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Men's Basketball Game Notes at North Carolina, 1/28/2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/27/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Game 20:  Arizona (13-6, 6-3) at No. 25 North Carolina (11-5, 3-3)

 

Date:  Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006

Time:  1 p.m. EST

Location:  Dean E. Smith Center (21,800), Chapel Hill, N.C.

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

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 remained unranked in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.  The Cats saw its string of 312 consecutive regular-season AP poll appearances end on Dec. 19.

 

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 McKale Center and have won 257 of its last 275 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 3-1 against North Carolina.

 

Last Time Out:  Arizona closed the first half with a 12-4 run to turn a one-point deficit into a seven-point lead and never looked back in Wednesday’s 80-70 win at Arizona State.  Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams each scored five points in the decisive run, but it was Hassan Adams’ 21 points, three assists and six steals that proved to be the difference.  Adams was one of four Wildcats to finish in double figures as UA outscored ASU, 76-57, over the final 35:57.

 

Scouting North Carolina:  The Tar Heels enter today’s game with an 11-5 record (3-3 ACC) following Wednesday’s 81-74 loss to Boston College.  As a team, UNC shoots 47.4 percent from the field (432-of-912), including 36.5 percent (105-of-288) from three-point range, while averaging 77.8 points per game.  Opponents shoot at a 41.4 percent clip and are averaging 68.2 points per game.  Three UNC players average in double figures, led by Tyler Hansbrough’s 18.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg marks.

 

The Series:  Today’s game is the sixth meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 3-2 series advantage.  UA has won the last two meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 28, 1948, including the last meeting, 66-58, in Indianapolis, Ind., on March 29, 1997.  All five meetings have been at neutral sites.  All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Chapel Hill, and 3-2 in neutral-site games.  Please see page 101 in the UA media guide for more series information.

 

Last Meeting:  Arizona 66, North Carolina 58, March 29, 1997:  Arizona’s quickness and resiliency won out as the Wildcats upended North Carolina in the National Semifinals.  Miles Simon led UA with 24 points, while Mike Bibby put a bad shooting night behind him (he missed 10 of his first 13 shots) to finish with 20 points.  The Tar Heels jumped out to a 15-4 lead, but Arizona responded with a 22-9 run of its own and led 34-31 at the break.  UA led 47-42 with 9:50 to go before Simon and Bibby scored all 14 points in a 14-4 run that gave the Cats a 15-point lead.  Half of Arizona’s field goals (11 of 22) that day came from three-point range.

 

Against the ACC:  All-time, Arizona is 18-12 (.600) against the schools that currently make up the Atlantic Coast Conference, and is 2-2 over the last five seasons.

 

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 Arizona will play the previous season’s national champion, and Arizona is 5-7 in those games.  Arizona hasn’t won a road game against such a foe since Dec. 28, 1950, when the Wildcats defeated CCNY, 41-38 in New York City.

 

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, Arizona is 11-5.  Here is a look at the list:

1/30/1988      W, 78-70      Illinois                            2/11/1996      W, 79-76            vs. Cincinnati (2)

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            New Mexico

2/17/1991      L, 56-62       vs. Georgia Tech (1)      1/16/1999      L, 78-79             at New Mexico

2/23/1992      W, 66-60      Temple                          1/29/2000      L, 60-86             at Louisiana State

2/21/1993      W, 70-60      vs. Cincinnati (2)            1/27/2001      W, 80-52            Texas

1/8/1994        W, 94-80      Marquette                      1/26/2002      L, 90-100 (ot)     Connecticut

1/7/1995        W, 82-67      at Rhode Island             1/25/2003      W, 91-74            at Kansas

(1) at the Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.         (2) at Phoenix, Ariz.

 

Nearing the Top 10:  Hassan Adams enters play  Saturday just 12 points shy of moving into sole possession of 10th place on Arizona’s career scoring list.  Currently, Miles Simon (1994-98) occupies the 10th position with 1,664 points.  In his 118-game career, Adams has scored 1,653 points (14.0 ppg).

 

Swatting Shots:  Led by Kirk Walters’ career-high five blocks Wednesday, Arizona tallied a season-high eight blocks in the win over Arizona State.  The Wildcats entered the week ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in blocked shots (3.42 bpg).  Walters’ five swats marked the third time this season that he’s had four or more blocked shots in a game.

 

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.  Arizona is 6-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points.

 

Acts of Commission:  One season-long trend that continued on Wednesday was Arizona’s ability to force turnovers.  The Wildcats forced Arizona State into 20 turnovers, while committing 19 to mark the 18th time in 19 games that the opposition has committed more miscues.  Opponents are averaging 21.5 turnovers per game, which helps the Wildcats lead the Pac-10 with a +7.70 turnover margin.  Through 19 games, Arizona has forced the opposition into 20 or more turnovers 12 times.

 

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, Arizona State connected on just 2-of-18 field goal attempts.

 

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 (Arizona averages 3.1 more offensive rebounds per game than its opponents) and limit the opposition’s field goal percentage helps keep Arizona in games.  All told, Arizona is 8-0 when posting a higher shooting percentage, 6-1 when outrebounding and 13-5 when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition.

 

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.  Arizona made 26 of its last 47 (.553) attempts to finish with a respectable 48.3 field goal percentage and outscore ASU, 76-57, over the final 35:57.  Incidentally, UA made 62.5 (15-of-24) percent of its shots in the second half.

 

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, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity:

29-1 run over 10:43 vs. Virginia, Nov. 27 (UVa went 0-of-12 with seven turnovers during the run)

33-15 run over 10:26 vs. Sam Houston State, Dec. 19 (UA 13-of-20 in run)

22-6 run over 8:19 at Oregon State, Jan. 12 (Seven TO and just 7 OSU FG attempts in run)

21-6 run over 7:12 vs. Michigan State, Nov. 23 (no MSU field goals in last 5:44 of regulation)

20-4 run over 9:10 vs. Kansas, Nov. 21 (KU hits 3-of-first-12 FG attempts with nine TO)

21-5 run over 7:57 at Houston, Dec. 3 (two UH FGs in last eight minutes of first half)

21-9 run over 12:23 vs. Connecticut, Nov. 22 (UA hits 7-of-11 FG in run)

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 Washington, Dec. 31 (UA makes 10-of-first-14 FG to ignite 2nd half run)

 

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 Carlsbad, Calif., LaCosta High School; Jordan Hill (F, 6-8, 210) from Atlanta, Ga., The Patterson (N.C.) School;  and Nic Wise (G, 5-10, 180) from Kingwood, Texas., Kingwood High School, will join the squad next fall.

 

Up Next:  Arizona returns to conference play on Thursday, Feb. 2, when the Wildcats travel to Los Angeles to take on USC.  The contest will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. PST and be televised by FSN Arizona.

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