Date: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006
Time: 1 p.m. EST
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist/Billy Packer)
Game Data: Arizona (13-6, 6-3 Pac-10) steps out of conference and travels more than 1,800 miles to face No. 25 North Carolina (11-5, 3-3 ACC) Saturday in Chapel Hill ... This intersectional meeting of college basketball powers comes with an interesting footnote: Lute Olson and Roy Williams face each other today with more combined losses at this point of the season (11) than at any time since Williams became a head coach in 1988-89 ... In true road games this season, the Wildcats are 4-0 when scoring 70 or more points and 0-3 when not.
The Rankings: For the second consecutive week,
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 23rd season at Arizona and his 33rd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 754-262 (.742) and 562-170 (.768) 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 (311) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.776/311-90) 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 23-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 21 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 best winning percentage over the past 18 years (479-118/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 18 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 27 overall in his career, making him one of only four head coaches in NCAA history to record 27 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 329-34 (.906) in
Last Time Out:
The Series: Today’s game is the sixth meeting of the two schools with
Against the ACC: All-time,
Color Me Impressed: Is it possible to turn back the clock and get legendary Tar Heel mentor Dean Smith back on the sidelines? Let’s face it, Olson and the Wildcats were far more fortunate against Smith, winning three of four games, including the above-mentioned National Semifinal that turned out to be Smith’s final game as a head coach, than they have been against Williams, who was 4-2 against Arizona as the Kansas head coach, with wins in three of the last four meetings. Perhaps Williams’ switch to Carolina Blue will color UA’s fortunes successful, or maybe it will be UA’s red road uniforms, a hue Williams has never seen the Wildcats wear in six prior meetings.
Against the Defending Champions: Saturday’s game marks the 13th time in school history that
No Cupcakes here: Since the 1987-88 campaign, the Wildcats have used the open weekend in the Pac-10 schedule that arises when playing your travel partner to squeeze in another marquee non-conference game. In those match-ups,
1/30/1988 W, 78-70
2/26/1989 W, 77-75 vs. Duke (1) 2/9/1997 W, 81-62 vs. Tulane (2)
2/18/1990 L, 87-95 at UNLV 1/18/1998 W, 89-70
2/17/1991 L, 56-62 vs. Georgia Tech (1) 1/16/1999 L, 78-79 at
2/23/1992 W, 66-60
2/21/1993 W, 70-60 vs.
1/8/1994 W, 94-80 Marquette 1/26/2002 L, 90-100 (ot)
1/7/1995 W, 82-67 at Rhode Island 1/25/2003 W, 91-74 at
(1) at the Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. (2) at
Nearing the Top 10: Hassan Adams enters play Saturday just 12 points shy of moving into sole possession of 10th place on
Swatting Shots: Led by Kirk Walters’ career-high five blocks Wednesday,
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 148-18 (.892) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.
Acts of Commission: One season-long trend that continued on Wednesday was
Defensive effort: The Wildcats limited its intrastate rival to just 34.4 percent (20-of-58) shooting on Wednesday, the eighth time this season that an opponent had failed to shoot at least 40 percent from the floor. UA held Arizona State to just 24.1 percent (7-of-29) shooting in the first half, which was a UA opponent low for an opening half this season. Over the last 13 minutes of the first half,
Little Things: For a team that shoots just 43.2 percent (524-of-1213), things like the ability to consistently force turnovers, gather offensive rebounds (
Finding the Range: Perhaps the power outage during the pregame warm-ups Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena affected the club, but whatever the reason it took UA a while to find its shooting touch as the Cats missed nine of its first 11 shots in the contest and quickly fell behind by a 13-4 count. Once it did find the range, the tables quickly turned.
A Philly Flourish: Junior Mustafa Shakur has been on a bit of a roll lately, as the 6-foot-3 guard is averaging 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists over his last six games. He is also shooting 50 percent from the floor (31-of-62), 41.2 percent from three-point range and .857 (18-of-21) from the free throw line. Shakur has finished in double figures five times in that span (now 40 for his career) and notched his first career double-double (13 points/12 assists) on Jan. 19.
Toeing the Line: While his .366 field goal percentage may not be up to par, junior Ivan Radenovic has made himself effective by getting to the free throw line. Over the last four games, the 6-foot-10 forward has attempted better than seven free throws per game (24-of-29) and knocked down 82.8 percent of those attempts. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but Radenovic is also averaging nearly four offensive rebounds per game over the last four outings.
Renaissance: After a seven-game stretch that saw him amass four DNPs and three games with a total of zero points, senior Isaish Fox has found his way back into the regular rotation. In the last three games, the senior forward has tallied 16 points and eight rebounds, while connecting on 6-of-9 field goal attempts in 42 total minutes played. Those numbers may seem modest, but it’s more points than he had scored in the rest of the season combined, while his minutes per game have nearly doubled.
Always On the Run: Throughout the season,
29-1 run over 10:43 vs.
33-15 run over 10:26 vs.
22-6 run over 8:19 at
21-6 run over 7:12 vs.
20-4 run over 9:10 vs.
21-5 run over 7:57 at
21-9 run over 12:23 vs.
25-11 run over 9:27 vs. USC, Jan. 7 (USC 4-of-13 FG, eight turnovers during run)
26-13 run over 13:04 vs. Saint Mary’s, Dec. 10 (nine SMC turnovers during run)
38-27 run over 13:52 at
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Chase Budinger (F, 6-7, 190) from