Game 2: No. 10 Arizona (1-0) vs. Wright State (1-0)
Date: Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott/Todd Walsh)
Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) advanced to the second round of the 2004 Preseason N.I.T. to host Wright State (1-0, 0-0 HL) ... Tonight’s winner advances to the semifinals in New York City ... This is Arizona’s fourth appearance (1986, ?'90, ?'95, ?'99) in the Preseason N.I.T. and UA has a cumulative 13-1 (.929) record in the event.
The Rankings: Arizona will open 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 712-249 (.741) and 520-157 (.768) 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 308-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 236 of its last 253 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 0-0 against Wright State.
Last Time Out: Mustafa Shakur and Ivan Radenovic each posted career highs in leading the Wildcats to a season-opening 80-69 victory over San Diego Tuesday in the first round of the Preseason N.I.T. Shakur (23) and Radenovic (20) combined for 43 of UA’s 80 points and led a charge that saw the Wildcats build as much as a 24-point lead. Arizona shot just 39.2 percent from the floor, but managed a 46-38 rebound advantage.
Scouting Wright State: Four Wright State starters finished in double figures to lead the squad to a 72-66 overtime win at Tulsa on Tuesday. Sophomore guard DaShaun Wood tallied 22 points, nine boards and four assists in 44 minutes of action. WSU shot 50 percent from the floor for the game, including 64.7 percent (11-of-17) in the second half and got nine of its 16 points in overtime from the free throw line. Against Tulsa, no Raider starter played less than 39 minutes.
The Series: Thursday’s game marks the first meeting of the two schools. Arizona is 5-1 (.833) against Horizon League opponents.
In November: Fast starts certainly are the norm for the Wildcats under Lute Olson. Over the past 21 years, Arizona is 47-8 (.855) in the month of November.
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 13-1 record in Preseason N.I.T. play, including a 6-0 mark at McKale Center. 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
Back In Action: After recovering from left knee surgery and sitting out the first three games of this season (including exhibitions) for "failure to meet team responsibilities," junior forward returns to action for the first time since Nov. 28, 2003. In his 66-game career, the 6-foot-9 Fox is averaging 4.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. In his last McKale Center appearance, Nov. 24, 2003, vs. Northern Arizona, Fox posted his lone career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Battle of Attrition: Tonight’s game may boil down to a question of wills, as both teams relied heavily on its starting lineup. Against San Diego, Arizona used eight players and its starting five averaged 34.4 minutes. To beat Tulsa in overtime, Wright State also used just eight players and its starters averaged 42.4 minutes.
First the Good: Anytime you can win, especially when shooting 39.2 (29-of-74) from the field, that qualifies as a good thing, which the Wildcats accomplished on Tuesday. UA also had two players (Frye/Radenovic) reach double figures in rebounds, marking the first time since Jan. 10, 2004, that two UA players had grabbed 10 or more rebounds in the same game. The Cats posted a +8 rebound margin and forced 19 turnovers.
Now the Bad: Certainly at this time of year, defense is still a work in progress, there were a few numbers that may cause a few eyebrows to raise. UA allowed San Diego to double its point output from the first half (23) to the second (46). USD shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half (16-of-32) and had a player, Brice Vounang, finish with 28 points. Vounang’s 28 points marked the 10th consecutive game, dating back to last season, in which UA has allowed an opposing player to score at least 20 points.
Experimentation: Counting exhibitions, Arizona has played three games using the international three-point line and connected on 38.6 percent (17-of-44) 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.
Doubling Up: Forward Ivan Radenovic got 2004-05 off on the right foot by collecting his first career double-double Tuesday vs. San Diego. The 6-foot-10 native of Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, posted career highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds, including 8-of-17 shooting and 35 minutes played. For good measure, he also added an assist and a steal.
Evolving: Point guard Mustafa Shakur put his ever-evolving game on display Tuesday. For just the second time in his career, Shakur was Arizona’s leading scorer with a career-high 23 points. He also matched a career best with eight boards and added seven assists and three steals. Shakur, who was the only Wildcat to finish the game with a field goal percentage above 50 percent, hit 7-of-12 shots from the floor.
Take Note: In his 31-game career, Arizona is 16-2 when Mustafa Shakur passes out five or more assists in a game.
An Aberration: UA fans can only hope that Channing Frye’s field goal percentage was just a statistical anomaly. A career 56.7 percent shooter entering the year, Frye has shot 3-of-12 (as he did Tuesday) or worse from the floor just three other times in 97 appearances: 0-for-4 vs. Texas, 12/15/2002; 0-of-2 at Michigan State, 12/15/2001; and 3-of-12 vs. Washington State, 2/9/2002.
Earn the Burn: Look for Jawann McClellan to play a greater role in the UA rotation after Tuesday’s performance. In five minutes of action, McClellan grabbed three rebounds, but is was his defense that caught Coach Olson’s attention, who said, "After watching the tape, I definitely thought we should have played Jawann more. He was active, especially defensively, and gave us the type of effort we need."
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.
Preseason Recognition: A nation’s-best four Wildcats were included on the preseason Naismith Award watch list. Hassan Adams, Channing Frye, Mustafa Shakur and Salim Stoudamire were all on the list of 50 top college basketball players. The Naismith Award, presented annually since 1969, goes to the nation’s player of the year. Frye and Stoudamire were also included on the preseason John R. Wooden Award list, and Frye was also selected as a preseason All-American by Playboy magazine.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 125-16 (.887) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats topped the 80-point plateau in the season opener vs. San Diego.
The Next Level: With the 2004-05 NBA regular season underway, no fewer than eight former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only three other schools (Kentucky, 13; Connecticut and Duke, 9) have more players in the league. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Damon Stoudamire, Portland TrailBlazers; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers; and Loren Woods, Toronto Raptors. Six of those former Cats were in the starting lineup on opening night.
More NBA Notes: Bolstered by four schools with seven or more players each in the league, the Pac-10 Conference ranks third overall in terms of putting players on NBA rosters. As of opening night, no fewer than 40 Pac-10 alums were in the NBA. The "Conference of Champions" ranks behind only the Atlantic Coast Conference (49) and the Southeastern Conference (44) in terms of developing NBA-caliber talent.
Television Update: Broadcast information is now available for the John R. Wooden Classic games on Sunday, Dec. 5. KTTU-TV, channel 18 in Tucson, will carry the Arizona-Mississippi State game at 1:30 p.m. PST. Several broadcast outlets, including WGN-TV, MSG network and NESN, will carry both games of the doubleheader. The nightcap features UCLA vs. Boston College.
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 travels to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the University of Virginia on Sunday, Nov. 21. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST. The game will be televised by FSN Arizona.