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Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. Wisconsin, 3/17/2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/14/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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No. 8 Seed Arizona (19-12) at NCAA Minneapolis Region First/Second Rounds

 

Date:  Friday, March 17, 2006

Time:  12:30 p.m. EST

Location:  Wachovia Center (19,500), Philadelphia, Pa.

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

TV:  CBS (Jim Nantz/Billy Packer)

 

Game Data:  The University of Arizona (19-12, 11-7 Pac-10) appears in its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed in the Minneapolis Region ... The Wildcats face No. 9 seed Wisconsin (19-11, 9-7 Big Ten) Friday in the first round ... Arizona has a 40-23 (.635) record in its 24 previous NCAA Tournament appearances ... UA is 3-8 vs. the 2006 NCAA Tournament field ... This is Arizona’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in Philadelphia.

 

The Rankings:  For the eighth straight week (as of March 6), UA 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

F Marcus Williams
F Ivan Radenovic
C Kirk Walters
G Mustafa Shakur
G Hassan Adams
career record of 760-268 (.739) and 568-176 (.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 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 333-35 (.905) in McKale Center and have won 261 of its last 280 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 15-3 against Wisconsin and 45-26 in NCAA Tournament action.

 

Last Time Out:  UCLA flexed its muscle inside as it cruised to a 71-59 win in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals.  The top-seeded Bruins held a 36-16 points in the paint advantage and used that to build as much as a 22-point lead.  Fifteen turnovers, including 10 in the first half, hurt UA’s ability to find an offensive rhythm.  Marcus Williams and Ivan Radenovic combined for 42 points, but the UCLA reserves outscored Arizona’s 26-4.  It was UA’s worst loss in 21 Pac-10 Tournament games.

 

Scouting Wisconsin:  The Badgers enter today’s game with a 19-11 record (9-7 Big Ten) following last Friday’s 61-56 loss to Indiana.  As a team, Wisconsin shoots 43.2 percent from the field (751-of-1738), including 34.2 percent (189-of-553) from three-point range, while averaging 71.0 points per game.  Opponents shoot at a 42.1 percent clip and are averaging 64.7 points per game.  Three Badgers average in double figures, led by Alando Tucker’s 19.0 ppg mark.

 

The Series:  Today’s game is the fourth meeting of the two schools with Wisconsin holding a 2-1 series advantage. Arizona captured the first meeting, 51-46, in Madison on Dec. 3, 1962.  The Badgers rebounded to win the last two ?- 104-77 on Dec. 30, 1966, in Los Angeles and 66-59 on March 18, 2000, in Salt Lake City.  All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 1-0 in Madison, Wis., and 0-2 in neutral-site games.

 

Last Meeting:  Wisconsin 66, Arizona 59, March 18, 2000:  Defense and tempo helped Wisconsin shut down Arizona in this NCAA West Region second round game.  The Badgers limited the Wildcats to just 39.2 percent shooting (20-of-51) and forced 17 turnovers in the seven-point win.  Gilbert Arenas scored 21 points and Rick Anderson added 12 points off the bench, but Wisconsin held Michael Wright, UA’s leading scorer, to a season-low two points on only four field goal attempts.

 

Against the Big Ten:  Arizona has a cumulative 28-28 (.500) against schools that currently reside in the Big Ten Conference.  UA last met a Big Ten foe earlier this season, a 74-71 overtime loss to Michigan State on Nov. 23 at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.  Over the last five seasons, Arizona has played Big Ten opposition six times and is 3-3 in those games.

 

As a No. 8 Seed:  This will be Arizona’s first NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 8 seed.  Since seeding was introduced in 1985, Arizona has been a higher seed four times:  No. 9 (1986, 2004) and No. 10 (1985, 1987) and is 0-4 in those games.

 

In the White Jerseys:  Perhaps it doesn’t mean as much in the 8-9 game, but Arizona will wear the white jerseys in Friday’s game against Wisconsin.  Since 1985, Arizona is 31-10 (.756) in NCAA Tournament games when playing in the white jerseys as the seeded favorite.

 

All-Conference:  Three Arizona players earned all-Pac-10 honors in voting released March 6 by the league’s head coaches.  Hassan Adams was an all-conference honoree, Ivan Radenovic was an honorable mention pick, and Marcus Williams was an all-freshman selection.  Adams moved up to first team honors after being an honorable mention selection in each of the previous two seasons.  Previously, Radenovic was an honorable mention all-freshman selection in 2004.

