Feb. 28, 2011
Complete Release in PDF Format
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins/Marques Johnson)
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Live Audio
Game Data: No. 18 Arizona (23-6, 12-4 Pac-10) caps the regular season with a pair of home games beginning Thursday vs. Oregon State (10-17, 5-11 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... The Wildcats enter the final week of the season with a share of the conference lead with three teams remaining alive in the chase for a championship ... UA enjoys a +16.6 scoring margin in 15 home games this season to go with a .496 (395-of-797) field goal percentage and a .425 percentage (122-of-287) from three-point range ... Arizona ranks 13th nationally with a .401 (228-of-568) three-point field goal percentage through 29 games ... The last four games in the series have been decided by a total of 15 points (3.8 ppg).
The Rankings: Arizona has been ranked for five consecutive weeks and currently is No. 18 in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. UA's five straight weeks in both national polls equals a season long for a Pac-10 club in 2010-11.
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 159-68 (.700) and 39-21 (.650) 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 their 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 17 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, 42, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-3 vs. Oregon State as a head coach.
Last Time Out: Arizona really had no answer for the UCLA frontline, as Reeves Nelson, Tyler Honeycutt and Josh Smith combined for 49 points and 25 rebounds and handed the Wildcats its worst loss of the season, 71-49, Saturday in Los Angeles. Trailing 26-25 with 6:26 to go in the first, UCLA ripped off a 26-4 run over the next 10:30 and never looked back. Arizona shot a season-low 31.5 percent from the field and was outrebounded, 40-26. Derrick Williams tallied 15 points and Kyle Fogg added 10 in what was the final game in Pauley Pavilion before it undergoes renovations.
Scouting Oregon State: The Beavers enter tonight's game with a 10-17 record (5-11 Pac-10) following Saturday's 87-76 loss to California. On the season, OSU averages 69.8 points, shoots 42.4 percent from the floor (643-of-1517), 29.7 percent (141-of-475) from three-point range and 68.5 percent (457-of-667) from the line. Opponents average 72.6 points, outrebound OSU by 0.7 boards per game and shoot 46.5 percent from the floor (680-of-1462). Individually, one OSU player averages in double-figures, Jared Cunningham at 13.8 points per game figure. Omari Johnson leads the Beavers with a 6.1 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Tonight's game is the 72nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 51-20 series advantage. UA has won 18 of the last 23 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, but OSU won the last meeting, 76-75, on Jan. 2 in Corvallis. All-time, Arizona is 28-6 in series games played in Tucson, 20-14 in Corvallis, and 3-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 44 in the UA media guide.
Last Meeting: Oregon State 76, Arizona 75, Jan. 2, 2011: Arizona was its own worst enemy in a one-point loss, surrendering 19 turnovers, giving up 12 offensive boards in losing the rebound battle and missing 13 free throws. UA shot 56 percent from the field, but because of the lackluster effort found itself trailing for the final 19:32. Lamont Jones led all scorers with 20 points, while Derrick Williams (16) and Kyle Fogg (10) also reached double figures, but couldn't overcome a 17-2 OSU advantage in second-chance points.
Player-of-the-Year Finalist: University of Arizona men's basketball player Derrick Williams has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Oscar Robertson Trophy, announced Monday by the United States Basketball Writers Association. In addition to Williams, the list of 10 finalists for the award, which is given to college basketball's player of the year, includes Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young; Jordan Hamilton, Texas; JaJuan Johnson, Purdue; Terrence Jones, Kentucky; Marcus Morris, Kansas; Kyle Singler, Duke; Nolan Smith, Duke; Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; and Kemba Walker, Connecticut.
What's at Stake: Losses last week in Los Angeles marked the first time this season that Arizona had lost consecutive games this season. With a pair of games remaining on the schedule, the Wildcats are tied with UCLA atop the Pac-10 standings with identical 12-4 records. If UA can return home - UA is 15-0 this season - and win both of those contests, it would earn no worse than a share of the Pac-10 regular season championship. It would be Arizona's first regular season crown since 2005.
Worth Noting: Kyryl Natyazhko averaged just 1.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in two appearances last week, but was singled out by UA head coach Sean Miller for a solid effort in Saturday's game. "Kyryl probably played his best game at Arizona," he said. "He was big, he was active, and he did what we asked him to do. He was one of the few players for us to have a physical presence on the court (Saturday)." The sophomore center grabbed one rebound in one minute of action Thursday at USC before collecting two points, three rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes of action Saturday at UCLA. The 16 minutes played were the most for Natyazhko in Pac-10 play, in fact it was more minutes than he had logged in the previous five games combined. On the season, Natyazhko is averaging 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, while shooting .491 (26-of-53) from the field in 29 appearances.
