No. 3 Seed Arizona (27-6) at NCAA Chicago Region First/Second Rounds
Date: Thursday, March 17, 2005
Time: 5:20 p.m. MST
Location: Taco Bell Arena (12,380), Boise, Idaho
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: CBS (Tim Brando/Mike Gminski)
Game Data: The University of Arizona (27-6, 15-3 Pac-10) appears in its 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Chicago Region ... The Wildcats face No. 14 seed Utah State (24-7, 13-5 Big West) in the first round ... Arizona has a 37-22 (.627) record in 23 previous NCAA Tournament appearances ... UA is 6-4 vs. the 2005 NCAA Tournament field ... The Wildcats have a 2-0 NCAA Tournament mark at Taco Bell Arena after winning West Region First/Second Round games there in 1989.
The Rankings: A loss at the Pac-10 Tourney should knock Arizona from its No. 8 spot in the March 7 Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. UA has been ranked in 303 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 22nd season at Arizona and his 32nd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 738-255 (.743) and 546-163 (.770) 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 22-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 17 years (449-111/.802) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 47 NBA Draft picks, including 28 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, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 1-0 against Utah State.
Last Time Out: In a tie game with 3:34 to go, Washington made every play necessary to win on both ends of the court and outscored Arizona 11-2 the rest of the way to claim the Pac-10 Tournament title. UW’s offensive balance and a 41-26 rebound advantage spelled doom for the Wildcats and offset a career day by Salim Stoudamire in which he scored 37 points and earned tournament Most-Outstanding-Player honors.
Scouting Utah State: The Aggies enter Thursday’s game with a 24-7 record (13-5 Big West) after a 65-52 win Saturday vs. Pacific in the Big West Tournament title game. USU shoots 53.1 percent from the field (831-of-1566), posts a +6.9 rebound margin and outscores the opposition by 15.5 points per game. Individually, three Aggies average in double figures, led by Spencer Nelson, who leads USU with a 16.4 points per game average. Nelson also leads the team by averaging 8.1 rebounds per game.
The Series: Thursday’s game marks the third meeting of the two schools with Utah State holding a 3-0 series advantage. All three of the meetings took place between 1958 and 1963, including the last get-together, a 64-60 Aggie triumph in Logan. All-time, Arizona is 0-1 in series games played in Tucson, 0-2 in Logan, and 0-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 163 of the UA basketball media guide.
Against the Big West: Arizona has a cumulative 24-8 (.750) record against schools that currently reside in the Big West Conference. The last time Arizona faced a Big West foe came in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, an 86-81 win over UC-Santa Barbara on March 14. Interestingly, that also was the last time Arizona entered the tourney as a No. 3 seed.
Last Meeting: Utah State 64, Arizona 60, Dec. 21, 1963: Wayne Estes posted 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead Utah State to the four-point win. Arizona led 39-36 at the half, but was outscored 28-21 in the second stanza. UA’s Albert Johnson and Warren Rustand scored 18 and 13 points, respectively, but could not overcome just 38.6 percent (22-of-57) shooting for the game The loss snapped a four-game Wildcat win streak.
As a No. 3 Seed: All-time, Arizona has a 4-3 (.571) record when playing as a No. 3 seed. The last time the Wildcats entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed came in 2002 out of the West Region, where the squad advanced to the regional semifinal. Arizona also played as a three seed in 1992 and 1996.
All-America: Senior guard Salim Stoudamire picked up a pair of All-America accolades after averaging a career-best 18.4 points per game and leading the nation (as of March 7) with a 52.5 (107-of-204) three-point field goal percentage. Stoudamire was a second team All-America selection by the United States Basketball Writers Association and a first team pick by collegeinsider.com. Stoudamire is also one of 23 players included on the final ballot for the John R. Wooden Award. The All-America accolades were a first in Stoudamire’s career.
All-Conference: Three Arizona players earned all-conference honors in voting released March 7 by the league’s head coaches. Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire were all-conference honorees, while Hassan Adams was an honorable mention selection. For Frye, it was his second all-Pac-10 honor, while it was the first for Stoudamire. Adams was an honorable mention pick last season as well.
A Record-Setting Effort: Salim Stoudamire earned Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament Most-Outstanding-Player honors after averaging 20.3 points and shooting 52.8 percent from the field. In last Saturday’s championship game, Stoudamire finished with 37 points (equaling his career high) and set new tournament record for three-point field goals in a game (7) and in the tournament (11, tied). En route to 23 first half points, Stoudamire scored UA’s final 17 points of the half. Additionally, he became the Pac-10 career leader in three-point field goals with 329 after knocking down seven treys against Washington. He is the first player in the eight-year history of the Pac-10 Tournament to win M.O.P. honors from a team that did not win the title.
