Game 1: No. 10 Arizona (0-0) vs. Kansas (0-0)
Date: Monday, Nov. 21, 2005
Time: 4 p.m. HST
Location: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400), Lahaina, Hawaii
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough/Bill Raftery/Jay Bilas)
INTERNET NOTE: Due to Maui Invitational contractual restrictions with ESPN, the Arizona Athletics' audio webcasts will not be available during the tournament. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Game Data: No. 10 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens the regular season against Kansas (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) at the 22nd annual EA Sports Maui Invitational ... It marks the Wildcats’ fourth appearance in the showcase event (1993, 1997, 2000) ... UA and KU traveled a combined 6,731 miles to play this neutral-site contest.
The Rankings: Arizona opens 2005-06 ranked 10th in the preseason edition of the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. It marks the 18th time in the last 19 seasons in which the Cats been nationally ranked to start the season. UA has been ranked in 303 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 23rd season at Arizona and his 33rd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 741-256 (.743) and 549-164 (.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 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: On the strength of Hassan Adams’ 16 first-half points, Arizona jumped out to a 27-point halftime lead and coasted to the 104-81 exhibition win Wednesday against Team Georgia. Adams hit his first eight field goals, including all seven of his attempts in the first period, en route to 18 points, four assists and two steals. Chris Rodgers finished with a game-high 22 points, while freshman Marcus Williams added 15 points. Arizona held a 62-43 rebound advantage in the contest.
Scouting Kansas: Pending Friday’s season opener against Idaho State, Kansas (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) had limited the opposition to 34.8 percent shooting (31-of-89) from the floor in the two exhibition games and forced a total of 49 turnovers. Interestingly, the KU bench has outscored the starters, 119-50, in the wins over Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State.
The Series: Today’s game marks the ninth meeting of the two schools with Kansas holding a 6-2 series advantage. Four of the meetings have come at neutral sites, including the last, a 78-75 KU win in Anaheim, Calif., on March 29, 2003. All-time, Arizona is 0-2 in series games played in Tucson, 1-1 in Lawrence and 1-3 in neutral site games. See page 101 of the UA media guide for more series information.
Last Meeting: Kansas 78, Arizona 75; March 29, 2003: Kansas had an answer for every UA run to win the NCAA West Regional championship. After withstanding a 13-0 UA run in the first half and a 16-0 run in the second, Kansas made every play down the stretch to earn a trip to the 2003 Final Four. Kirk Hinrich scored 28 and Jeff Graves added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Jayhawks, including a key tip-in with 3:12 to go. Jason Gardner scored a team-high 23 points, but missed two three-point attempts in the final three seconds to send the game to overtime. Luke Walton added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
For Openers: Arizona has a record of 77-20 (.794) in season openers (results are unavailable for four seasons), including a 19-3 (.864) mark under Lute Olson. The Wildcats are 59-12 at home, 10-8 on the road and 8-0 in neutral-site games.
In November: Fast starts are the norm for the Cats under Lute Olson. Over the last 22 years, Arizona is 50-10 (.833) in the month of November.
In-Season Tournament History: In 101 previous years of intercollegiate competition, Arizona has amassed a record of 112-53 (.679) in in-season tournaments. Under Olson, that winning percentage jumps nearly 20 points as Arizona is 84-13 (.866) in regular-season tournaments, including a 7-2 (.778) record in the Maui Invitational.
EA Sports Maui Invitational History: Now in its 22nd year as the marquee early-season event, the EA Sports Maui Invitational and the University of Arizona have enjoyed a nice partnership. As mentioned earlier, Arizona has participated in the event three times (1993, 1997, 2000) and won it once (2000). Overall, the Cats have a 7-2 record in the Maui Invitational. Here is a look at UA’s game-by-game tourney results:
Dec. 21, 1993 vs. Notre Dame................ W, 98-79
Dec. 22, 1993 vs. Boston College........... W, 70-65
Dec. 23, 1993 vs. Kentucky................... L, 92-93
Nov. 24, 1997 vs. Boston College........... W, 99-69
Nov. 25, 1997 vs. Kentucky................... W, 89-74
Nov. 26, 1997 vs. Duke.......................... L, 87-95
Nov. 20, 2000 vs. Chaminade................. W, 97-57
Nov. 21, 2000 vs. Dayton....................... W, 76-59
Nov. 22, 2000 vs. Illinois........................ W, 79-76
Traveling to the Islands: In addition to Arizona’s nine-game history in the Maui Invitational, the Wildcats have played a total of 19 games in the Aloha State. All-time, Arizona is 14-5 (.737) in games played in Hawaii, including appearances in the Rainbow Classic (1968, 1975), Hawaii-Pacific Classic (1984) and the Hawaii Tip-Off Tourney (1991).
