Nov. 26, 2012
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
Time: 8 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Jim Rosborough) [Sirius/XM: 132/192]
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Jim Watson/Matt Muehlebach)
GAME DATA: Ninth-ranked Arizona (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Northern Arizona (2-3, 0-0 Big Sky) Wednesday in McKale Center ... The Cats and `Jacks meet for the 122nd time on the hardwood, the third-most games of any series in UA history ... To date, Arizona is averaging a robust 82.7 points per game ... The Wildcats field goal percentage has improved in each of its first three games this year, and cumulatively stands at 49.1 percent (79-of-161) ... UA plays four games in the next 11 days beginning tonight.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls this week. The Cats' No 9 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller during the regular season, and the first time UA has been ranked as high in-season since coming in at No. 8 in the Jan. 8, 2007, coaches' poll.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 192-82 (.701) and 72-35 (.673) at Arizona ... In his eight-year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... He guided UA to 30 wins and the 2011 Pac-10 regular-season championship in a run that culminated in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... 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 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 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 NIT) and has an 9-5 (.643) 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 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... Miller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seasons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 3-0 vs. Northern Arizona as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona shot 53.6 percent, held a 41-23 rebound advantage and forced 17 turnovers, while Brandon Ashley posted 20 points and 10 boards in leading Arizona to a 94-72 win Nov. 19 over Long Beach State. Seven different Wildcats scored in a 20-4 run over a span of 6:58 in the first half to break things open, as Arizona shot 63 percent from the floor (30-fo-56) in the opening period. Kevin Parrom hit all five of his field goal attempts to finish with 15 points, while Solomon Hill tallied 15 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ARIZONA: The Lumberjacks enter tonight's game with a 2-3 record (0-0 Big Sky) following a 70-62 win Saturday over Campbell. On the season, NAU averages 66.0 points per game, shots 43.1 percent from the floor (122-of-283), 33.7 percent (34-of-101) from three-point range and 68.4 percent (52-of-76) from the line. Opponents average 73.8 points, outrebound the Lumberjacks by 6.0 per game and shot 44.6 percent from the floor (131-of-294). Individually, two NAU players average in double figures, led by Gabe Rogers' 16.6 ppg figure. Gaellan Bewernick leads the `Jacks with a 6.0 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: Tonight's game is the 122nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 94-27 series advantage. Arizona has won 28 straight games in the series and 43 of the last 46, including last season's 53-39 win in Tucson on Dec. 3. All-time, Arizona is 65-5 in series games played in Tucson, 29-21 in Flagstaff, and 0-1 in neutral-site games. For more information, please see page 47 of the UA media guide.
THE LAST MEETING: Arizona 53, Northern Arizona 39; Dec. 3, 2011: Kyle Fogg hit three treys in the first 2:24 of the second half to spur a 10-2 burst that essentially put the game out of reach. Both teams struggled from the floor, but Arizona's long-range touch proved to be the difference as six of the Cats' 10 second-half field goal came from behind the arc. UA outrebounded NAU, 29-26, collected 15 assists and had a season-low seven turnovers. Solomon Hill led all scorers with 15 points, while Fogg finished with 11.
WILDCAT-LUMBERJACK CONNECTIONS: Arizona welcomes back one of its own Wednesday, as Jack Murphy returns to Tucson as the NAU head coach. Murphy served in a variety of capacities within the basketball program from 1998-2006, including manager, video coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Also courtside this evening is longtime UA assistant coach Jim Rosborough, who will be serving as the color commentator for the Wildcat Radio Network. Rosborough was a member of the UA coaching staff for 18 seasons (1989-2007). In their eight seasons together, Murphy and Rosborough helped Arizona post a 199-66 record (.751), win four Pac-10 regular-season or postseason tournament championships, and earn a berth in the 2001 national championship game.
ADD HIM TO THE LIST: Senior forward Solomon Hill notched his 1,000th career point vs. Long Beach State with a free throw with 4:20 remaining to become the 47th player in Arizona history to accomplish the feat. That makes Arizona one of just 12 schools nationally - North Carolina, Louisville, Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, Notre Dame, Marshall, UCLA, West Virginia and Wake Forest are the others - to have 47 or more 1,000-point scorers in their respective histories.
ON THE REBOUND: Since finding itself outrebounded by three in the season opener, Arizona certainly has dominated the glass in the last two games, outrebounding UTEP and Long Beach State by a combined 2:1 margin, or 78-36. In fact, UA has 26 offensive rebounds in that span, more than twice as many (11) as the Miners and 49ers managed. To date, Arizona enjoys a +11.7 rebound margin with four players averaging 4.0 rpg or better.
