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Arizona Men's Basketball Game Notes, 12/5/2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/05/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 7:  No. 16 Arizona (5-1) vs. Louisville (2-1)

 

Date:  Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006

Time:  9:30 p.m. EST

Location:  Madison Square Garden (19,763), New York, N.Y.

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

TV:  ESPN (Dan Shulman/Dick Vitale)

 

Game Data:  No. 16 Arizona (5-1, 0-0 Pac-10) travels across the country to face Louisville (2-1, 0-0 Big East) as part of the 2006 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden ... Arizona is in the middle of a three-game road swing that will cover 5,210 miles ... This is the Wildcats’ sixth game in Madison Square Garden since November 2001 and the team is 4-1 in the previous five games there ... UA has scored 84 or more points in all six games to date.

 

The Rankings:  Arizona slipped to No. 16 in both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll after winning its lone game last week (as of Nov. 27).  The Wildcats have been ranked in each 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 766-270 (.739) and 574-178 (.763) 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 750th collegiate victory on Dec. 31, 2005, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (316) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.771/316-94) 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 22 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 19 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 28 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 28 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 337-35 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 265 of its last 284 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 1-0 against Louisville.

 

Last Time Out:  The Wildcats exorcised a few demons and enacted a small piece of revenge in earning a hard-fought 84-72 victory over Illinois Saturday in Phoenix.  After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half, Arizona chipped away and cut the deficit to five at the break and then outscored Illinois, 48-31, in the second half, keyed by a 21-4 run that covered 8:08.  All five UA starters finished in double figures, led by Chase Budinger’s 22 points.

 

Scouting Louisville:  The Cardinals (2-1, 0-0 Big East) enter play tonight hoping to build on Saturday’s 99-69 win over Sacramento State, As a team, Louisville averages 87.7 points per game, shoots 51.1 percent (89-of-174) from the field and is equal on the glass with an average of 34.7 rebounds per game.  Sporting a balanced attack, eight Louisville players average six points or better, led by Jerry Smith’s 17.3 points per game figure.  Juan Palacios leads the club with a 9.0 rebounds per game mark.

 

The Series:  Tonight’s game is the fourth meeting of the two schools with Louisville holding a 2-1 series advantage.  Louisville won the first two meetings of the series, which dates back to Dec. 23, 1948, but Arizona won the last ?- an 82-70 victory on March 24, 1994, in the 1994 NCAA West Regional semifinal in Los Angeles.  All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-2 in Louisville, Ky., and 1-0 in neutral-site games.  See page 100 in the UA media guide for more series information.

 

The Last Meeting:  Arizona 82, Louisville 70, March 24, 1994:  Khalid Reeves scored a game-high 29 points and led five Wildcats in double figures in posting the 12-point win.  Arizona limited Louisville to just 37.3 percent shooting in the contest and held a nine-point lead at the break.  Reeves, who was 5-of-10 from three-point range in the contest, also added four boards, five assists and three steals.

 

Against the Big East:  Arizona carries an all-time record of 29-22 (.569) record against teams that currently reside in the Big East Conference.  UA has played at least one Big East opponent in five of the previous six seasons.

 

At MSG:  Since making its first appearance at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in December of 1947, Arizona has compiled a 11-5 (.688) mark all-time at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” including a 10-1 record under Lute Olson. Arizona previously appeared in the Jimmy V Classic in Dec. 2003.

 

Lute at the Garden:  Lute Olson’s success at MSG is not limited to his time in Tucson. Since making its first appearance in the facility while at Long Beach State in a 60-46 win over Long Island on Dec. 15, 1973, Olson is a spotless 11-1 on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets. Here is a quick look:

Dec. 15, 1973    Long Beach State 60, Long Island 46

Nov. 21, 1990    Arizona 91, Notre Dame 61

Nov. 23, 1990    Arizona 89, Arkansas 77

Nov. 22, 1995    Arizona 86, Michigan 79

Nov. 24, 1995    Arizona 91, Georgetown 81

Nov. 24, 1999    Arizona 76, Notre Dame 60

Nov. 26, 1999    Arizona 63, Kentucky 51

Nov. 8, 2001      Arizona 71, Maryland 67

Nov. 9, 2001      Arizona 75, Florida 71

Dec. 9, 2003      Arizona 91, Texas 83

Nov. 24, 2004    Arizona 61, Michigan 60 (ot)

Nov. 26, 2004    Wake Forest 63, Arizona 60

 

Bouncing Back:  Needless to say, falling behind by 16 points in the first 13 minutes of a game doesn’t come close to qualifying as a good start, but the Wildcats certainly rallied for what could be termed a strong finish.  Trailing 35-19 with 7:32 to go in the first, Arizona responded by outscoring Illinois 65-37 the rest of the way to win by the 84-72 final. Illinois opened the contest by hitting 16 of its first 22 field goal attempts and made just 14-of-37 (.378) in the game’s final 24 minutes.  Conversely, Arizona made  six of its first 16 attempts and closed by connecting on 20-of-34 (.588) to end the game.

