Game 3: No. 10 Arizona (2-0) at Virginia (1-0)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004
Time: 5 p.m. EST
Location: University Hall (8,392), Charlottesville, Va.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (2-0, 0-0 Pac-10) travels to Charlottesville, Va., for its first true road game of the season Sunday at Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC) ... It is also the first of three games on UA’s eight-day, 4,300-mile road trip ... Following tonight’s game, the Wildcats head to New York for the semifinals of the 2004 Preseason N.I.T.
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 713-249 (.741) and 521-157 (.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 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 1-0 against Virginia.
Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire’s hot shooting sparked Arizona to a 83-66 win over Wright State on Thursday. Stoudamire connected on 6-of-7 field goals in the first half, including 5-of-6 from three-point range as he fell just four points shy of WSU’s first-half output. Behind Stoudamire’s efforts, Arizona shot 60.7 percent from the floor in the opening stanza and limited the Raiders to just 37.5 percent accuracy.
Scouting Virginia: The Cavaliers opened the season Friday night with an 88-55 win over Robert Morris in University Hall. Ten letterwinners and four starters return from last year’s 18-13 club. It’s hard to say what to expect from a UVa club that simply overmatched its two exhibition opponents, which it cumulatively outscored 250-104. Not only did Virginia show offensive balance with at least six players in double figures in both exhibitions, but also solid defense in limiting the opposition to just a 26.4 field goal percentage (33-of-125) .
The Series: Sunday’s game marks the second meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 1-0 series advantage. UA prevailed in the only other meeting, 71-58, in Sacramento, Calif., on March 20 in the second round of the 1994 NCAA West Regional. The Wildcats advanced to the Final Four that season. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Charlottesville and 1-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, see page 105 of the Arizona basketball media guide.
Against the ACC: All-time, Arizona is 14-10 (.583) against teams that currently make up the Atlantic Coast Conference. The last time Arizona played an ACC foe, it defeated Maryland, 71-67, at Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic on Nov. 8, 2001.
In November: Fast starts certainly are the norm for the Wildcats under Lute Olson. Over the past 21 years, Arizona is 48-8 (.857) in the month of November, including a 4-2 mark in true road games.
On the Glass: The Wildcats have controlled the glass in both of its season-opening wins, posting a +9 rebound advantage. Led by Isaiah Fox’s game-high eight rebounds on Thursday, Arizona outrebounded Wright State, 35-25. Arizona is 2-0 this season when outrebounding the opposition and was 16-4 last season when accomplishing the feat.
Spreading the Wealth: After playing just eight players in the San Diego game, including the starters an average of 34.4 minutes. The attack was a bit more balanced in the win over Wright State, as 13 players saw action and the starters logged 23.8 minutes. Four Wildcats saw their first action of the season vs. Wright State (Daniel Dillon/Jesus Verdejo/Matt Brase/Bret Brielmaier).
Fast Starts: Arizona has done a nice job of starting strong in the first half, outscoring its first two opponents by a combined 83-44. In the first half, UA is shooting .508 (32-of-63) from the floor, while limiting the opposition to 36.4 percent (20-of-55) from the floor. Arizona’s average lead at the break is 19.5 points. In the first half against Wright State, 14 of Arizona’s 17 field goals came courtesy of an assist.
Slow finishes: Through two games, the opposition has outscored UA, 91-80, in the final 20 minutes. In that span, opponents are shooting .508 (32-of-63), markedly better than UA’s 37.5 (30-of-80) percent effort.
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.
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.
Leading the Way: En route to 55.9 percent shooting (33-of-59) against Wright State, the UA starters led the way by combining to hit 24-of-39 (.615) of its shots from the floor, including 7-of-12 (.583) from three-point range. Thursday’s win marked the first time this season that Arizona had shot better than 50 percent from the floor in both halves.
Something’s Brewing: After a breakout season in 2003-04 in which he averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, junior Hassan Adams has, well, kind of simmered in the first two games of this season. The Los Angeles product is averaging 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and shooting 44.4 percent from the floor. Against Wright State, Adams hit 3-of-4 FGs and grabbed two boards in 10 minutes of action.
Raining Threes: Senior guard Salim Stoudamire put on a shooting display during the first half of Thursday’s victory, as the Portland, Ore., native hit 6-of-7 field goal attempts, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc. After missing his first trey attempt at the 16:41 mark, Stoudamire made his next six attempts (five treys) and finished with 17 points in the period. Incidentally, his efforts sparked his teammates as the Wildcats made 12 consecutive field goals over 8:10 of the opening half. Six different players scored during the run, which turned a three-point lead into one of 22 points.
Cause and Effect: In his 32-game career, Arizona is 17-2 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 6.5 assists per game on the young season. In addition to his ability to distribute the ball, Shakur is averaging 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
Plug Him In: Chris Rodgers continues top perform admirably in his sixth-man role, averaging 4.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in nearly 20 minutes per game. Against Wright State, the 6-foot-4 Rodgers collected six assists and each of those game in the 27-8 first-half run that saw the Cats hit 12 consecutive shots.
Waiting on the Wing: Freshman Jawann McClellan continues to push for playing time with continued solid effort on both ends of the court. The 6-foot-4 guard from Houston tallied seven points and six rebounds (five offensive) to go with an assist and a steal in 20 minutes on Thursday, which was his first tangible contributions of the season after seeing five minutes of action in the season opener.
Making an Impact: After missing 28 of 30 games last year due to left knee surgery and sitting out the first three games of this season (counting the exhibitions) for "failure to meet team responsibilities," forward Isaiah Fox made an immediate impact in his first appearance in an Arizona uniform since Nov. 28, 2003, by scoring 10 points and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds in 20 minutes of action. He hit 4-of-7 field goals in the effort.
Bouncing Back: Two days after making just 3-of-12 field goals vs. San Diego (the third-worst effort of his career), Channing Frye rebounded Thursday by connecting on 6-of-10 attempts and finishing with 13 points. One doesn’t expect too many bad shooting nights from the senior center from Phoenix who currently ranks seventh on the UA career field goal percentage list at .560 (487-of-869).
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 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 games this season.
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.
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 heads to New York City for the semifinals of the Preseason N.I.T. The Cats meet Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 9:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised by ESPN.