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No. 8 Seed Arizona (20-10) at NCAA Midwest Region First/Second Rounds
Date: Friday, March 16, 2007
Time: 6:20 p.m. CDT
Location: New Orleans Arena (18,000), New Orleans, La.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Game Data: No. 8 seed Arizona (20-10, 11-7 Pac-10) makes its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in the Midwest Region ... The Wildcats face No. 9 seed Purdue (21-11, 9-7 Big Ten) Friday in the first round at the New Orleans Arena ... UA has a 41-24 (.631) in its 25 previous NCAA Tournament appearances ... This is Arizona’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in New Orleans ... The Cats are 8-10 against the 2007 NCAA Tournament field.
The Rankings: For the fourth consecutive week, Arizona is unranked in both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Arizona fell out of both polls on Feb. 19. Prior to Feb. 19, the Wildcats had been ranked in each AP poll this season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 24th season at Arizona and his 34th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 781-279 (.737) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona ... 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 Arizona’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 UCLA’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, ?'89, ?'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, ?'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 second-best winning percentage over the past 19 years (499-131/.792) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’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 Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 10-13 against Purdue.
Last Time Out: Oregon’s guard tandem of Aaron Brooks and Tajuan Porter combined for 37 points as the Ducks shot down Arizona, 69-50, in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 8. The duo connected on 9-of-14 three-point attempts in the effort as Oregon held the lead for the final 39:41. The Cats had no answer from the field, connecting on only 35.0 percent of its attempts to finish with a season-low 50 points. Jordan Hills’s 15 points and 14 rebounds were not enough to prevent UA’s worst loss in Pac-10 Tournament history.
Scouting Purdue: The Boilermakers enter today’s game with a 21-11 record (9-7 Big Ten) following last Friday’s 63-52 loss to Ohio State. As a team, Purdue shoots 46.2 percent from the field (791-of-1712), including 36.0 percent (209-of-580) from three-point range, while averaging 69.9 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 42.4 percent clip and are averaging 63.0 points per game. Two Boilers average in double figures, led by Carl Landry’s 18.9 ppg mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 11th meeting of the two schools with the series knotted at five wins apiece. Arizona captured the last meeting in the series, which dates back to Jan. 1, 1934, by a 79-66 count on Dec. 8, 2001, at the John R. Wooden Classic In Anaheim, Calif. All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-2 in West Lafayette, Ind., and 4-3 in neutral-site games.
Last Meeting: Arizona 79, Purdue 66, Dec. 8, 2001: Arizona shot a season-best .538 from the floor and outrebounded Purdue, 49-28, en route to the 13-point win at the eighth annual John R. Wooden Classic. The Wildcats, who limited the Boilers to just .303 shooting in the first half, used a 16-1 run early in the game to take control and led by as many as 24 points. Luke Walton posted his third double-double of the year (17 pts./13 reb.) and shared team-high honors with Rick Anderson.
Against the Big Ten: Arizona carries an all-time record of 30-28 (.517) record against teams that currently reside in the Big Ten Conference, including an 84-72 win over Illinois on Dec. 2. Since the start of the 2000-01 campaign, Arizona is 8-5 against Big Ten opposition.
As a No. 8 Seed: This will be Arizona’s second NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 8 seed, and the club is 1-1 in those games. Since seeding was introduced in 1985, Arizona has been a higher seed four times: No. 9 (1986, 2004) and No. 10 (1985, 1987) and is 0-4 in those games.
In the White Jerseys: Perhaps it doesn’t mean as much in the 8-9 game, but Arizona will wear the white jerseys in Friday’s game vs. Purdue. Since 1985, Arizona is 32-10 (.762) in NCAA Tournament games when playing in the white jerseys as the seeded favorite.
A Geographic Note: This will be Arizona’s first NCAA game in New Orleans, but UA has played 15 tournament games (8-7 record) east of the Mississippi River ?- in Philadelphia, Chicago, Raleigh, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Memphis, Dayton, Charlotte and Atlanta. In the Midwest Region ?- which UA’s pod feeds into ?- Arizona has played four tournaments, posting a 5-4 record. The 2001 club played in Kansas City, San Antonio and Minneapolis’ Final Four, going 5-1. The 1977 Wildcats lost a Midwest opener to Southern Illinois, the 1995 Cats dropped a first-round game to Miami of Ohio and the 1999 team was sent home from a Midwest Region first round game by Oklahoma. The NCAA went back to regional designations this year after a couple of years of city-name usage for regionals (such as St. Louis Regional as it would be this year for teams advancing from UA’s pod in New Orleans.)
In the Bag: The regular season ending victory over Stanford gave Arizona is 20th win of the season and extended to 20 UA’s streak of consecutive 20-win seasons, which is the longest active streak in the country. It was the 29th 20-win season for Lute Olson, extending an NCAA record he shares with Bob Knight and Jim Boeheim, and was the 30th 20-win season in Arizona history.
