Nov. 10, 2009
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: UA All-Access (Webcast only)
GAME DATA: Arizona (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) caps the exhibition portion of the 2009-10 schedule by hosting Western New Mexico (0-1) Tuesday in McKale Center ... WNMU is an NCAA Division II institution located in Silver City, N.M. ... Last year, the Mustangs posted a 10-17 record ... Since the NCAA rule change regarding exhibition games four years ago, this is the closest geographic opponent that the Cats have faced, as the two schools are separated by 159 miles ... Following tonight's game, the Wildcats open the 2009-10 regular season on Sunday, Nov. 15, at home against Northern Arizona ... Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. MST.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona starts the season unranked in both preseason polls for just the third time in the last 23 seasons. The Cats closed the 2008-09 campaign ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . begins his first season at the University of Arizona and his sixth overall as a college head coach with a record of 120-47 (.719) ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of its conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 16 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 40, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford.
LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats had little trouble with visiting Division II Augustana College in UA head coach Sean Miller's debut game with a 92-76 exhibition victory on Nov. 4. Miller got scoring from nine players in the first half and 10 overall, led by Jamelle Horne with a team-high 19 points. Four players scored in double figures with support from freshmen Derrick Williams (14) and Kevin Parrom (12). Horne led all rebounders with 10, while adding three blocked shots. Senior guard Nic Wise returned to his starting role after nursing an ankle sprain, netting 12 points, with five assists and two steals in 19 minutes.
SCOUTING WESTERN NEW MEXICO: Coached by Mark Coleman, the Mustangs lost its top four scorers from last season's 10-17 club. WNMU was outshot (.447-.474), outreboounded (33.1-41.5) and outscored (76.9-80.5) by opponents last year. In its previous exhibition game this year, the Mustangs dropped a 111-83 decision at New Mexico State on Nov. 2. WNMU shot .430 (34-of-79) percent from the floor and was outrebounded, 54-29, in the outing. Guards Tony Robley, Jr. (24), and Stefan Mirabal (23) combined for 47 points to lead four players in double figures.
THE SERIES: In what is a rarity in these exhibition games, these two programs actually have a history, as tonight's game is the seventh meeting of the two schools with the series knotted at three wins apiece. Arizona has won three of the last four meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 12, 1940, but WNMU captured the last one, 74-71, on Feb. 24, 1962, in Silver City, N.M. All-time, Arizona is 2-1 in series games played in Tucson, 1-2 in Silver City, N.M., and 0-0 in neutral-site games. Because this is an exhibition game, it will not count towards the all-time series record.
HEY, I KNOW THAT GUY: The two head coaches in this contest have a long-standing relationship, as WNMU's Mark Coleman was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh while UA's Sean Miller attended the school. During their time together, the former Panthers amassed 80 wins and made four postseason appearances, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
ALL HANDS ON DECK: A total of 12 Arizona players saw action last Wednesday, Arizona first action this season against outside competition with nine of those logging double figures. As a testament to balance, only four players played more than 20 minutes with Lamont Jones totaling a team-high 29 minutes.
TAKE `EM AND MAKE `EM: Led by freshman forward Derrick Williams, who connected on 5-of-6 of his FG attempts (.833), Arizona shot 55.0 percent (33-of-60) from the field against Augustana College. Interestingly, the UA reserves proved to be better marksmen than the starters, as they knocked down 18-of-26 (.692) shots which was markedly better than the .441 figure (15-of-34) produced by the first five guys. As an aside, New Mexico State shot 63.5 percent from the field (47-of-74) on Nov. 2 vs. Western New Mexico.
BOARD WORK: Arizona posted a modest 41-34 rebound advantage last Tuesday, and as usually is the case, the frontcourt led the way by collecting 29 of those 41 caroms. Jamelle Horne led the way with 10, while Solomon Hill and Kyryl Natyazhko added seven and six, respectively.
LEADING THE WAY: Junior forward Jamelle Horne collected a double-double last week against Augustana with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 native of San Diego, Calif., hit 6-of-10 field goal and all six free throws to go with three blocks in 21 minutes. In two exhibition appearances to date (counting the Red-Blue game), Horne is averaging 18.0 points and 9.5 rebounds.