 

Random Notes from the Illinois Win:  The 84 points posted by Arizona was a season low, as was the team’s 36 points in the first half.  However, by outscoring the Illini 48-31 in the second half, it marked the first time this season that the Wildcats had trailed at the half and come back to win.  Arizona’s 26 field goals and 50 attempts were season lows, but its 26 made free throws were a season high.

 

That’s Familiar:  One of the keys to victory on Saturday was Arizona’s 26-5 scoring advantage from the free throw line. Arizona converted 28 Illinois fouls into 37 free throw attempts, including 16-of-23 in the second half.  It was certainly reminiscent of the 2001 NCAA Midwest Regional Final in San Antonio where Arizona converted 36 Illinois fouls into NCAA Tournament records 43 free throws in 56 attempts as the Cats claimed an 87-81 win and advanced to the Final Four.

 

20-Point Games:  Saturday against Illinois both Chase Budinger (22) and Marcus Williams (20) topped the 20-point plateau.  It marked the 10th time this year that a UA player has scored 20 or points through six games.  All five regular starters have at least one such game to his credit.  By comparison, UA posted 27 20-point efforts in 33 games in 2005-06.

 

Stepping Up:  Senior point guard Mustafa Shakur continues to provide a great deal of efficient productivity from the point guard position.  The 6-foot-3 Philadelphia native is averaging 12.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 8,3 assists per game with a 2.63 assist:turnover ratio.  He’s had six or more assists in each game this season and is averaging just seven field goal attempts per game.

 

No Need to Sub:  The UA starting five has been the driving force behind the squad’s improved field goal percentage this year.  As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 53.3 percent from the field (194-of-364), which is nearly 100 points better than last year’s .446 figure.  All told, the UA starting five combines to shoot 56.0 percent (173-of-309) as a group with four topping the 50 percent plateau.  The quintet also shoots a respectable .425 (37-of-87) from three-point range.  Incidentally, Arizona is 4-0 this season when shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.

 

More than Just Points:  Sophomore Marcus Williams made quite an impact in Saturday’s win, and he did so in more ways than just scoring.  In addition to his 20 points, the 6-foot-7 forward notched new career highs with three blocked shots and four steals in 37 minutes played.  On the season, the Seattle native is averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

 

Quietly Productive:  With all of Arizona’s offensive firepower on display, it might be the quiet contributions of Jawann McClellan that might hold it all together.  Through six games, the 6-foot-4 guard has proven to be the consistent outside threat that the Wildcat offense lacked last year.  To date, the junior 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds, while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor (27-of-52), including 48.0 percent (12-of-25) from behind the arc.  He’s finished in double figures in five of six starts so far.

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 155-19 (.891) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 5-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points, a feat that has happened in each game this year.

 

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)

28-9 run over 11:22 vs. Samford, Nov. 22 (SU went 3-of-16 with four turnovers during run)

21-4 run over 8:08 vs. Illinois, Dec. 2, 2006 (UA 8-of-12 FGs 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)

 

Preseason Prognostications:  According to media members that regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish second in this year’s Pac-10 race.  Arizona received 13 first-place votes and 280 points overall and trailed only UCLA in the poll.  It is the firs time in five seasons that Arizona has not been selected as the preseason team to beat.  Incidentally, the Cats have been the preseason favorite in 11 of the last 17 seasons.

 

Preseason Kudos:  Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams were named to the 2006-07 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America team, the award’s national selection committee announced Oct. 17.  Shakur, a 6-foot-3, senior guard from Philadelphia, and Williams, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward from Philadelphia, are among 50 student-athletes on the list.  Arizona is one of only nine schools nationally to have two or more players on the list.

 

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:  Following tonight’s game, Arizona will next be in action on Saturday, Dec. 9, when the Cats take on San Diego State in the San Diego Slam.  Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PST.

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