Streaking: This NCAA tournament appearance is the 23rd consecutive for Arizona and head coach Lute Olson. It is the second-longest streak in NCAA history, trailing only North Carolina (27, 1975-2001). Individually, Olson’s 23-year streak of appearances is tied with UNC’s Dean Smith in tournament history as the longest consecutive appearance streak in tournament history. The legendary Tar Heel mentor appeared in 23 consecutive tournaments from 1975-97.
Atop this one, Too: Counting his time as the Iowa mentor, 2007 marks Olson’s 28th career NCAA Tournament appearance. Olson joins Texas Tech’s Bob Knight with the most career appearances in tourney history. No other active coach has more than 25 career appearances.
More Olson Minutia: Lute Olson ranks third in the NCAA Tournament record book with 73 games coached. Only Dean Smith (92) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (87) rank ahead the UA coach. Additionally, Olson’s 46 career tournament wins rank fourth on the all-time tournament victory list. Krzyzewski (68), Smith (65) and UCLA’s John Wooden (47) are the only coaches with more NCAA Tournament wins than Olson.
All-Region: Three Arizona players earned all-region honors in voting recently released by the NABC and the USBWA. Marcus Williams was a first team all-District 15 pick by the NABC, while Ivan Radenovic and Chase Budinger claimed second team honors. Additionally, Williams was an all-District 9 selection by the USBWA.
All-Conference: Four Arizona players earned all-Pac-10 honors in voting released March 5 by the league’s head coaches. Marcus Williams was a first team all-conference honoree, while Ivan Radenovic and Mustafa Shakur were honorable mention picks, and Chase Budinger was named Freshman of the Year. Williams moved up to first team honors after being an all-freshman selection last year. Previously, Radenovic was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 2006.
Leading the Pac: Arizona is riding a streak of 23 consecutive seasons with 11 or more Pac-10 Conference wins. The longest current streak by another Pac-10 foe is UCLA with three.
In March: Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 49-20 (.710) record in the month of March. In that span, 33 of those games have been played in the NCAA Tournament and UA is 24-9 (.727) in them.
It’s a Wooden Thing: Like 64 other Division I teams (including the play-in), Arizona lost its last NCAA Tournament game. And NCAA Tournament winning streaks are pretty much a John Wooden thing. But the Wildcats under Lute Olson have played in every NCAA Championship event since 1985 (60 total games) and have lost consecutive games only a handful of times. It last lost consecutive NCAA games in March 2003 with a West Regional Final loss to Kansas and March 2004 with a first round loss to Seton Hall. Other times it’s happened: the Cats lost each of Lute Olson’s first four years at UA; lost a Sweet 16 game in 1991 to Seton Hall and then were bumped in the first rounds by East Tennessee State in 1992 and Santa Clara in 1993; lost a Final Four semifinal to Arkansas in 1994 and then a first-round game to Miami (Ohio) in 1995; and lost to Utah in a Regional Final in 1998 and to Oklahoma in the opening round in 1999. The Cats have followed a loss with a victory under Lute 13 times in NCAA play.
Elite Company: Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Chase Budinger’s 10 points last week at the Pac-10 Tournament elevated him further among some elite company. The 6-foot-7 forward from Encinitas, Calif., is one of just nine freshmen in Arizona history to score more than 400 points in his debut season. He currently has 469 points scored through 29 games (16.1 ppg). Here is the list: 1.) Coniel Norman (1972-73), 576; 2.) Gilbert Arenas (1999-2000), 523; 3.) Sean Elliott (1985-86), 499; 4.) Eric Money (1972-73), 492; 5.) Chase Budinger (2006-07), 469; 6.) Mike Bibby (1996-97), 458; 7.) Salim Stoudamire (2001-02), 434; 8.) Marcus Williams (2005-06), 430; and 9.) Bob Elliott (1973-74), 429.
The Ex Factor: If experience matters in this event, then credit the Wildcats with a total of 35 games of NCAA Tournament experience. Of those 35 games, 16 reside in the projected starting lineup (Mustafa Shakur/Ivan Radenovic 7, Marcus Williams 2).
Board Work: One figure that almost unfailingly continues is Arizona’s ability to control the boards. The Wildcats outrebounded Oregon, 38-35, in the Pac-10 Tournament last week, which marked the 23rd time in 30 games that Arizona has collected more caroms than the opposition. It hasn’t always led to success, as the club is 15-8 when that happens. On the year, UA posts a +5.9 rebound margin.
Dubious Distinction: Including a conference championship and four consecutive NCAA tournaments, Mustafa Shakur and Ivan Radenovic have been part of UA teams that have posted a combined record of 90-40 (.692). That’s winning basketball, yet also puts them on a strange perch. They’re atop the Lute Olson-era teams for the most losses by Wildcat regulars, just eclipsing Steve Kerr, who played on Olson teams that recorded a 90-39 (.698) record from 1984 to 1988. Had Kerr not been injured and redshirted in 1986-87 when the Cats finished 18-12, instead of sticking around for the 1988 35-3 Final Four squad, he would have left with a 73-48 (.603) mark.
