Dec. 3, 2010
Date: Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
Time: 2 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Steve Kerr)
Game Data: Arizona (6-1, 0-0 Pac-10) opens a two-game homestand Sunday by hosting Oklahoma (3-4, 0-0 Big 12) in McKale Center ... This contest is part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series ... Arizona is averaging 84.7 points per game in its three home games, more than three points better than its overall scoring average ... This is the fourth regular season matchup between these programs in the series, the others have taken place during each weekend of the NCAA Tournament (first round, Sweet 16 and Final Four) ... The first four games of this series were decided by a total of 15 points (3.8 ppg), while the last two have been decided by 38 points (19.0 ppg) ... All six of Arizona's wins this season have been by 23 or more points.
The Rankings: Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Cats started the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 142-63 (.693) and 22-16 (.579) at Arizona ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of their conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 17 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 42, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-1 vs. Oklahoma as a head coach.
Last Time Out: Six different Wildcats scored points in a decisive 17-2 run that covered 5:31 of the first half as Arizona pulled away from Rice, 84-57, Wednesday in its first true road game of the season. Derrick Williams posted his second double-double of the season (18 pts./10 reb.) to lead four Cats in double figures. Arizona limited Rice to .375 shooting and outrebounded the Owls, 36-25, in building as much as a 28-point lead.
Scouting Oklahoma: The Sooners enter today's game with a 3-4 record (0-0 Big 12) following Wednesday's 84-74 loss at Arkansas. On the season, Oklahoma averages 69.7 points, shoots 45.9 percent from the floor (175-of-382), 35.0 percent (48-of-137) from three-point range and 72.0 percent (90-of-125) from the line. Opponents average 67.7 points, are outrebounded by 5.6 boards per game and shoot 43.8 percent from the floor (167-of-381). Individually, three Sooners average in double-figures, led by Cade Davis' 15.6 ppg average. Andrew Fitzgerald leads OU with a 6.3 rebounds per game average.
The Series: This afternoon's game is the seventh meeting of the two schools with Oklahoma holding a 5-1 series advantage. The Sooners have won the last three meetings in the series, which dates back to April 2, 1988, including the last by a 79-62 count on Dec. 6, 2009, in Norman. Of the six previous meetings, three have come in the NCAA Tournament. All-time, Arizona is 1-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-2 in Norman, Okla., and 0-3 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 44 in the UA media guide.
Last Meeting: Oklahoma 79, Arizona 62, Dec. 6, 2009: Willie Warren scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as Oklahoma pulled away early. Five of the Sooners' first seven field goal were treys to propel OU to a double-digit lead in the first eight minutes. Oklahoma limited Arizona to 33 percent shooting and forced nine turnovers in the first half in building an 18-point lead at intermission. Nic Wise (15), Jamelle Horne (13) and Derrick Williams (11) each finished in double figures for the Wildcats.
Against the Big 12: All-time, Arizona is 65-69 (.485) against schools that currently reside in the Big 12 Conference. The last time the Wildcats faced a Big 12 club was Nov. 27, 2010, when then-sixth-ranked Kansas defeated Arizona, 87-79, in Las Vegas. For a conference breakdown, see page 47 in the UA media guide.
Off to a Good Start: Arizona has held the lead at the half in six of seven games this season, and much of the credit could go to the defense. The Cats are limiting opponents to .402 shooting (70-of-174) and just 26.9 points in the opening period to date. Wednesday at Rice, UA held the Owls to just 30 percent shooting (6-of-20) in the first half, and Rice's six field goals were a UA opponent low in any half this year. Only three times this season have opponents shot better than 40 percent against Arizona so far. For good measure, Arizona is forcing an average of 9.1 turnovers in the first half.
And Closing Strong: Through seven games, the Wildcats have finished strongly as well, outscoring opponents by an average of 12.4 points in the final 20 minutes. In that period, Arizona shoots .530 percent (97-of-183) from the floor and scored 40 or more points six times in seven games. Wednesday at Rice, Arizona shot 66.7 percent from the field (16-of-24) and tallied 47 points in the final 20 minutes.
On target: It's certainly a benefit for any team to go on the road and shoot 56.6 percent (30-of-53) from the floor, as was the case Wednesday at Rice. The effort was on par with what the Cats have done all season, which is connect on 51.2 percent (193-of-377) of its field goal attempts this year. UA has topped the 50-percent shooting plateau four times in seven games. The 50-percent shooting plateau has proved meaningful in the Sean Miller era, as the Cats are 11-0 when accomplishing the feat.