Rewrite!: Arizona had followed a similar script in rolling to 23 wins: accurate shooting, control the boards and get to the free throw line. None of that happened in Los Angeles, as Arizona connected on just 33.6 percent (36-of-107) of its field goal attempts, managed just 30.5 rebounds per game (4.7 fewer rebounds than its season average), and made 24-of-35 (.686) attempts from the line. USC and UCLA combined to shoot .476 (49-of-103) from the field, post a +7.0 rebound margin, and shoot 79.5 percent (35-of-44) from the free throw line. For comparison's sake, Arizona normally outshoots its opponents from the floor by 35 percentage points (.470-.435), post a +4.7 rebound margin, and outscore foes from the free throw line by an average of 3.7 points per game.
Keep your eye on the ball: Another measure of what went wrong for the Cats last weekend can be found in the assists and steals columns. One is a pretty good measure of ball movement offensively, and the other a solid measure of ball pressure on defense. In its games this week, Arizona collected only nine assists on 36 made field goal (25 percent), while opponents passed out 22 helpers on 49 buckets (45 percent). On average, Arizona collects an assist on 55 percent of its made baskets (404 of 734). On the other end, the Wildcats nabbed three steals on the weekend, a figure that was just over half of the team's 5.1 steals per game average.
Strength in these numbers: One area that continues to be a strength for UA is its three-point field goal percentage defense. In the two games this week, Arizona limited the Trojans and Bruins to 3-of-21 (.143) shooting from behind the arc. Through 29 games, UA holds opponents to 27.4 percent shooting (122-of-445) from three-point range, a figure that leads the nation. Only three opponents in Pac-10 play have managed to shoot better than 33 percent from long range against the Cats this season.
Return to Form: As mentioned above, Arizona shot a cumulative 33.6 percent (36-of-107) from the field this week, but what was most disconcerting was the fact that UA's starters were so off the mark. In the two games this week, Wildcat starters connected on just 29.3 percent of its shots from the floor (22-of-75). On the season, the quintet of Derrick Williams, Jesse Perry, Solomon Hill, Kyle Fogg and Lamont Jones have combined to make 47.8 percent (478-of-999) of its field goal attempts.
A Strong Contributor: Junior guard Kyle Fogg, continues to play steady basketball, tallying 10 points, four rebounds and three assists Saturday at UCLA. The 6-foot-3 native Brea, Calif., leads the Wildcats with 36 three-point field goals and 80 assists. In fact, his 1.82:1 assist:turnover ratio is the best on the squad. Fogg was 2-of-5 from three-point range Saturday and has made multiple treys in eight games this season. To date, he is averaging 8.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest.
He's Still Pretty Good: Certainly, Derrick Williams wasn't at his best last week, as his 36-game streak of games in double figures ended Thursday, and averaged 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots in the pair of games. However, but he did manage to post a few notable numbers. The 6-foot-8 sophomore All-America candidate collected 11 rebounds Thursday vs. USC, marking the 10th time this season that he has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in a single game. He also blocked a career-high three shots Saturday at UCLA and leads the Wildcats with 23 blocks. On the season, Williams is averaging 19.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while shooting .609 from the field.
Quite a Pace: For much of the season Derrick Williams has led the nation in free throw attempts, and the 6-foot-8 sophomore is nearing the school records for free throws made and attempted in a single. Currently, Williams' totals of 193 made and 254 attempts both rank third behind Khalid Reeves, who made 211 of 264 (.799) charity tosses in 1993-94. No player in Arizona history has averaged more FT attempts per game than Williams' average of 8.1 per game.
California Nightmare: Make no mistake, Arizona went to Southern California and played two of its worst games of the season. Not only did the Cats drop two games and fall into a tie for the Pac-10 lead, but the team's 106 points last weekend was its lowest offensive output in back-to-back games to date. Additionally, UA's 49 points Saturday was the lowest single-game total of the year, and the 22-point defeat equaled its worst of the season (BYU). Arizona averages 76.6 points per game through 29 games, but averaged just 53.0 points per game in its two outings last week.
Scoring 80: Arizona scored 87 points Feb. 19 at California, topping the 80-point plateau for the 12th time this year (12-0). Arizona has scored 80 in nine of 15 home games this season. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 198-19 (.912) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: The Arizona coaching staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letter-of-Intent in the November early signing period. Nick Johnson (G, 6-2, 180) from Gilbert, Ariz., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Sidiki Johnson (F, 6-8, 220) from the Bronx, N.Y, who preps at Wadleigh H.S. in Harlem; and Josiah Turner (G, 6-3, 185) from Sacramento, Calif., who preps at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C.; make up a class that was ranked in the top-10 nationally by both espn.com and rivals.com.
Up Next: Following tonight's game, the Wildcats close the regular season Saturday by hosting Oregon. Tip-off is scheduled for noon MST and can be seen nationally on CBS-TV.