Wildcats (Wise) to be shooting better than 50 percent from the field (11-of-20/.550).
THE POWER OF EIGHT: Coach Miller said early on this preseason that he would use his roster liberally, and that has been the case as 12 players have seen action and eight of those players are averaging 17 minutes per game or better. All 153 points (76.5 ppg) so far have been recorded by those eight players.
PAC-10 PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in this season's Pac-10 race. The Wildcats received 221 points (see chart at left), trailing California, Washington and UCLA. It's the third consecutive year that UA has been tabbed fourth. On a historical note, Arizona has been the preseason favorite 11 times in the last 20 years.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 87 points in the season opener, breaking the 80-point barrier for the first time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 181-19 (.905) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 1-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
EARLY SIGNEE: The Arizona coaching staff signed one student-athlete to a National-Letter-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Daniel Bejarano (G, 6-5, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., North High School. According to Bob Gibbons' All-Star Sports Top 250, he is No. 40 overall prospect in the country.
UP NEXT: Following tonight's game, Arizona will meet either Colorado or Gonzaga in Tuesday's second round. Should the Wildcats win, that game would tip-off at 4:30 p.m. HST and be seen nationally on ESPN. If the Cats lose, the game would begin at 11 a.m. HST and be televised on ESPN2.