 

A Nice Warm up:  It was Arizona’s forwards that helped the Wildcats to its seventh semifinal appearance in nine Pac-10 Tournament appearances.  Junior Ivan Radenovic and freshman Marcus Williams combined to average 37.0 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two games.  Radenovic averaged 19.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the floor, while Williams averaged 18.0 points and 5.0 rebounds, while connecting on 5-of-6 three-point attempts at the Staples Center.

 

In March:  Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 46-18 (.719) record in the month of March.  In that span, Arizona has advanced to the Final Four twice (1997, 2001), the regional final three times (1998, 2003, 2005), and conversely, been knocked out in the first round twice (1999, 2004).

 

On the Right Foot:  Through 31 games, Arizona is 14-1 when leading at the half.  Getting off to a good start is beneficial because the Cats have proven to be a second-half club.  Arizona’s first half scoring average is just 0.8 points per game better than the opposition (32.8 ppg-32.0 ppg), but the scoring margin jumps to 4.1 points after the halftime break (40.1-36.0).

 

Streaking:  This NCAA tournament appearance is the 22nd consecutive for Arizona and head coach Lute Olson.  It is the second-longest streak in NCAA history, trailing only North Carolina (27, 1975-2001).  Individually, Olson’s 22-year streak of appearances trails only UNC’s Dean Smith in tournament history.  The legendary Tar Heel mentor appeared in 23 consecutive tournaments from 1975-97.

 

More Minutia:  Lute Olson ranks third in the NCAA Tournament record book with 70 games coached.  Only Dean Smith (92) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (84) rank ahead the UA coach.  Additionally, Olson’s 45 career tournament wins tie him for fourth place on the all-time tournament victory list with Texas Tech’s Bob Knight.  Kyzyzewski (66), Smith (65) and UCLA’s John Wooden (47) are the only coaches with more NCAA Tournament wins than Olson.

 

In case You Were Wondering:  Arizona enters the tournament with a 19-12 record.  The last time Arizona entered the event with less than 20 wins came in 1997, and that club went on to win the national championship.  On the other hand, the Wildcats have never entered the postseason with as many losses as this seasons’s 12.

 

The Legacy Rides With This One:  A win over Wisconsin Friday would give Arizona is 20th win of the season.  It would also extend to 19 Arizona’s streak of consecutive 20-win seasons, which is the longest active streak in the country.  Over the last 18 seasons, the Wildcats have averaged 26.6 wins per year.

 

The Century Mark:  The Wildcats head into the postseason without having scored 100 points in a game this season.  The last time Arizona went an entire season without posting at least one 100-point game was 2001-02.  That’s happened just five times in the Lute Olson era (1984, ?'90, ?'99, 2000, ?'02).

 

Experience Helps:  The projected UA starting lineup boasts a combined 23 games of NCAA Tournament experience (Hassan Adams 9, Ivan Radenovic 5, Mustafa Shakur 5, Kirk Walters 4).  The entire Wildcat roster has 45 NCAA Tournament games under its collective belts.

 

Pick Up the Pace:  During the regular season, Arizona averaged 72.9 points per game, a figure that ranked second in the Pac-10 but was the lowest UA scoring average since the addition of the three-point field goal in 1986-87.  In fact, Arizona proved more likely to score less than 70 points (11 times) than it was to top 80 (seven times) this season.  It’s been an interesting adjustment for a program that averaged more points per game (83.3) than any team in the country in the previous four seasons (2002-05).

 

Scoring 80:  Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 149-18 (.892) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points.  Arizona is 7-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points, though the club hasn’t reached the 80-point plateau in eight games.

 

Forcing Turnovers:  One thing Arizona has been good at is its ability to force the opposition into turnovers.  In 31 games, Wildcat opponents have turned the ball over 606 times, or an average of 19.5 per game.  Fifteen times in 2005-06, Arizona has forced 20 or more turnovers and leads the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+6.06).  It should be an interesting battle against a Wisconsin team that averages just 11.6 turnovers per game.

 

Stolen Moments:  Arizona averages 9.9 steals per game, a figure that leads the Pac-10 and ranked 10th nationally (as of March 6).  The Cats have collected 10 or more steals in 18 of 31 games to date.  Hassan Adams ranks 16th nationally and leads the league with a 2.7 steals per game average.

 

Back in Action:  Senior guard Hassan Adams returns to action this week for his fourth run in the NCAA Tournament and it’s a stage that has suited him.  In nine career tournament games, the 6-foot-4 Adams averages 12.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, while shooting 63.0 percent (46-of-73) from the field and 50 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range.

