March 11, 2003
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2003
Time: 1:20 p.m. PST
Location: Staples Center (19,282), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins/Dan Belluomini)
Game Data: Top-ranked Arizona (25-2, 17-1 Pac-10) heads to Los Angeles for the 2003 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament, March 13-15 at the Staples Center ... The Wildcats, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, will face No. 8 seed UCLA (9-18, 6-12 Pac-10) in Thursday's first quarterfinal ... In the five previous Pac-10 Tournaments, Arizona was a No. 1 seed twice (1988, '89) and a No. 2 seed twice (1987, '90, 2002) ... This is the first time Arizona and UCLA have played each other three times in a season since the 1989-90 campaign ... Since the 1996-97 season, Arizona is 33-10 (.767) in the month of March.
The Rankings: Arizona remains the nation's top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the fifth straight week. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in 13 of 18 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 269 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 20th season at Arizona and his 30th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 688-237 (.744) and 496-145 (.774) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the second-most Pac-10 wins (279) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.784/279-77) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 20-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 18 years in a row, 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 15 years (401-97/.805) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 45 NBA Draft picks, including 26 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 16 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 25 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 294-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 222 of its last 237 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 24-18 against UCLA, including an 8-12 mark in Los Angeles and a 1-0 in neutral-site meetings.
Last Time Out: Arizona used an 18-4 run over 5:08 of the second half to break open a tight game and claim an 88-80 win over Oregon on Saturday. Jason Gardner proved to be the difference as he tallied 21 of his 27 points in the second half as UA outscored the Ducks, 53-42 after the break. Arizona forced 20 Oregon turnovers and held a 27-10 advantage in turnover points. Salim Stoudamire chipped in with 19 points as the UA backcourt tallied 46 of the team's 88 points.
Scouting UCLA: The Bruins (9-18, 6-12 Pac-10) enter Thursday's quarterfinal on a bit of a roll having won its last two games and three of the last four, including an 83-72 win over Washington on March 8 to clinch a berth in this tournament. UCLA, has settled into an eight-man rotation after playing as many as 15 players in the first two games with Arizona. As a team, UCLA shoots 45.8 percent from the floor, posts a +0.7 rebound advantage and averages 74.5 points per game. Individually, UCLA is led by senior Jason Kapono, who averages 16.9 points.
The Series: Today's game marks the 65th meeting of the series with UCLA holding a 37-27 series advantage. Arizona has won three of the last four meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, including a 106-70 decision in Tucson on Feb. 13. Arizona is 3-3 in the last six games of the series played in Los Angeles. All time, Arizona is 16-11 in series games played in Tucson, 10-25 in Los Angeles and 1-1 in neutral-site games. See page 124 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Arizona 106, UCLA 70, Feb. 13, 2003: Arizona used a 16-0 run to open the second half and quickly turned an 11-point lead into what became a 36-point victory over UCLA. Andre Iguodala scored a career-high 18 points and led a team effort that saw UA shoot 58.3 percent, force 15 UCLA turnovers and outscore the Bruins, 61-36 in the second half. Arizona topped the century mark for the first time since the first two games of the season and connected on better than 50 percent of its three-point tries.
Senior Leader: Jason Gardner led Arizona to a 17-1 Pac-10 Conference record by averaging 18.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a pair of wins this week. He connected on 11-of-26 field goals (.423), including .438 (7-of-16) from three-point range and added five steals in the effort. Gardner opened the week with a nine-point, four rebound, five-assist effort in Arizona's 12-point win over Oregon State, marking the 15th time this season he's passed out at least five assists in a game. He proved to be the difference in Arizona's 88-80 win over Oregon, as Gardner scored a game- and season-high 27 points to go with three rebounds and three steals. He scored 21 of those 27 points in the second half, as Arizona outscored Oregon, 53-42 to pick up the win. In 37 minutes played, Gardner was 8-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from three-point range and 7-of-8 from the line. He closed the regular season averaging 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
All-Conference: The Wildcats were well represented on the Pac-10's postseason honor roll, as no fewer than eight players and coaches were recognized. Jason Gardner and Luke Walton both earned all-conference accolades, while teammates Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala were named to the all-freshman team. Head coach Lute Olson, who shared the honor with Stanford's Mike Montgomery, was named league Coach of the Year for the seventh time in his career. Rick Anderson, Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire also received honorable mention all-conference honors.
Drive for Five: Arizona heads to the Staples Center in Los Angeles looking for its fifth consecutive Pac-10 Tournament Championship. Arizona won three straight championships from 1988-90 in the event's first incarnation and captured the title last season after a 12-year hiatus. All-time Arizona is 12-1 in Pac-10 Tournament action and has twice as many wins in the tournament than any other team in the league.
Select Six: Arizona's 17-1 record in Pac-10 play equaled the best league record since the conference expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79. In those 25 seasons, six teams have gone 17-1 with Arizona accomplishing the feat five times (1988, 1989, 1993, 1998, 2003) and Oregon State (1981) once.
