No. 3 Seed Arizona (30-6, 15-3) at NCAA Tournament Chicago Regional Final
Date: Saturday, March 26, 2005
Time: 6:05 p.m. CST
Location: Allstate Arena (17,500), Rosemont, Ill.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: CBS (Dick Enberg/Jay Bilas)
Game Data: No. 3 seed Arizona (30-6, 15-3 Pac-10) advanced to Saturday’s final of the 2005 NCAA Tournament’s Chicago Regional No. 1 seed Illinois (35-1, 15-1 Big Ten) ... All-time, Arizona is 40-22 (.645) in 24 NCAA Tournament action and 38-19 (.667) in the Lute Olson era ... Olson’s overall NCAA Tournament record improved to 45-25 (.645) ... Thursday’s win moved the Wildcats into the regional final for the second time in the last three seasons ... The Wildcats are 4-3 in NCAA Tournament regional finals.
The Rankings: After a runner-up finish at the Pac-10 Tourney, Arizona slipped to No. 9 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and to the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. UA has been ranked in 302 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire’s 15-foot jumper with 2.8 seconds remaining lifted Arizona to the 79-78 win Thursday over Oklahoma State in the NCAA Chicago Regional. Stoudamire’s game-winner capped a 7-2 Arizona run as the Wildcats rallied from a 76-72 deficit with 2:49 to play. Stoudamire 11 of his 19 points in the second half and was joined in double figures by Hassan Adams and Channing Frye, who each collected double-doubles in the win. Arizona shot 66 percent (31-of-47) from the floor in the contest.
The Series: Saturday’s game marks the 12th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 6-5 series advantage. The schools last met on Dec. 4, 2001, an 87-82 Arizona win in Phoenix. The two schools met three times during the 2000-01 season, including an 87-81 UA win on March 25, 2001, in the NCAA Midwest Regional final in San Antonio, Texas.
Against No. 1 Seeds: Arizona has a 6-3 (.667) record against No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The last time the Wildcats faced a No. 1 seed in the tournament, came April 2, 2001, in an 82-72 loss to Duke in the national championship game. Prior to that loss, Arizona had won five consecutive games against a No. 1 seed.
Against Ranked Opponents: Arizona’s one-point win over Oklahoma State improved the team’s record to 4-3 this season against nationally ranked opponents.
Winning the Close Ones: The 79-78 win improved the UA record this season to 8-1 in games decided by five points or less. By comparison, Arizona was just 4-6 in such contests last season.
Winning 30: Thursday’s win also gave Arizona its 30th win of the season, marking the third time in history the program has won 30 or more games ?- all under Lute Olson. Olson’s charges also topped the 30-win plateau in 1987-88 (35-3) and 1997-98 (30-5).
Doubling Up: Channing Frye certainly made his presence felt with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots on Thursday. For Frye, it was his team-leading eighth double-double of the season and the 29th of his career. Interestingly, Frye has shown the ability to rise to the occasion in the postseason, as he now has seven double-doubles in 11 career NCAA Tournament games, including six in his last eight tourney appearances dating back to 2003. He was joined in the double-your-pleasure category by Hassan Adams, who tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds. For Adams, it was his second consecutive double-double in the NCAA Tournament.
Straight Shooters: Bolstered by a starting lineup that combined to shoot 65.9 percent (27-of-41) from the floor against Oklahoma State, Arizona set school record for field goal percentage in NCAA Tournament play by shooting 66.0 percent (31-of-47). The effort topped the previous mark of 59.7 (37-of-62) against Valparaiso in a first round game on March 15, 1996. Incidentally, Arizona .549 (84-of-153) from the field in three NCAA Tournament games, 85 points better than its .464 shooting (864-of-1863) in 30 regular season.
Not Just a Scorer: In addition to his scoring prowess, Salim Stoudamire proved to be an astute decision maker on Thursday, as he equaled a career high with seven assists vs. Oklahoma State. Perhaps most impressively, the 6-foot-1 senior accomplished the feat without a turnover in 28 minutes played.
Close Quarters: In three NCAA Tournament games, Arizona has shown a nice ability to score close to the basket as 49 of the Wildcats’ 84 field goals scored (58 percent) have been scored inside the lane, including 34 on dunks, lay-ups or tip-ins.