Game 4: No. 10 Arizona (2-1) vs. Michigan (3-0)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 24 2004
Time: approx. 9:30 p.m. EST
Location: Madison Square Garden (19,763), New York, N.Y.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien/Len Elmore)
Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (2-1, 0-0 Pac-10) travels to New York City for the semifinals of the 2004 Preseason N.I.T. Wednesday vs. Michigan (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) ... It marks the Wildcats’ third trip to Madison Square Garden in the last four seasons ... All-time, UA is 14-1 (.933) in Preseason N.I.T. competition.
The Rankings: Arizona opened 2004-05 ranked 10th in the preseason edition of the Associated Press Top 25 poll and 11th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It marks the 17th time in the last 18 seasons in which the Cats have been nationally ranked in the preseason, including 10 times in the top 10. UA has been ranked in 286 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 713-250 (.740) and 521-158 (.767) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA’s John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 22-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ?'89, ?'90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 20 years, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four ... Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, ?'88, ?'89, ?'93, ?'94, ?'98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ?'81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s best winning percentage over the past 17 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 26 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 309-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 237 of its last 254 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 11-12 against Michigan.
Last Time Out: Virginia used a 14-2 run in the last six minutes of the first half to break open a two-point game and earn the 78-60 victory Sunday in Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers outrebounded Arizona, 37-32, forced 21 UA turnovers and outscored the Cats, 46-20, in the paint. UA shot just 39.7 percent for the game and got no closer than eight points in the second half. Channing Frye finished with game-high totals of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Scouting Michigan: The Wolverines enter Wednesday’s semifinal with a 3-0 record after last Friday’s 70-49 win over Sacramento State. Michigan shoots .408 (62-of-152) from the floor, outrebounds the opposition by a +2.3 margin per game and uses a 60-25 scoring advantage from the free throw line to outscore opponents an average of 14.3 points per game. Four UM players average in double figures, led by Dion Harris’ 18.0 ppg clip. Courtney Sims leads the team with an 8.3 rebounds per game average.
The Series: Wednesday’s game marks the eighth meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 5-2 series advantage. Michigan captured the last meeting, 73-71, on Dec. 21, 1996, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The two teams have met once before in the Preseason N.I.T. semifinals, an 86-79 Arizona win on Nov. 22, 1995. All-time, Arizona is 1-1 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Ann Arbor and 4-0 in neutral-site games.
Against the Big Ten: All-time, Arizona is 27-26 (.509) against teams that currently make up the Big Ten Conference. The last time Arizona played a Big Ten foe, it lost at Michigan State, 74-60, on Dec. 15, 2001. That was the last of three straight games against Big Ten opposition, as UA also defeated Illinois (87-82/12/4/2001) and Purdue (79-66/12/8/2001) in that 11-day span.
In November: Fast starts certainly are the norm for the Wildcats under Lute Olson. Over the past 21 years, Arizona is 48-9 (.842) in the month of November. Sunday’s 78-60 loss at Virginia was the worst November loss in Lute Olson’s tenure at Arizona. The previous high was a 95-87 loss to Duke, Nov. 26, 1997, at the Maui Invitational.
Preseason N.I.T. History: Celebrating its 20th year as the nation’s premier early-season college basketball tournament, the Preseason N.I.T. and the University have mutually prospered under its spotlight. As mentioned earlier, the Wildcats have now participated in the event five times (1986, 1990, 1995, 1999) and won the tournament three times (1990, 1995, 1999). All-time, Arizona has a 14-1 record in Preseason N.I.T. play, including a 6-0 mark at Madison Square Garden. Currently, Arizona is tied with Kansas for the most Preseason N.I.T. championships won with three. Here is a look at UA’s game-by-game tournament results:
Nov. 21, 1986 at UNLV L 87-92 Las Vegas, Nev.
Nov. 14, 1990 Austin Peay W 122-80 Tucson
Nov. 16, 1990 East Tennessee State W 88-79 Tucson
Nov. 21, 1990 vs. Notre Dame W 91-61 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 23, 1990 vs. Arkansas W 89-77 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 15, 1995 Long Beach State W 91-57 Tucson
Nov. 17, 1995 at Arkansas W 83-73 Fayetteville, Ark.
Nov. 22, 1995 vs. Michigan W 86-79 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 24, 1995 vs. Georgetown W 91-81 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 16, 1999 Kansas State W 88-69 Tucson
Nov. 19, 1999 New Mexico State W 84-60 Tucson
Nov. 24, 1999 vs. Notre Dame W 76-60 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 26, 1999 vs. Kentucky W 63-51 New York, N.Y.