Step Back: Bolstered by Jamelle Horne's 4-of-7 effort Wednesday, Arizona equaled a season high with 11 three-point field goals at Rice. UA connected on 11-of-26 (.423) attempts from behind the arc and moved the team's three-point field goal percentage to .378 (62-of-164) on the season. Wednesday's game marked the second consecutive and third time overall that Arizona has tallied 10 or more treys in a game this season. Overall, UA averages 8.9 treys per game.
Reversal of Fortune: Throughout this season, Arizona has outshot and outscored its opponents from the free throw line. To dates, UA has attempted 28 more free throws (180-152) and made 40 more (141-101), or an average of 5.7 more points per game. However, in the last two games opponents have attempted and made more free throws than has Arizona . In that span, opponents are 39-of-58 (.672) from the stripe, while Arizona is 28-of-35 (.800).
Seeking Balance: Since his arrival in Tucson, Sean Miller has preached the benefits of a balanced offensive attack. Granted the Wildcats do have quite a weapon in Derrick Williams (20.6 ppg), but overall the points come from just about everyone. To date, eight Wildcats are averaging 5.0 points or better and each of those players have scored in double figures at least once. This year's team is averaging a robust 84.1 points per game, 12.2 points better than last season. UA hasn't averaged more than 80 points per game for a season since 2003-04 (87.1 ppg).
Controlling the Boards: For the sixth time in seven games, Arizona won the rebounding battle, Wednesday posting a 36-25 rebound advantage over Rice. Arizona's +11.6 rebound margin leads the Pac-10 Conference. One of the reasons why the Cats have enjoyed such a comfortable margin on the glass is the fact that UA has made it hard for opponents to simply get to the ball. Opponents are averaging just 26.3 rebounds per game - a Pac-10 best in terms of rebound defense - and those foes have managed to grab 30 or more rebounds in a game only twice this season. Incidentally, Arizona has yet to be outrebounded this season, as Santa Clara equaled UA, 30-30, on Nov. 26.
Doubling Up: Forward Derrick Williams collected his second double-double of the season Wednesday, registering 18 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of action. The 6-foot-8 sophomore from La Mirada, Calif., connected on 7-of-8 field goals, grabbed five offensive and five defensive boards, and collected two steals in the effort. It was the sixth double-double of his career.
A Simple Goal: The simple and obvious goal of basketball is to put the ball in the hoop, and few players are doing that as efficiently as Derrick Williams. The 6-foot-8 forward ranks second in the Pac-10 with a .671 (47-of-70) field goal percentage, and no player ranked in the top 10 has as many field goal attempts as Williams' 70 (through games of Dec. 2). Additionally, Williams is shooting .800 (8-of-10) from three-point range, a figure that also currently leads the Pac-10.
A Good Sign: Sophomore guard Lamont Jones notched his second consecutive double-figure scoring game of the season on Wednesday. The 6-foot native of Harlem, N.Y., connected on 5-of-8 field goals, equaled a season-high with four rebounds and passed out three assists. MoMo continues to look more comfortable in the starting point guard role with a positive assist:turnover ratio (1.1:1). A third straight game in double figure for Jones would equal a career best.
Back on Top: A year after sharing the team lead with 50 three-point field goals, senior forward Jamelle Horne re-established himself in that same position Wednesday by connecting on 4-of-7 attempts from behind the arc at Rice. The effort propelled him to a season-high 15 points and moved him into the team lead with 13 treys to date. On the season, Horne averages 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds, while shooting 48.9 percent (22-of-45) from the field and 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from three-point range.
Steady: Freshman Jordin Mayes put forth another solid effort Wednesday, tallying 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting to register his first career game in double figures. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of Los Angeles, Calif., also equaled highs for rebounds (3) and three-point field goals (2) while in Houston. He currently averages 6.7 points and 1.7 assists per game while shooting .515 (17-of-33) from the field.
Now It's Official: While the totals may seem modest - two points, a rebound and an assist in two minutes of action - the numbers were noteworthy as junior Dondre Wise scored his first career points Wednesday in his hometown. The 6-foot-1 guard broke into the scoring column with a pair of free throws with 1:12 remaining. He grabbed his first career rebound 47 seconds later.
Scoring 80: Arizona scored 84 points Wednesday at Rice, topping the 80-point barrier for the fifth time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 191-19 (.910) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: The Arizona coaching staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letter-of-Intent in the November early signing period. Nick Johnson (G, 6-2, 180) from Gilbert, Ariz., who preps at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; Sidiki Johnson (F, 6-8, 220) from the Bronx, N.Y, who preps at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.; and Josiah Turner (G, 6-3, 185) from Sacramento, Calif., Sacramento High School; make up a class that was ranked in the top-10 nationally by both espn.com and rivals.com.
Up Next: Following this afternoon's game, Arizona concludes the two-game homestand by hosting Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and can be seen on KWBA and Fox College Sports.