Champions Again: Arizona’s 70-68 win over Arizona State on March 5 clinched the 11th Pac-10 regular season championship for Arizona and the 24th conference championship in school history. Of Arizona’s 11 Pac-10 titles, nine have been of the outright variety. It is also UA’s third league championship since 2000 (2000, 2003).
Top of the Charts: That ASU win on March 5 also gave Lute Olson his 305th career Pac-10 victory, moving him past UCLA’s John Wooden for most career conference wins by a head coach. In 22 seasons, Olson has a career Pac-10 record of 305-87 (.778), while Wooden amassed a 304-74 (.810) mark in 27 seasons at the helm in Westwood.
The Legacy Rides with this one: Seniors Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire enter the NCAA Tournament with a four-year record of 99-30 (.767). This first round game could continue an Arizona basketball legacy that has seen every four-year player to enter the program since the fall of 1985 win at least 100 games in his career, a streak that covers the last 16 senior classes.
Beyond the Arc: Salim Stoudamire has a chance to etch his name in the NCAA record book with some solid shooting in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-1 guard currently carries a career three-point field goal percentage of 46.1 percent (329-of-713), a figure that ranks fifth in NCAA history. Stoudamire’s 329 career treys leaves him three shy of moving into a tie for 25th place on the all-time three-point field goals made list.
Check the Glass: The leading cause of defeat in last Saturday’s game was Arizona’s inability to rebound. Washington outrebounded Arizona, 41-26, which was UA’s worst rebound deficit of the season. Interestingly, rebounding had been one of the Cats’ strong suits, as the club had out-boarded 23 of 33 opponents and posted a 21-2 record when outrebounding the opposition. Arizona has posted at least a +10 rebound margin six times this season.
Making it Tough to score: Through 33 games, Arizona has done a good job of making it tough for opponents to score as the club has limited the opposition to just 43.9 percent shooting (851-of-1939). Eight times this season UA has held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor. The Pac-10 Tournament was a good indicator of the trend. In the two wins Arizona held the opposition to a combined 38.8 (47-of-121) field goal percentage. In the loss to Washington, the Huskies shot 44.4 percent (28-of-63).
From the Line: One place Arizona has been good all season long is at the free throw line. The Cats enter the tournament ranked third nationally (as of March 7) with a 77.8 (481-of-618) free throw percentage. Ten of Arizona’s 13 active players, including all five starters, are shooting better than 70 percent from the charity stripe. Last season, Arizona ranked second nationally with a school-record 78.6 free throw percentage.
Straightening things out: The Wildcats’ .471 (961-of-2041) field goal percentage is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s definitely impressive when looking at where it was three months ago. Nine games into the season, Arizona was shooting a combined 39.3 percent from the floor (232-of-581). In the 24 games since, Arizona is shooting 49.9 (729-of-1460) percent from the floor. Not surprisingly, Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye have fueled the run. The duo combined to shoot 43.5 percent (80-of-184) in those first nine games and 56.2 percent (309-of-550) since.
Seeking Balance: Arizona is at its best when there are plenty of points to go around. The Wildcats are 18-2 this season when four or more players score 10 or more points. Not surprisingly, UA averages 84.2 points per game in those contests, 4.5 points higher than its season scoring average.
Growing Up Nicely: Channing Frye has certainly turned himself into one of the finest centers in the nation. He’s averaging 15.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game, while shooting 54.3 percent (201-of-370) from the field. Over his last five games, the native of Phoenix, Ariz., is averaging 18.6 points and 2.2 assists per game. All told, Frye will finish his career ranked in the top 10 in scoring, while being one of three players in school history to grab more than 900 career rebounds and finishing as the No. 2 shot blocker in Pac-10 history.
All-Around Effort: After leading the team in scoring with a 17.2 points per game average last season, junior Hassan Adams has definitely displayed more well-rounded game this season. The 6-foot-4 swingman from Los Angeles ranks third on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg), second in rebounding (5.7 rpg), assists (94) and blocked shots (14), while leading the team in steals (67). Over his last five games, Adams is shooting 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the field.
In March: Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 41-15 (.732) record in the month of March.
Family Tradition: The statistical comparisons have hung around Salim Stoudamire since he arrived in Tucson in the Fall of 2001. So as the senior guard from Portland, Ore., enters his final NCAA Tournament, lets look one more time at his career numbers against those of his cousin Damon (1991-95). Incidentally, Salim just moved past Damon into fifth place on the Arizona career scoring list.
