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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/07/2008
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Game 23:? ? Arizona (15-7, 5-4) vs. Arizona State (14-7, 4-5)

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Date: ? Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008

Time: ? 12:30 p.m. MST

Location: ? Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.

Radio: ? Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

TV: ? FSN (Barry Thompkins/Dan Belluomini)

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Game Data: ? Arizona (15-7, 5-4 Pac-10) opens a three-game homestand against intrastate rival Arizona State (14-7, 4-5 Pac-10) Sunday in McKale Center... Over the second half of the Pac-10 slate, the Wildcats will play five of nine games at home ... In the last five years, the UA-ASU games played in Tucson has been decided by an average of 19.2 points ˇ? all UA victories.

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The Rankings: ? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the fourth consecutive week.? For the season, the Wildcats have been ranked in either or both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coachesˇ? Top 25 polls in eight of 14 polling periods this season.

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Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . ? will begin his 25th season at Arizona and his 35th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 780-280 (.736) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona upon his return from a leave of absence, which was announced on Nov. 4 ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson became the 16th coach in basketball history to tally 1,000 career victories (covering all levels) on Dec. 11, 2004 ... Olson recorded his 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizonaˇ?s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLAˇ?s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles)?... During his 24-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 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ˇ®89, ˇ®90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons, 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, ˇ®88, ˇ®89, ˇ®93, ˇ®94, ˇ®98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ˇ®81) and directed the UA program to the nationˇ?s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona ?C 25 alone since 1990 ... Heˇ?s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons...?Under Olson, the Cats are 344-40 (.896) in McKale Center and have won 272 of its last 296 home games ... He is assisted by Kevin Oˇ?Neill, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.

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Last Time Out: ? Arizona missed 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts, found itself in a big hole early and never recovered in suffering its worst defeat of the season and snapping a four-game win streak in an 82-60 loss at UCLA last Saturday.? UCLA shot 61 percent in the first half, limited Arizona to just 32 percent in the same period, and held a 20-point lead at the break. The Cats had no answer for the Bruin attack, as UCLA scored 52 points in the paint, converted 12 UA turnovers into 18 points and went to the free throw line 20 times.

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Scouting Arizona State : ? The Sun Devils enter play Sunday with a 14-7 record (4-5 Pac-10) following last Saturdayˇ?s 67-53 loss at USC.? Through 21 games, ASU averages 68.3 points per game, shoots 47.5 percent (489-of-1,030), and posts a +1.0 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 41.1 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 7.1 points per game.? Individually, three Sun Devils average in double figures, led by James Harden, who averages 18.7 points? per game.? Jeff Pendergraph leads ASU with a 6.4 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Todayˇ?s game is the 213th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 138-74 series advantage. Arizona has won 24 of the last 26 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1914, but ASU captured the last meeting, 64-59 in overtime, on Jan. 9 in Tempe. All-time, Arizona is 77-25 in series games played in Tucson, 60-49 in Tempe, and 1-0 in neutral-site games. Please see page 99 in the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ??Arizona State 64, Arizona 59 (OT), Jan. 9, 2008: ? Arizona squandered too many chances to put the game away and ultimately had no answer for James Harden as Arizona State earned the overtime win.? UA built an early 12-point lead, led by as many as 10 in the second half, and held a five-point cushion with 1:53 remaining in regulation before succumbing in the extra session.? ASUˇ?s Harden proved to be the difference, scoring 22 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including five in overtime.? Jordan Hill collected 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Wildcats.

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A Different Look on the Sidelines: ? Prior to the Nov. 4 exhibition game, it was announced that UA head coach Lute Olson would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter.? It was announced on Dec. 7 that Olson would not return this season.? During this period, assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill will handle the head coaching responsibilities.? Oˇ?Neill, who was tabbed as Olsonˇ?s successor on Dec. 18, has 11 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I head coach, where he compiled a 152-165 (.479) record while at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern. Oˇ?Neill spent the last seven seasons in NBA circles.? During Olsonˇ?s leave of absence all games will be credited to Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching record.

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Injury Bug Bites Again: ? Sophomore guard Nic Wise had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on damaged cartilage in his left knee.? He is expected to miss four to six weeks.? Wise is averaging 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 22 games (six starts) this season. He is shooting 47.3 percent (61-of-1229) from the field to go with a tam-leading 41 steals.? Wise currently leads the Pac-10 Conference with a 1.86 steals per game average.? He also ranks second in three-point field goal percentage (.491/27-of-55), fourth with a 2.02 assist:turnover ratio, and ninth in assists. ?Wise was averaging 28.0 minutes per game.? Arizona starters or key reserves have missed a total of 10 games (Bayless 4, Brielmaier 6) due to injury this season.

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A Good Example: ? In two games last week, Jawann McClellan averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in helping the Wildcats to a split of a pair of league road tilts.? The senior from Houston, Texas, shot 57.1 percent from the field (12-of-21), and 50.0 percent (3-of-6) from three-point range and 85.7 percent (6-of-7) from the free throw line to go with four assists, three blocks and a steal.? He opened the week with a career-high 23 points (7-of-12 FG), eight rebounds and two blocks in 40 minutes in an 11-point win at USC.? He followed? that up by connecting on 5-of-9 field goals en route to 10 points to go with two assists and a block at UCLA.? It was his seventh and eighth double-figure scoring games of the season for McClellan and the first time he has done that in back-to-back games.

