Game 4: No. 9 Arizona (1-2) vs. Virginia (2-0)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005
Time: 5 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)
Game Data: No. 9 Arizona (1-2, 0-0 Pac-10) returns home to open the home portion of its schedule Sunday vs. Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC) ... Today’s game marks the latest home opener for the Wildcats since the 2001-02 season when the club played its first home game on Dec. 1 ... Arizona plays five of its next seven games at McKale Center ... Eight of the 11 Wildcats to see action this season are averaging better than 10 minutes per game ... These two teams will also meet in each of the next two seasons.
The Rankings: Arizona is ranked ninth in the current Associated Press Top 25 and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. UA has been ranked in 304 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
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 742-258 (.742) and 550-166 (.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 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (305) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.778/305-87) 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 322-33 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 250 of its last 267 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.
Last Time Out: Trailing by 15 points with 7:54 to go, Arizona outscored Michigan State, 21-6, the rest of the way to force overtime before the Spartans prevailed. Arizona held MSU without a field goal over the final 5:44 of regulation. UA never held the lead in the extra period and the game was put out of reach by Paul Davis’ free throws with five seconds remaining. Davis was 6-of-6 from the line in overtime.
Scouting Virginia: The Cavaliers (2-0, 0-0 ACC) enter play this evening undefeated following Tuesday’s 59-43 win at Richmond. As team, UVa shoots 46.5 percent from the field (46-of-99), posts a +16 rebound advantage and averages 69.0 points per game, while limiting the opposition to 25.7 percent shooting and 43.5 points per game. Four Virginia players average in double figures, led by J.R. Reynolds’ 18.5 points per game average.
The Series: Today’s game marks the third meeting of the two schools with the series tied at one win apiece. Both games have been decided by double figures, including last season’s 78-60 Cavalier triumph on Nov. 21. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Charlottesville and 1-0 in neutral site games. See page 104 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Virginia 78, Arizona 60; Nov. 21, 2004: Virginia used a 14-2 run in the last six minutes of the first half to break open a two-point game and earn the 78-60 victory. The Cavaliers outrebounded Arizona, 37-32, forced 21 UA turnovers and outscored the Cats, 46-20, in the paint. UA shot just 39.7 percent for the game and got no closer than eight points in the second half. Channing Frye finished with game-high totals of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Against the ACC: All time, Arizona is 17-12 (.586) against the schools that currently make up the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, the Wildcats have dropped the last two games against ACC foes (both came last season). The last time Arizona defeated an ACC opponent came on Nov. 8, 2001, in a 71-67 win over Maryland in the opening game of the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic in New York, N.Y.
In November: Fast starts are the norm for the Cats under Lute Olson. Over the last 23 years, Arizona is 51-12 (.810) in the month of November. Additionally, Arizona is 19-3 in home openers under Olson.
In Case you were wondering: The last time Arizona started the season with a 1-2 record was the 1989-90 season. That club went on to post a 25-7 record and claim both the Pac-10 regular season and postseason tournament championships. Furthermore, the last time the Wildcats lost three consecutive games game in the final three games of the 1991-92 campaign (March 12-20).
Eerily Similar: Arizona’s season-opening, three-game effort at the EA Sports Maui Invitational proved to be statistically similar to the Cats’ three-game trek across the country to play in finals of the Preseason N.I.T. ?- by more than just the 1-2 record that resulted from each. Last season, Arizona shot 33.8 percent (70-of-207) from the floor, including 27.7 percent (18-of-65) from three-point range, grabbed an average of 42.7 rebounds, forced 53 turnovers and averaged 60.3 points per game. This year Arizona shot 36.1 percent (69-of-191) from the floor, including 32.0 percent (16-of-50) from three-point range, grabbed an average of 34.3 rebounds, forced 70 turnovers and averaged 67.3 points per game.
Off Target: Through three games, the Wildcats have struggled from the floor, connecting on 36.1 percent (69-of-191) of its field goal attempts. Only one player (Mustafa Shakur/.500/11-of-22) with a significant number of field goal attempts has a shooting percentage of at least 50 percent. While in Maui, the UA starters combined to connect on 46-of-137 (.336) field goal attempts.
Not Up to Par: One statistic that hasn’t been up to par has been the Wildcats’ free throw percentage, which stands at 63.2 percent (48-of-76). By comparison, the Wildcats have shot a cumulative 70.2 percent (12,375-of-17,637) from the free throw line in Lute Olson’s first 22 seasons in Tucson.