Nov. 16, 2004 vs. San Diego W 80-69 Tucson
Nov. 18, 2004 vs. Wright State W 83-67 Tucson
At MSG: Since making its first appearance at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in December of 1947, Arizona has compiled a 10-4 (.714) mark all-time at "The World’s Most Famous Arena," including a 9-0 record under Lute Olson. Incidentally, six of those wins have come in Preseason N.I.T. action.
Lute At The Garden: Lute Olson’s success at MSG is not limited to his time in Tucson. Since making its first appearance in the facility while at Long Beach State in a 60-46 win over Long Island on Dec. 15, 1973, Olson is a spotless 10-0 on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets. Here is a quick look:
Dec. 15, 1973 Long Beach State 60, Long Island 46
Nov. 21, 1990* Arizona 91, Notre Dame 61
Nov. 23, 1990* Arizona 89, Arkansas 77
Nov. 22, 1995* Arizona 86, Michigan 79
Nov. 24, 1995* Arizona 91, Georgetown 81
Nov. 24, 1999* Arizona 76, Notre Dame 60
Nov. 26, 1999* Arizona 63, Kentucky 51
Nov. 8, 2001 Arizona 71, Maryland 67
Nov. 9, 2001 Arizona 75, Florida 71
Dec. 9, 2003 Arizona 91, Texas 83
* Preseason N.I.T. games
Nightmare: Not much went well for the Wildcats in Sunday’s loss at Virginia, as Arizona suffered its first loss of the season. UA was outrebounded for the first time in three games, committed a season-high 21 turnovers, shot less than 40 percent from the floor and allowed Virginia to shoot better than 54 percent for the game, including 63.3 percent in the second half. Adding insult to injury was the Cavaliers’ 46-20 points-in-the-paint advantage.
Stepping Up: Hassan Adams put forth his best effort of the season, collecting 14 points on 5-of-10 field goal shooting, grabbing five rebounds and passing out three assists. The 6-foot-4 Adams also took his first three three-point field goal attempts this year and knocked one down in the second half. On the year, he is averaging 10.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Off the Mark: Entering Sunday’s game shooting a cumulative .508 (32-of-63) from the floor in the first half, the Cats never found the mark at Virginia as the club connected on just 9-of-27 (.333) FG attempts. That was a UA season low for any half this year.
Overtaken: Through three games, the opposition has outscored UA, 135-118, in the final 20 minutes. In that span, opponents are shooting .548 (51-of-93), markedly better than UA’s 39.6 (44-of-111) percent effort.
Milestone Ahead: En route to his first double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) of the season at Virginia, center Channing Frye connected on 7-of-13 field goal attempts. That left the 6-foot-11 senior just four field goals shy of 500 for his career. He’s averaged 5.0 field goals made per game in his 99-game career. Incidentally, Frye has 22 career double-doubles and 25 career double-
figure rebound games.
Unproductive: For a team that has led the nation in scoring in each of the last two seasons, Sunday’s 60-point output was, indeed, tough to take. It’s been 90 games since Arizona scored 60 points or less, since a 74-60 loss at Michigan State on Dec. 15, 2001. It’s been 132 games since UA was held to less than 60 points, dating back to the last game of the 1999-2000 season, A 66-59 loss to Wisconsin.
From the Point: In his 33-game career, Arizona is 17-3 when Mustafa Shakur passes out five or more assists in a game. So it would only figure that it’s a good thing that the 6-foot-3 point guard is averaging 6.3 assists per game on the young season. In addition to his ability to distribute the ball, Shakur is averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds, while shooting 46.2 percent from the field.
At the Line: While Arizona’s 75.6 percent free throw shooting is down slightly from the 78.6 percent mark that ranked second nationally in 2003-04, what is alarming this season is the fact that UA just isn’t getting to the line as often. This season, Arizona is averaging 15.0 free throw attempts per game as a team, 6.6 attempts fewer than last season. For example, Channing Frye averaged 3.5 free throw attempts per game for his career entering the season. In three games this year, the Phoenix native has attempted just four free throws total.
Experimentation: Counting exhibitions, Arizona has played four games this season using the international three-point line and connected on 43.1 percent (25-of-58) of its attempts. By comparison, UA had connected on 37.9 percent (3693-of-9746) of its shots from behind the arc since the advent of the rule in 1986-87. Maybe UA should have used the international three-point line Sunday at Virginia, where the Cats shot a season-low 20.8 percent (5-of-24) from behind three-point range.
Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 19 of a possible 26 first-place votes and 253 points overall. Washington (237), Stanford (194) and Oregon (167) rounded out the top four places. It is the 10th time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 126-16 (.887) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats have topped the 80-point plateau in both wins this season.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Arizona will play again on Friday, Nov. 26. Depending on Wednesday’s results, the Cats will take on Providence or Wake Forest in either the consolation or championship game.