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Top Options Need to be Locked in: ? Itˇ?s no secret that Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger fuel the Arizona offensive engine.? Unfortunately, for the Cats, that duo combined for just 21 points on 8-of-21 shooting against UCLA, 16 points below their season average.? Bayless and Budinger combined to shoot 16-of-51 (.314) in Arizonaˇ?s last two losses, while shooting 55-of-106 (.519) in the recent four-game win streak.? Through 22 games, Bayless and Budinger combine for an average of 36.7 points per game, but itˇ?s field goal percentage that matters.? In Arizona wins the duo combines to shoot .480 (172-of-358), while in losses the percentage drops to .420 (68-of-162).

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Itˇ?s Hard to Look Good if You Donˇ?t Make Shots: ? Much went awry in the loss to the Bruins, most notably UAˇ?s 32.0 (8-of-25) shooting in the first half.? Entering the game, Arizona had shot a combined 53.6 percent (104-of-194) from the field in its previous four games.? UAˇ?s starters were a combined 8-of-22 in the first half and 12-of-20 in the second half.? Additionally, Arizona connected on season-low figures of two three-point field goals (in nine attempts) and a .222 percentage against UCLA.? In its previous four games, Arizona had averaged better than 11 treys and shot a cumulative 50.5 percent (46-of-91) from three-point range.? Simply put, UA is 10-0 this year when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

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Off the Mark: ? Not much went right for the Wildcats in the Feb. 2 loss at UCLA, as the team missed 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts and found itself down by double figures less than eight minutes into the contest.? Arizona connected on just 8-of-25 field goal attempts (.320) in the first half to go with six turnovers.? UA bounced back to shoot 64.0 percent (16-of-25) in the second half to finish at 48.0 percent for the game (24-of-50), but the game proved to be out of reach at the break.

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0-for-3 : ? Three key things happened to the Wildcats Saturday:? the team was outshot (.571-.480), outrebounded (35-22, a season-worst rebound margin) and outdone at the free throw line (20 attempts vs. 17).? That marks just the third time thatˇ?s happened to Arizona this season.? Only against Virginia (Nov. 17) and at Memphis (Dec. 29) had UA been outperformed in those three areas.

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Piling Up Points: ? After averaging 79.8 points per game in its previous four games and scoring 80 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 19 and 21 going into the UCLA game, Arizona managed just 60 points on Saturday.? This season, Arizona is 13-3 when scoring 70 points or more and 2-4 when tallying less.? Through the first nine games of Pac-10 play, the Cats are averaging 77.5 points per game in four home games and 66.0 points in five road games.

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Back In Action: ? Senior forward Bret Brielmaer saw his first action in four games Saturday after re-aggravating a right shoulder injury on Jan. 17 at Stanford.? The 6-foot-7 forward from Mankato, Minn., responded with a season-high eight points on 3-of-3 shooting in 16 minutes.? Brielmaier is averaging 3.1 points and 2.9 rebounds, while shooting .733 (22-of-30) from the field in 16 appearances this season.

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Finding the Range: ? Senior Jawann McClellan continues to take, and make, good shots.? Over his last five games, McClellan is shooting .579 (22-of-38) from the field, including .462 (6-of-13) from three-point range.? In that span he is averaging 12.2 points per game.? Those numbers are an improvement over his season-long averages of 9.3 points and a .467 (71-of-152) field goal percentage.

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Failing to Take Advantage: ? One aspect that was subpar in both games last week was Arizonaˇ?s free throw shooting.? A .732 shooting team from the free throw line on the season, UA sank just 56.4 (22-of-39) percent of its attempts from the stripe while in Los Angeles.? Nic Wise, who attempted three FTs in the two games, was the only Wildcat not to miss at one charity attempt in either the USC or UCLA games.

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Good Starts Definitely Help: ? Arizonaˇ?s slow start at UCLA brought to light a season-long trend for the Wildcats:? early deficits are difficult to overcome.? Through 22 games, Arizona is 8-2 when tied or leading at the 10-minute mark of the first half and 7-5 when not.? UA is 11-1 when leading at halftime and 4-6 when tied or trailing.

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Strength of Schedule: ? Arizonaˇ?s loss at UCLA marked its fifth game this season against a nationally ranked opponent (2-3), and each of those has been a top-10 club.? In 2007-08, UA has faced no opponents ranked lower than ninth in the polls.

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Scoring 80: ? Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 168-19 (.898) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.? Arizona is 6-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.

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Early Signees: ? The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.? Brandon Jennings (G, 6-0, 170) from Lakewood, Calif., Oak Hill Academy; Brendon Lavender (G, 6-4, 180) from Mesa, Ariz., Mountain View High School;? Emmanuel Negedu (F, 6-7, 230) from Bloomington, Ind., Brewster Academy; Jeff Withey (C, 6-11, 240) from San Diego, Calif., Horizon High School, will join the squad next fall.? According to rivals.com, this class was ranked as the seventh-best nationally.

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Up Next: ? Arizona returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 14, when the club hosts California.? Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and will be televised by FSN Arizona.? The homestand concludes Feb.16 with a 1:30 p.m. game vs. No. 14 Stanford.

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