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Oregon State Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/01/2008
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Game 13:? No. 21 Arizona (9-3, 0-0) vs. Oregon State (6-6, 0-0)

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Date: ? Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008

Time: ? 6:30 p.m. MST

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

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

TV: FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

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GAME DATA: ? No. 21 Arizona (9-3, 0-0 Pac-10) opens Pacific-10 Conference play Thursday against Oregon State (6-6, 0-0 Pac-10) in McKale Center ... Since joining the league in 1978-79, Arizona is 21-8 in conference openers and is 11-1 opening Pac-10 play at home ... Over the last 24 seasons, Arizona has a Pac-10-best 188-28 (.870) mark in conference home games.

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The Rankings: ? According to the polls dated Dec. 31, Arizona checks in at No. 21 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.? The Cats have been ranked in seven of nine polling periods this season, including the last five.

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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: ? In a reversal of fortune, Arizona jumped out to an early eight-point lead then went more than 12 minutes without a field goal and could not dig itself out of the hole Saturday in a 76-63 loss at Memphis.? Leading 14-6 with 13:52 to go in the first, UA managed just four free throws over the next 12 minutes and trailed by 10 points at the half.? The Cats cut the deficit to seven points four different times in the second half, but could get no closer.? Chase Budinger led all scorers with 20 points, while Jordan Hill added 14 second-half points.

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Scouting Oregon State: ? The Beavers enter play Thursday with a 6-6 record after Sundayˇ?s 60-59 loss to Montana State.? Through 12 games, Oregon State averages 63.8 points per game, shoots 40.3 percent (281-of-698), and posts a +4.4 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 41.5 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 3.8 points per game.? Individually, two Beavers average in double figures, led by Seth Tarver, who averages 14.5 points? per game.? Marcel Jones leads OSU with a 7.5 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Tonightˇ?s game is the 64th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 46-17 series advantage. UA has won 13 of the last 15 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 28, 1975, including the last meeting, 72-66, on Feb. 8, in Corvallis. All-time, Arizona is 26-5 in series games played in Tucson, 18-12 in Corvallis, and 2-0 in neutral-site games.? See page 101 of the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ? Arizona 72, Oregon State 66, Feb. 8, 2007: ? Marcus Williams scored 23 points and Jordan Hill chipped in with a double-double (12 pts./11 reb.) as Arizona picked up a hard-fought win.? An 8-0 UA run over the last four minutes of the first half proved to be the difference with Hill collected four points in that span.? Arizonaˇ?s 25-6 scoring advantage from the free throw line and 11 steals helped offset just 30.8 percent shooting in the second half.? Ivan Radenovicˇ?s 13-of-16 effort from the line doubled OSUˇ?s output for the game.

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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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Topping 20: ? In Arizonaˇ?s only game last week, Chase Budinger scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and passed out two assists in a loss at No. 2 Memphis.? The sophomore from Encinitas, Calif., shot 53.3 percent from the field (8-of-15), , including .750 (3-of-4) from three-point range, to a steal.? It was Budingerˇ?s 10th double-figure game of the season and his third 20-point game in 2007-08.? Additionally, heˇ?s had six or more rebounds seven times this year.? On the season, Budinger averages 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

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To a Halt: ? Arizona saw its six-game win streak come to an end with Saturdayˇ?s 76-63 loss at No. 2 Memphis.? The loss also dropped the team to 1-2 this season against ranked opponents, though both have come on the road (Nov. 25 at No. 4 Kansas).? Not completely coincidentally, the Wildcats allowed a season-high 76 points to both Memphis and Kansas in both defeats.

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Injury Bug: ? The Wildcats were without two starters for the Memphis game, as freshman guard Jerryd Bayless and senior forward Bret Brielmaier missed the contest with injuries.? Brielmaier separated his left shoulder in the win over San Diego State on Dec. 22, while Bayless sprained his right knee during practice on Dec. 28.? No timetable for return has been set for either player.? Incidentally, it was the first time that Arizona was without two regular starters due to injury in nearly eight years ˇ? since March 18, 2000, when Loren Woods (back) and Richard Jefferson (foot) missed UAˇ?s second round NCAA Tournament game, a 66-59 loss.

