Game 8: No. 14 Arizona (6-1) at San Diego State (8-1)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
Time: 6:30 p.m. PST
Location: Cox Arena at Aztec Bowl (12,414), San Diego, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: Channel 4SD (Steve Quis/Jim Brogan); Tucson: Cox 22, Comcast 17; Phoenix: Cox 7. Also in Tulsa, New Orleans, New England and Orange County Cox Cable sustems.
Game Data: No. 14 Arizona (6-1, 0-0 Pac-10) closes a three-game road swing with an appearance at the San Diego Slam Saturday to face San Diego State (8-1, 0-0 MWC) ... From the local boy does good file, it’s safe to call this a Chase Budinger homecoming game ... Similarly entertaining styles will be on display today, as both the Wildcats and Aztecs nearly average 80 or more points per game, and yet both yield more than 70 points per game to the opposition.
The Rankings: Following a pair of wins last week, Arizona rose two spots to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and to No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in each poll to date this season.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 24th season at Arizona and his 34th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 767-270 (.740) and 575-178 (.764) 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 750th collegiate victory on Dec. 31, 2005, and became Arizona’s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (316) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.771/316-94) 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 24-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 22 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 second-best winning percentage over the past 19 years (499-131/.792) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 49 NBA Draft picks, including 30 at Arizona ?- 21 alone since 1990 ... He’s led UA to 19 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 28 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 28 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 337-35 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 265 of its last 284 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon ... Olson is 6-1 against San Diego State.
Last Time Out: For the first time this season Arizona relied on its defense to secure a win, as the Cats prevailed over Louisville, 72-65, Tuesday in New York, N.Y. UA built an early 15-point lead, but struggled mightily from the floor from there, shooting a season-low 34.0 percent and missing 19 of its first 21 shots to open the second half. The Cats did earn a 30-5 scoring advantage from the free throw line, bolstered by Ivan Radenovic and Jawann McClellan who each connected on 9-of-10 attempts.
Scouting San Diego State: The Aztecs (8-1, 0-0 MWC) enter play tonight looking to rebound following Saturday’s 84-73 loss at Western Michigan, which was the club’s first of the season in nine starts. As a team, SDSU averages 79.3 points per game, shoots 51.2 percent (256-of-500) from the field and outrebounds the opposition by a +4.9 margin per game. Four Aztecs average in double figures, led by Brandon Heath’s 20.0 points per game figure. Mohamed Abukar leads the club with a 6.3 rebounds per game mark.
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 23rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 17-5 series advantage. Arizona has won four straight and nine of the last 10 meetings in the series, which dates back to Dec. 27, 1945, including an 83-71 win in Tucson on Dec. 22, 2003, in the last meeting. All-time, Arizona is 12-1 in series games played in Tucson, 5-4 in San Diego, Calif., and 0-0 in neutral-site games. See page 101 in the UA media guide for more series information.
The Last Meeting: Arizona 83, San Diego State 71, Dec. 22, 2003: Arizona used a 15-0 run over 3:31 of the second half to break open what was a tight game and earn its fifth straight win. Four different players combined to hit 7-of-10 shots from the field during the decisive run, which pushed the lead to 22 points. Arizona shot 51.7 percent from the floor in the second half and outrebounded SDSU, 46-39. Hassan Adams (19 pts./11 reb.) and Andre Iguodala (10 pts./12 reb.) each finished with double-doubles.
Against the Mountain West: Arizona carries an all-time record of 182-132 (.580) record against teams that currently reside in the Mountain West Conference. Over the last five seasons, Arizona is 7-0 against MWC foes, including a 1-0 mark this season.
A Win Today: A Wildcat win today would be the 768th career victory for Arizona head coach Lute Olson, a figure that would move him past legendary Oklahoma State mentor Henry Iba (767-338/.694 in 41 seasons) into sole possession of 13th place on the NCAA all-divisions career victories list. Entering play today, Olson has a career record of 767-270 (.740) in 34 seasons as a college head coach.