CAUSE AND EFFECT: The Wildcats definitely started fast against Long Beach State, connecting on 63.0 percent (17-of-27) of its attempts from the floor in the opening period. Such accuracy led to 50 first-half points on Nov. 19. Interestingly, the latter of those accomplishments proved to be more rare, as Arizona hadn't registered a 50-point first half since dropping 57 on Northern Colorado on Nov. 21, 2010. By comparison, UA last connected on 63 percent of its first-half attempts vs. California (17-of-27) on Feb. 2, 2012, in what was a 78-74 road win for the Wildcats.
ON TARGET: Bolstered by Kevin Parrom, who equaled a school record for single-game three-point field goal percentage last week with 5-of-5 shooting, Arizona connected on 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from long range against the 49ers. That effort raised UA's three-game three-point percentage to .420 (29-of-69), a figure that ranks fourth among Pac-12 squads. Last season, Arizona connected on 37.8 percent of its attempts from behind the arc (258-of-683).
PILING UP THE POINTS: Arizona posted 94 points in the win over Long Beach State, a high-water mark just three games into the campaign, and marked the Wildcats' highest point total since tallying 100 vs. Bryant on Dec. 22, 2011. It was the eighth time in the Sean Miller era that UA has scored 90 or more points and the team is 8-0 when that happens.
POSITIVE INDICATORS: The Wildcats have posted a positive assist:turnover ratio in two of three games so far, and its current mark of 1.4:1 is certainly respectable. It's worth noting that last season such a positive effort was a 50-50 proposition - UA accomplished the feat 18 times in 35 games - and its assist:turnover ratio was 1.1:1 in 2011-12.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Arizona shot better than 50 percent from the field in its last outing, hitting 30-of-56 (.536) from the floor. In the Sean Miller era, Arizona is 27-1 (.964) when topping the 50-percent shooting plateau. Individually, five Cats have a field goal percentage of 50 percent or better through the first three games.
QUITE AN EFFORT: Freshman forward Brandon Ashley posted UA's first double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds vs. LBSU. The San Francisco, Calif., product missed just one shot all evening, connecting on all six field goal attempts and 8-of-9 (.889) of his free throws. He also added two blocks and a steal in 24 minutes of action. Ashley is the first UA player to score at least 20 points or grab double-figure rebounds in a single game this season. He leads Arizona with per game averages of 13.7 points and 7.7 rebounds, while shooting 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from the field.
NICE NUMBERS: Sophomore Nick Johnson continues to perform well here in the early part of the season, as witnessed by his 12-point, five-assist (zero turnovers) and three-steal effort vs. Long Beach State. On the year, the guard from Gilbert, Ariz., is averaging 10.3 points per game and leads Arizona with 13 assists and four steals.
SOLID IN THE MIDDLE: Center Kaleb Tarczewski continues to do good things in the middle, as he tallied seven points, five rebounds, four blocked shots and a pair of steals against Long Beach State. The 7-foot freshman from Claremont, N.H., is averaging 6.3 points and 5.0 rebounds, while shooting 60.0 percent (6-of-10) from the field. Incidentally, Tarczewski joins Nick Johnson, Angelo Chol, Jamelle Horne and Jordan Hill as the only Wildcats to block four or more shots in a single game since the start of the 2008-09 season.
PRODUCING: Senior Solomon Hill currently ranks second on the team with a 13.0 ppg average, and over the last two contests has been good at other aspects as well. Against both UTEP and Long Beach State, the 6-foot-7 forward collected six boards and four assists. Through three games, Hill ranks second in scoring, rebounding (5.7 rpg) and assists (3.3 apg).
PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the league, Arizona was picked to finish first in this season's Pac-12 Conference race (see poll at left). The Cats received 403 points and 15 first-place votes, topping the rest of the league by one point. UCLA, California and Stanford rounded out the top-four spots in the poll. It's the first time since 2005-06 that Arizona was the preseason favorite and the Wildcats have been the preseason target a league-leading 12 times since the poll debuted in 1989-90.
IN NOVEMBER: Fast starts have become a regular occurrence for the Wildcats. The program is a cumulative 80-23 (.776) in the month of November over the last 28-plus seasons. Those numbers are even more impressive considering the strength of the opposition, as nearly 30 percent of those foes (29 of 103) were nationally ranked at the time of the game. In those contests, Arizona is 18-11 (.621).
SCORING 80: Arizona scored 94 points on Nov. 19 vs. Long Beach State, topping the 80-point plateau for the second time this year (2-0). Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 208-20 (.912) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Rondae Jefferson (F, 6-7, 215) from Chester, Pa., who preps at Chester H.S.; and Elliott Pitts (G, 6-5, 180) from Dublin, Calif., who preps at De La Salle H.S.; make up a class that is ranked No. 18 nationally by espn.com.
UP NEXT: Following tonight's game, the Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Lubbock, Texas, to face Texas Tech. Tip-off on Saturday, Dec. 1, is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and will be televised by ESPNU.