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Not the Norm: ? Much has been made this season of Arizonaˇ?s slow starts and its ability to come from behind, but neither of those things happened Saturday at Memphis.? UA actually held an eight-point lead (14-6) with 13:52 to go in the first half, but responded by going the next 12 minutes without a field goal as Memphis went on a 25-4 run. In that span, Arizona missed 12 field goal attempts.? Four different times in the second half, Arizona cut the deficit to seven points, but could not get any closer.? It was Arizonaˇ?s first loss of the season when leading at the 10-minute mark of the first half.

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Shuffling the Deck: ? Those aforementioned injuries forced UA interim head coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill to use his sixth different starting lineup in only 12 games.? By comparison, UA used just three different lineup combinations in 31 games a year ago.? Only Chase Budinger and Jawann McClellan have started all 12 games for the Wildcats to date.

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Proving His Worth: ? Sophomore guard Nic Wise made the most of his first career start Saturday at Memphis and responded with career-high totals of 12 points, four rebounds, four steals and 40 minutes played.? Wise knocked down a career-best five free throws en route to his third double-figure scoring game of the season.? That type of productivity wasnˇ?t unexpected, as the 5-foot-10 Houston, Texas, native is averaging 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.0 steals over his last five games.

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A Struggle: ? After shooting just 27.6 percent (8-of-29) in the first half against Memphis, the Cats rebounded by shooting 68.0 percent (17-of-25) from the field in the second half.? Unfortunately, UA allowed Memphis to shoot 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the floor in the final 20 minutes.? A closer look at the numbers proved even more troubling, as Memphis made its last eight field goal attempts and scored on its final nine possessions.? Through the first 34 minutes Saturday, Arizona held Memphis to just 39.6 percent shooting (21-of-53).

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Nearly a Top-10 Guy: ? Kirk Walters earned the start Saturday and managed four points, three rebounds and four blocked shots in 25 minutes.? The four blocks were a season high for a UA player this season and one shy of the seniorˇ?s career high.? The 6-foot-11 Walters now has 78 career blocked shots, a figure that is two shy of No. 10 on Arizonaˇ?s career blocked shot list.

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Limited Engagement: ?? Foul trouble limited forward Jordan Hill to just 22 minutes in Saturdayˇ?s loss, but the sophomore managed to make the most of it by scoring 14 second-half points against the Tigers.? Hill connected on 7-of-8 field goals and added three rebounds and a block in the second period.? Over the last five games, Hill is averaging 16.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, while shooting 65.4 percent (34-of-52) from the field.

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Off the Mark: ?? The Wildcats found itself on the short end of the rebounding tally against Memphis, 36-29, which reversed a recent trend.? Saturdayˇ?s game was just the third time in nine games that Arizona had been outrebounded.? Overall, Arizona has a +6.3 rebound margin in those nine games and had outrebounded four opponents by 10 or more.? Through 12 games, Arizona has a +4.0 rebound advantage and is 5-1 this season when outboarding the opposition.

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At the Stripe: ?? Memphis parlayed 21 Arizona personal fouls into 22 free throw attempts on Saturday and posted a 14-9 scoring advantage from the charity stripe.? It marked just the fourth time this season that Arizona has been outscored from the line, but itˇ?s happened in each of the last two games with a margin of 17 points.? Over the course of the season, Arizona averages nearly 4.5 more points per game than the opposition from the free throw line.?

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20-Point Efforts: ?? Chase Budingerˇ?s 20 points Saturday marked the 10th 20-point effort for a Wildcat this season, and UAˇ?s first in three games.? As mentioned above, it was Budingerˇ?s third 20-point game of the season, which ranks second on the club behind Jerryd Baylessˇ? six.? Jordan Hill has the only other 20-point night this year.

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Need a Rebound of Sorts: ?? Perhaps his 20-point night Saturday will be the first step, but the Wildcats need a productive Chase Budinger.? Over his last five games, the sophomore forward is averaging 12.6 points and 2.8 assists per game, while shooting 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field.? Those figures are 3.4 points, 0.5 assists and 42 percentage points lower than his season averages.? He has been better on the glass in that span, averaging nearly a rebound per game more than his 12-game totals.

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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: ? Following tonightˇ?s game, Arizona hosts Oregon on Saturday, Jan. 5.? Tip-off is scheduled for noon MST and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.? The Cats then head to Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 9 for a game at Arizona State.

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