Simply Put: If you are looking for predictors, look no further than these two statistics: field goal percentage and turnovers. This season, Arizona is 18-2 when outshooting the opposition, 2-8 when not. Secondly, the Wildcats are 12-1 when committing the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent, and 8-9 when posting more.
Travel Partners: The Cats have played at venues with the No. 1 seed on hand in six of the past seven years. Last year in Philadelphia, it was Villanova, UA’s second-round opponent. Two years ago in Rosemont, Ill., it was Illinois, a Regional Final opponent. Three years ago in Raleigh it was Duke, but UA lost before a chance to meet the Devils. Four years ago, Arizona was the No. 1 seed in Salt Lake City. Six years ago, UA beat No. 1 Illinois in the Midwest Regional, and faced a pair of top seeds at the Final Four. Seven years ago, UA was the No. 1 seed in Salt Lake City. The only time during this stretch where Arizona didn’t share a venue with a top seed was 2002, when West region top seed Cincinnati failed to advance past the second round.
Assisting the Cause: Mustafa Shakur enters the NCAA Tournament ranked third nationally (as of March 8) with a 6.9 assists per game average. He trails Wildcat legend Damon Stoudamire on two key UA assist lists. Shakur’s 207 assists this year is just one shy of Stoudamire’s 1993-94 tally, which ranks as the fourth highest single-season mark in UA history. On the career list, Shakur’s 662 helpers is just one behind Stoudamire, which currently ranks as the No. 2 figure in school history. Should Shakur collect two or more assists he will finish his career with more assists than any other player in the Lute Olson era. Incidentally, UA is 60-18 (.769) during Shakur’s career when he passes out five or more assists, a feat he’s accomplished in 28 of 38 games to date this season.
Legendary Comparison: Lute Olson set a high standard when he favorably compared Chase Budinger to Arizona standout Sean Elliott (1985-89) long before Budinger even played his first collegiate game. Budinger has handled himself well to date. Here is a look at both players’ freshman-year statistics:
Player GP-GS Min FG-A Pct. 3FG-A Pct. FT-A Pct. Reb. A Stl Pts.-Avg.
Elliott 32-32 1079 187-385 .486 -- -- 127-167 .760 171 70 22 499-15.6
Budinger 30-30 991 172-354 .486 49-132 .371 76-90 .844 173 61 34 469-15.6
Double-Doubles: Jordan Hill collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds March 8 vs. Oregon. Each of Hill’s double-doubles have come in the last 11 games. The effort boosted his season per game averages to 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. In those 11 games, the 6-foot-9 freshman from Atlanta is averaging 8.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Milestones: Senior forward Ivan Radenovic enters Friday’s game five rebounds shy of 700 and 12 points shy of 1,300 for his career, certainly in reach for a player averaging 15.2 ppg and 7.6 rpg this season.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 162-19 (.895) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 12-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points.
Always On the Run: Early this season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity. Here are the ones of note to date:
25-0 run over 7:45 vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 19 (UA went 11-of-16 during run: NMSU 0-of-10)
34-11 run over 9:00 vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 15 (UA went 12-of-16 during run: NAU 3-of-16)
31-9 run over 7:54 vs. California, Dec. 28 (UA went 11-of-13 during the run; Cal 4-of-14)
28-9 run over 11:22 vs. Samford, Nov. 22 (SU went 3-of-16 with four turnovers during run)
20-2 run over 5:59 vs. Louisville, Dec. 5 (UL went 1-of-10; UA 7-of-8 during the run)
21-4 run over 8:08 vs. Illinois, Dec. 2, 2006 (UA 8-of-12 FGs during run)
25-8 run over 9:01 vs. Washington, Feb. 3, 2007 (UW 4-of-12 FG with five turnovers during run)
24-8 run over 9:17 at San Diego State, Dec. 9, 2006 (SDSU 4-of-18 FG with five TO during run)
18-3 run over 4:15 at Virginia, Nov. 12 (UA went 6-of-8 during run: UVa 1-of-8)
23-8 run over 7:11 vs. UNLV, Nov. 28 (UNLV 3-of-7 with six turnovers during run)
22-7 run over 9:10 at Stanford, March 3 (Stanford 2-of-12 FG during the run, UA 8-of-12)
15-0 run over 2:28 at Washington, Jan. 4 (McClellan 3-of-3 from three-point range, UA 6-of-6 FTs)
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Jerryd Bayless (G, 6-3, 193) from Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary’s High School; Jamelle Horne (F, 6-7, 205) from San Diego, Calif., San Diego High School; Alex Jacobson (C, 7-1, 223) from Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei High School; Zane Johnson (F, 6-6, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird High School; and Laval Lucas-Perry (G, 6-1, 191) from Grand Blanc, Mich., Powers Catholic High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: A win tonight moves Arizona into Sunday’s second round against the Florida/Jackson State winner at either 1:15 or 3:45 p.m. CDT.