BACK AT IT: Nic Wise made his first appearance of the preseason after suffering an ankle sprain on Oct. 27, and the senior guard responded with 12 points, five assists and two steals in limited action (19 minutes). Wise, who is on both the Naismith and Wooden Award watch lists, drained 2-of-3 attempts from behind the arc, and 4-of-9 attempts overall.
QUICKLY TAKING CONTROL: Holding a 10-8 just over four minutes into last Wednesday's exhibition game, Arizona responded with an 11-0 run over the next 3:49 to build a 13-point lead and essentially put the game out of reach. Kevin Parrom (5), Solomon Hill (4) and Garland Judkins (2) tallied points in the run. Arizona forced three Augustana turnovers to spur the quick burst. The lead didn't fall below double figures over the final 23 minutes.
PILING UP POINTS: Of the 12 players to see action in the first exhibition, 10 tallied points as the Cats rolled to 92 points. Interestingly, all 10 players who attempted at least one field goal scored at least three points. On a related note, Arizona's 92 points were a total that has been surpassed by the Cats just six times in the previous three seasons in McKale Center.
MOVING THE BALL: The Wildcats passed out a modest total of 17 assists vs. Augustana on 33 field goals (51.5 percent). Probably the most welcome part of that is the simple fact that seven different players collected at least one helper. In addition to Nic Wise's team-high five, Lamont Jones, Kevin Parrom and Brendon Lavender each passed out three.
SHOWING IMPROVEMENT: A game after shooting less than 40 percent from three-point range, Arizona rebounded by hitting nearly 50 percent against Augustana. UA combined to shoot 37.0 percent (10-of-27) in the Red-Blue game compared with 46.7 percent (7-of-15) against Augustana. Lamont Jones and Nic Wise led the squad with two treys apiece.
FROM THE WINGS: Sophomore Brendon Lavender has been a productive option on the wing for the Wildcats in the preseason, averaging 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists to date. Most impressively, the 6-foot-5 product of Mesa, Ariz., has seven assists and zero turnovers in 54 total minutes played. Lavender is shooting .455 from the field (5-of-11), including 4-of-9 (.444) from three-point range.
WELL-ROUNDED EFFORT: Freshman Kevin Parrom certainly put forth a well-rounded effort against Augustana, tallying 12 points, five boards, three assists and a steal in 26 minutes. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from the Bronx, N.Y., was active on the offensive end of the floor as he hit 5-of-9 field goal attempts and collected a team-leading three offensive rebounds.
TAKE NOTE: Senior guard Nic Wise has earned a bit of preseason recognition, as the 5-foot-10 product of Houston, Texas, was named to the preseason watch lists for both the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, each of which is given to college basketball's player of the year. Arizona's most experienced player averaged 15.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game last season.
CONTINUING TO PRODUCE: With the 2009-10 National Basketball Association regular season underway, no fewer than 10 former Arizona Wildcats were on the opening day NBA rosters. That figure is tied for fifth place nationally in terms of production. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Jerryd Bayless, Portland TrailBlazers; Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks; Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets; Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns; Jordan Hill, New York Knicks; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, San Antonio Spurs; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks and Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers. There have been at least eight former Wildcats in the NBA in each of the last 10 seasons with 10 or more in seven of those campaigns.
MORE UA CONNECTIONS TO THE LEAGUE: Arizona's 10 former players in the Association helped the Pac-10 tally 50 active NBA players, a figure that ranks third nationally behind the Big East (55) and Atlantic Coast Conferences (53). Additionally, the Pac-10's average of 5.0 alums per member institution was tops nationally. Here is look at the breakdown by conference: 1.) Big East, 55; 2.) Atlantic Coast, 53; 3.) Pac-10, 50; 4.) Southeastern, 40; 5.) Big 12, 36; 6.) Big Ten, 32.
PAC-10 PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish fourth in this season's Pac-10 race. The Wildcats received 221 points (see chart at left), trailing California, Washington and UCLA. It's the third consecutive year that UA has been tabbed fourth. On a historical note, Arizona has been the preseason favorite 11 times in the last 20 years.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats open the 2009-10 campaign on Sunday, Nov. 15, against Northern Arizona. The contest will tip-off at 3 p.m. MST and can be seen on KWBA-TV and FS Arizona.