Top Cat: UA finished the Pac-10 slate with a 17-1 record, marking the 18th time in the last 19 seasons that the Cats have won at least 12 conference games, a feat matched by no other league foe. Dating back to 1984-85, Arizona has averaged 14.4 league wins per season. The only time in that span that Arizona failed to win at least 12 conference games was 1996-97, the year UA won the national championship.
That's More Like It: Freshman Hassan Adams continues to enjoy a renaissance of sorts with high-energy play down the stretch. In the last two wins, Adams averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. Against the Ducks, Adams hit 3-of-4 shots from the floor to go with two blocked shots and a team-high three steals. In the last three games, Adams is shooting 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the field.
Always On the Run: Arizona used anther of its patented runs to secure the victory over Oregon on Saturday. Trailing 56-54 with 10:56 remaining, the Wildcats responded with an 18-4 run over the next 5:08 to push the lead to 72-60. A Jason Gardner-to-Hassan Adams alley-oop at 9:13 gave Arizona the lead for good at 58-56. It marked the sixth time this season that UA has posted a large run to break a game open.
28 points - 32-4 run over 11:10 vs. USC, Feb. 15
24 points - 26-2 run over 5:58 vs. UCLA, Feb. 13
22 points - 24-2 run over 6:16 vs. Western Kentucky, Nov. 23
19 points - 24-5 run over 8:04 at Arizona State, Feb. 22
17 points - 20-3 run over 12:22 at Kansas, Jan. 25
14 points - 18-4 run over 5:08 vs. Oregon, March 8
In the Middle: Channing Frye continued his solid play by averaging 18.5 points and 10.0 rebounds last week. The 6-foot-10 sophomore hit 16-of-27 field goal attempts (.597), grabbed nine offensive rebounds and passed out three assists. He was exceptionally good in the win over Oregon State on Thursday, as he posted his sixth double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games and is averaging 16.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in that span to go with a .613 (65-of-106) field goal percentage.
Finding a Way to Contribute: Despite struggling through the week with a 29.2 field goal percentage (7-of-24), Luke Walton managed to average 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-best 6.5 assists per game against the Oregon schools. He also managed to collect four steals. In 30 minutes of action against Oregon, Walton grabbed five rebounds to go with six assists (one turnover) and three steals. He topped the 100-assist plateau for the fourth straight season.
Soon to Be No. 3: Jason Gardner enters this week's Pac-10 tournament just 15 points behind Khalid Reeves for third place on the Arizona career scoring list. The senior from Indianapolis, who has 1,910 career points, trails Sean Elliott (2,555/1985-89), Bob Elliott (2,125/1973-77), and Reeves (1,925/1990-94) on Arizona's all-time scoring list. Gardner's 27 points in Saturday's win also boosted his Pac-10 scoring total to 1,042. In his 72-game Pac-10 career, Gardner averaged 14.5 points per game.
Forcing the Issue: The Arizona defense forced 20 Oregon turnovers in Saturday's win, marking the eighth time that UA has forced an opponent into 20 or more turnovers. On the season, Arizona forced an average of 16.9 miscues per game. Arizona forced an average of 15.6 turnovers in Pac-10 games.
On the Rebound: After a subpar game Thursday against Oregon State in which he played just 12 minutes and missed all four field goal attempts, Salim Stoudamire rebounded strongly Saturday against Oregon. He connected on 5-of-9 field goal attempts, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc, to finish with 19 points. Stoudamire scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half against the Ducks, including the final eight points of the decisive 18-4 run that put the game out of reach. He finished the regular season shooting 46.0 percent from three-point range (58-of-126) and is tied with Jason Gardner for the team lead with 58 three-point field goals.
Making the Most of It: It will be interesting to see what his numbers will be like when his playing time increases, but forward Andre Iguodala certainly makes the most of what time he gets. In 15 minutes vs. Oregon, the 6-foot-6 freshman collected six points, seven rebounds (one off the team lead), two assists and three steals. Through 27 games, Iguodala ranks fourth in rebounding (5.0 rpg), third in assists (53) and blocks (16) and second in steals (37) while averaging a steady 6.7 points per game.
Record Setter: For the third consecutive season , Arizona set a new school record for average attendance. In 15 home dates, UA averaged 14,562 fans per game (218,428 total), which is just ahead of last season's mark of 14,544. Arizona has led the Pac-10 in attendance every season since 1984-85.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 80-7 (.920) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats were 16-4 last season when scoring at least 80 points.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Ndudi Ebi (F, 6-8, 192) from Houston, Texas, Westbury Christian High School, Mustafa Shakur (G, 6-3, 175) from Wynnewood, Pa., Friends Central High School and Kirk Walters (C, 6-10, 210) from Grand Rapids, Mich., South Christian High School will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: A victory puts Arizona into the semifinals against the winner of the Arizona State/Oregon game at 6:15 p.m. PST. A loss sends the team back to Tucson in anticipation of the NCAA Tournament selection announcement on Sunday, March 16.