Beaten on the Glass: In Wednesday’s loss to Michigan State, the Spartans posted a 43-23 rebound advantage. The last time Arizona was outrebounded by 20 in a game happened Feb. 1, 1996, in an 80-79 overtime loss vs. Washington. The Huskies outrebounded Arizona, 52-31 in that game. How important are the boards to the Cats? Over the last four seasons, Arizona is 79-9 (.898) when outrebounding the opposition.
Watch List: Hassan Adams, a 6-foot-4 senior guard from Los Angeles was selected one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy, which is presented annually to the college basketball player of the year. The list will be pared to 30 in January. Adams was also included on the preseason Wooden Award list as well.
Finding Positives: Despite the fact that Arizona came away with a 1-2 record at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, there were positives to be found. One was the fact that the Cats were able to post large scoring runs against three quality programs:
20-4 run over 9:10 vs. Kansas, Nov. 21 (KU hits 3-of-first-12 FG attempts with nine TO)
21-9 run over 12:23 vs. Connecticut, Nov. 22 (UA hits 7-of-11 FG in run)
21-6 run over 7:12 vs. Michigan State, Nov. 23 (no MSU field goals in last 5:44 of regulation)
Call Them Pirates: With all of the thieving that went on in the islands, maybe a nickname change is in order as the Wildcats collected a total of 39 steals in the three games in Maui. Chris Rodgers led the way with 11 pilfers, while Hassan Adams was close behind with 10. Five other UA players had at least three steals in those three tilts.
Cause and Effect: The steals mentioned above, and the defensive pressure that goes with it, went a long way towards Arizona forcing a total of 70 turnovers to date. Arizona forced both Kansas and Michigan State into 27 turnovers each and got 16 from Connecticut. Each of those numbers were higher than those team’s per game averages from last season.
Top 20: Hassan Adams enters today’s game just nine points shy of moving into the top 20 of Arizona’s career scoring list. Through 102 career games, Adams has 1,320 points (12.9 ppg). He trails Frank Smith, who scored 1,329 points from 1980-83 and currently occupies the 20th position on the list.
20-Point Plateau: By pouring in 20 points Wednesday vs. Michigan State, senior guard Chris Rodgers topped the 20-point plateau for the fourth time in his career. He has scored in double figures in all three games to date, marking just the second time in his career that he has reached double figures in three straight games. Incidentally, Arizona has had three players reach the 20-point plateau this season.
From the Point: Junior Mustafa Shakur tallied 10 points, six assists (against one turnover) and two steals in 38 minutes vs. Michigan State. For the 6-foot-3 guard from Philadelphia, it was his 30th career game with 10 or more points. Through two-plus seasons, UA is 28-6 (.824) when Shakur passes out five or more assists in a game.
Becoming More Comfortable: Freshman Marcus Williams took a big step towards finding his comfort zone Wednesday vs. Michigan State. After connecting on 3-of-his-10 FG attempts in the first two games, the 6-foot-7 forward from Seattle hit 4-of-5 shots en route to a season-high eight points, two rebounds and two assists (no turnovers) in 21 minutes.
Shoring Up the Middle: Center Kirk Walters play in Maui might be a harbinger of good things to come. The 6-foot-10 product of Grand Rapids, Mich., averaged 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. Those totals were well above his career averages of 1.6 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game entering 2005-06.
Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title for the fourth year in a row and 11th time in the last 16 seasons. The Cats received 23 of a possible 34 first place votes and 325 points overall. Stanford (294), UCLA (263) and Washington (238) rounded out the top four spots. It is the 11th time in the last 16 seasons that Arizona has been tabbed the preseason Pac-10 favorite. Arizona has gone on to win the league title eight times in that span.
The Next Level: With the 2005-06 National Basketball Association regular season underway, no fewer than 10 former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only one school has more alumni in the league (Duke, 11). Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Channing Frye, New York Knicks; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Damon Stoudamire, Memphis Grizzlies; Salim Stoudamire, Atlanta Hawks; Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers, and Loren Woods, Toronto Raptors. Incidentally, the Pac-10 ranks third among the NCAA Division I conferences with 38 former players in the NBA, trailing only the Big East (50) and ACC (49).
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: Following today’s game, Arizona will travel to Houston, Texas, to take on the University of Houston on Saturday, Dec. 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST and can be seen nationally on ESPN2.