Player GP-GS Min FG-A Pct. 3FG-A Pct. FT-A Pct. Reb/G A TO St Pts-Avg.
Damon 123-92 3666 614-1343 .457 272-677 .402 349-343 .804 3.8 663 378 174 1849-15.0
Salim 125-113 3716 593-1253 .473 329-713 .461 372-429 .867 2.2 242 251 94 1887-15.1
On Point: UA coach Lute Olson feels that sophomore Mustafa Shakur has been playing his best basketball of the season of late, especially from a decision making standpoint. The 6-foot-3 native of Philadelphia is averaging 8.2 points and 5.0 assists per game, while shooting 47.1 percent (16-of-34) from the field. On the season, Shakur is averaging 8.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Spreading the Wealth: Mustafa Shakur’s assist total could be a good barometer of UA success. Arizona is 27-5 (.844) during Shakur’s career when he passes out five or more assists. He’s accomplished the feat 15 times in 2004-05, and the Cats are 12-3 when that happens.
Fitting In: Forward Ivan Radenovic has proven to be a much more comfortable and effective player in his sophomore season. Just 15 months after joining the program, the 6-foot-10 product of Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, is averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds while finding himself in the starting lineup in 27 of 32 appearances. He’s finished in double figures 12 times this year and has four double-doubles to his credit.
Waiting His Turn: Freshman Jawann McClellan has been nothing if not patient. The 2004 McDonald’s All-American from Houston is averaging 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in just 15 minutes per contest. He got an opportunity for more playing time at the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament and responded with averages of 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 26.3 minutes played, while connecting on 13-of-21 field goals (.619).
Fast Starts: Arizona has been very consistent in its ability to get off to good starts. Through 33 games, Arizona is averaging 38.8 points per game in the first half, 6.0 points better than the opposition. All told, Arizona is 20-3 this season when leading at the half. Arizona has enjoyed a halftime lead of 10 points or more nine times in 2004-05. Furthermore, UA is 19-3 when leading at the 10 minute mark of the first half.
Share the Ball: Arizona enters the NCAA Tournament ranked second in the Pac-10 with an average of 16.58 assists per game. This year, Arizona has passed out 20 or more assists in a game eight times and the team is 7-1 when accomplishing the feat.
The Best of Both Worlds: Maybe the pod system of bracketing the NCAA Tournament is to the Wildcats’ liking. It could give Arizona the chance to play at least two games close to home before covering some distance to get to a possible regional. Why is this important? Under the old regional system, Arizona was 18-5 (.782) in first and second round games played in the West Region, and the program advanced to its last two Final Fours when playing in a regional outside of the West (1997 Southeast/2001 Midwest).
Always on the Run: Arizona has made a name for itself with an ability to embark on some large scoring runs. Fifteen times during the 2004-05 season UA has posted a scoring run of more than 15 points. Here is a look at the list:
24 points ?- 38-14 run over 11:33 vs. Oregon, Feb. 17
21 points ?- 29-8 run over 8:58 vs. Manhattan, Dec. 21
19 points ?- 27-8 run over 8:10 vs. Wright State, Nov. 18
19 points ?- 22-3 run over 8:49 vs. Richmond, Dec. 30
19 points ?- 19-0 run over 4:10 at UCLA, Feb. 12
19 points ?- 19-0 run over 4:32 at Arizona State, March 5
18 points ?- 20-2 run over 8:11 vs. San Diego, Nov. 16
18 points ?- 22-4 run over 7:50 vs. California, Feb. 3
18 points ?- 31-13 run over 9:59 vs. Oregon State, Feb. 20
17 points ?- 25-8 run over 10:15 vs. Eastern Washington, Dec. 28
16 points ?- 18-2 run over 5:00 vs. Wyoming, Nov. 30
16 points ?- 23-7 run over 5:59 vs. Manhattan, Dec. 21
16 points ?- 21-5 run over 5:12 vs. Arizona State, Jan. 2
16 points ?- 16-0 run over 4:24 at Oregon, Jan. 20
16 points ?- 29-13 run over 10:56 vs. Stanford, Feb. 5
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 141-17 (.892) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 17-1 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Fendi Onobun (F, 6-7, 215) from Houston, Texas, Alief Taylor High School; J.P. Prince (G, 6-6, 183) from Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School; and Marcus Williams (F, 6-6, 190) from Seattle, Wash., Roosevelt High School, will join the squad next fall.