Quite a Statement: Much already has been written about the overall strength of this year’s EA Sports Maui Invitational, but here is another fact worth noting. The seven NCAA Division I teams participating have combined to produce a total of 51 players on 2005-06 NBA opening day rosters (Arizona, 10; Arkansas, 3; Connecticut, 10; Gonzaga, 2; Kansas, 10; Maryland, 9; Michigan State, 7), which is more than any D-I conference in the country can claim. In terms of NBA alums, the Big East leads with 50, followed by the ACC (49), Pac-10 (38) and Big Ten and Southeastern (37 each).
Against the Maui Field: The Wildcats have a 14-17 (.452) cumulative record against the seven foes that make up the 2005 Maui Invitational field. Arizona is 2-6 vs. Arkansas, 1-0 vs. Chaminade, 0-3 vs. Connecticut, 2-0 vs. Gonzaga, 2-6 vs. Kansas, 3-0 vs. Maryland and 4-2 vs. Michigan State.
Not In Question: Offense seemingly has never been a problem at Arizona, where the program has led the nation in scoring average (83.3 ppg) over the last four seasons. The preseason was no different, as the Cats tallied 207 points (103.5 ppg) in the two exhibition tilts and saw seven players chip in with seven or more points per game. The team shot 48.5 percent (82-of-169) from the field and a respectable 41.5 percent from three-point range (17-of-41).
The Ol’ College Boards: Arizona used a balanced attack to post a cumulative +14.5 rebound margin in its two exhibition games. Of the 13 players to see action in those games, nine pulled down an average of four or more rebounds. Sophomore forward Bret Brielmaier led the team with 8.0 rebounds per game, while freshman Marcus Williams pulled down an average of 6.0 boards per game. Over the last four seasons, Arizona is 79-9 (.898) when outrebounding the opposition.
A Nice Adjustment: Senior guard Hassan Adams continues to make a nice adjustment to the perimeter. The 6-foot-4 native of Los Angeles hit 8-of-13 shots Wednesday vs. Team Georgia, including 2-of-5 from behind the arc, and finished with 18 points, four assists and two steals. In the two exhibitions, Adams leads the team with a .636 field goal percentage (14-of-22) and is tied for second on the club with 10 assists.
Filling a Void: Senior Chris Rodgers production has increased in the preseason. A career 5.6 points per game scorer, the 6-foot-4 guard from Portland, Ore., averaged a team-leading 20.5 points per game in the exhibitions. Ten of his 15 field goals in that span came from three-point range, but he wasn’t one dimensional either. Rodgers averaged 4.0 rebounds (he pulled down seven vs. Team Georgia), 3.5 assists and collected a team-high six steals.
The Five Hole: The three games in Maui should go a long way towards answering at least one question: who will step up at the center position. The three-man rotation was cumulatively productive in the exhibition season, as Isaiah Fox, Mohamed Tangara and Kirk Walters combined to average 13.5 points and 11.0 rebounds, while shooting .500 (11-of-22) from the field.
Early Arrivals: A pair of freshmen have proven themselves worthy in the preseason, as J.P. Prince and Marcus Williams rank among the team leaders. Prince, a 6-foot-6 guard from Memphis, Tenn., averaged 8.5 points and a team-best 7.5 assists in the preseason, while Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from Seattle, ranked second on the team by averaging 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Needs Improvement: One area that has showed a significant drop from last year is free throw shooting, where the Cats connected on 66.7 percent (26-of-39) of the charity tosses. In the previous two seasons, Arizona combined to shoot 78.1 percent (1,052-of-1,347) from the line and finished second and fourth nationally in that category.
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.
Movin’ Up: 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 meet either Arkansas or Connecticut in the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Tuesday’s second round. Should the Wildcats win, that game would tip-off at 4:30 p.m. HST and be seen nationally on ESPN. If the Cats lose, the game would start at 11 a.m. HST and be televised by ESPNU.