 

Worth Noting:  Hassan Adams faces the Badgers Friday just 15 points shy of taking sole possession of seventh place on the Arizona career scoring list (see page 26) .  Currently ninth on the list with 1,777 career points (13.9 ppg), Adams is the only player in Pac-10 history to record 1,700 points, 700 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.  He is ranked in the top 10 of six Arizona career statistical categories.

 

20-Point Plateau:  Freshman forward Marcus Williams notched his fourth 20-point game of the season Saturday vs. UCLA, which was Arizona’s 22nd 20-point game this year.  Williams, who notched a career-high 25 points, ranks second on the club with four 20-point games, trailing only Hassan Adams (12).  Ivan Radenovic (3), Chris Rodgers (2) and Mustafa Shakur (1) have also topped the 20-point plateau for the Cats in 2005-06.

 

From Long Range:  Bolstered by 3-of-3 shooting by Marcus Williams from behind the arc, Arizona shot 60.0 percent (3-of-5) from three-point range against UCLA in the Pac-10 semifinal.  Counting that effort, UA shot 50 percent or better from three-point range only four times this year.  Through 31 games, UA shoots 31.6 percent (132-of-418) from behind the arc.

 

On Target:  Look no further than the field goal percentage when determining Arizona’s success, as the team is 13-3 when outshooting the opposition.  This season, UA shoots 44.2 percent (846-of-1913) and has shot 50 percent or better seven times this season. In UA wins, opponents connected on only 41.3 percent (441-of-1069) of its FG attempts.

 

That’s More Like It:  Over the last eight games, Mustafa Shakur is averaging 5.9 assists per game with a 2.47 assist:turnover ratio, and each of those numbers is a significant improvement over his 31-game marks of 4.5 assists per game and a 1.69 assist:turnover ratio.  The recent increase in productivity has moved the 6-foot-3 Philadelphia product into second place among the Pac-10’s assists leaders.

 

Double-Doubles:  Ivan Radenovic picked up his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds against UCLA on March 10.  The 6-foot-10  forward is one of two Wildcats to post double-doubles this season.  Mustafa Shakur, who’s tallied double-figure points and assists twice this year, is the other.

 

More From the Middle:  Over his last 10 games, UA center Kirk Walters is averaging 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots, while shooting 68.0 percent (34-of-50) from the field.  Through 31 games, the Grand Rapids native is the only UA regular with a field goal percentage above 50 percent (80-of-138/.580).

 

Finding A Rhythm:  Senior guard Chris Rodgers, often the point man of the Arizona defense, currently ranks second on the team with 52 steals.  He is also showing sings on greater offensive contributions, as he has scored in double figures in two of his last three games.  On the year, the 6-foot-4 native of Portland, Ore., is averaging 9.3 points and 2.4 rebounds, while leading the Cats with 40 three-point field goals.

 

Cat Tracks:  Maybe Arizona can look at the 2,057-mile trip from Tucson to Philadelphia and feel like it’s visiting family.  Not only does junior point guard Mustafa Shakur call the city home, but so does former Wildcat Andre Iguodala, who is in his second season with the Philadelphia 76ers.  Iguodala, who was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American in 2004 before turning professional, is averaging 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his 83-game NBA career.  Iguodala is one of 10 former Wildcats currently in the NBA, a figure than ranks second in the nation.

 

From the Line:  After ranking in the top three nationally in free throw percentage in the previous two seasons, the Wildcats have struggled from the strip this year.  Arizona has connected on 74.5 percent (143-of-192) of its free throw attempts in the last 10 games to raise the season percentage to 70.0 (437-of-624), which is the highest its been all season.  Furthermore, UA’s total of 437 made free throws is the lowest total for the program since 1983-84, Lute Olson’s first in Tucson.

 

Change is Good:  In its 31-game odyssey to this point, Arizona has used eight different starting lineups.  That number is equal to the previous two seasons combined.

 

Always On the Run:  Throughout the season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity.  The Wildcats’ have 14 scoring runs of 11 or more points this season:

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)

18-0 run over 6:09 vs. Arizona State, Feb. 25 (ASU 0-of-7 with six turnovers in run)

24-7 run over 9:53 at UCLA, Feb. 4 (UA 9-of-13 FG, 6-of-6 FT in run; UCLA 3-of-10 FG)

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)

16-3 run over 5:47 at Stanford, Feb. 19 (Stanford 1-of-12 FG with 6 turnovers in 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.

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