Travel Partners: Tis the season for holiday tournaments and quality doubleheaders, and the University of Arizona is participating in its second such event this week after topping Louisville, 72-65, in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday. But the Wildcats weren’t the only team to make the trek cross country to New York and then on to San Diego for the weekend. Oklahoma State (10-0), who defeated No. 21 Syracuse 72-68 in the Jimmy V, takes on Ball State in the San Diego Slam’s first game of the day.
A First: Arizona shot a season-low 34.0 percent (18-of-53) from the field in Tuesday’s win over Louisville and was outshot from the floor by the Cardinals, 38.6 percent to 34.0. It marked the first time this season that an Arizona opponent had posted a higher field goal percentage than the Wildcats. On the season, Arizona is shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, while opponents are shooting at a 43.2 percent clip.
Winning the Turnover battle: The Wildcats forced Louisville into 16 turnovers on Tuesday and committed just 10 of its own. UA is 4-0 this season when committing fewer miscues than the opposition. Of Arizona’s 10 turnovers Tuesday, just four were committed in the second half.
That’s Just Ugly: After shooting a respectable 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the first half Tuesday vs. Louisville, Arizona opened the second half frigidly cold. The Cats connected on just 5-of-27 attempts (.185) in the second half, including 2-of-its-first-21 attempts. That was a season-low FG percentage for a half this year, and was the lowest UA field goal percentage for a half since Dec. 15, 2001, when Arizona shot 17.9 percent (5-of-28) from the floor in the first half of a 74-60 loss at Michigan State.
How did they Do that?: It’s not often that a team can shoot 34.0 percent from the field and win. The Cats prevailed Tuesday largely by knocking down a season-high 30 free throws in 43 attempts. Against Louisville, Arizona amassed a 30-5 scoring advantage from the free throw line, which continues a recent trend. In wins over Illinois and Louisville, Arizona has combined to make 56-of-80 (.700) free throw attempts, compared with 10-of-17 (.588) for the opponents. On the season, Arizona has made 149 free throws, a figure that is 53 more than the opponents have attempted and is 82 more than the opponents have scored.
Getting Better: Over it’s last two games the UA defense has allowed a total of 61 points (30.5 ppg) and a combined field goal percentage of 45.6 (26-of-57) in the second half. That’s a marked improvement over Arizona’s first five games this season when the opposition averaged 45.6 points per game in the second half in that span.
Double-Doubles: Senior Ivan Radenovic notched his second double-double of the season with 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds Tuesday vs. Louisville. It was the 10th double-double of his career and Arizona’s fourth in 2006-07. Additionally, it was the 50th game in Radenovic’s career with 10 or more points scored.
From the Bench: Arizona received quality contributions (especially defensively) off the bench Tuesday from four players that belied the meager totals of four points and four boards in 33 minutes of action. Such figures aren’t uncommon for the Cats this year, as UA starters have amassed 89.3 percent (557 of 624) of the points, 74.6 percent (203 of 272) of the rebounds and 78.9 percent (1105 of 1400) of the minutes played.
A Well-Rounded Game: Freshman Chase Budinger made a nice statement in his Madison Square Garden debut Tuesday, totaling 17 points (7-of-12 FG), two rebounds and an assist in 36 minutes vs. Louisville. But it was his contributions on the defensive end that may have made a larger statement. The 6-foot-7 forward from Encinitas, Calif., posted season-high totals of three blocked shots and three steals to go with his offensive contributions. On the year, Budinger is averaging 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game to go with a 59.1 (52-of-88) field goal percentage.
From the Point: Senior guard Mustafa Shakur entered the week with a Pac-10 Conference leading 50 assists (through six games) and added six more in Tuesday’s win over Louisville. In Shakur’s career, Arizona is 47-11 (.810) when Shakur passes out five or more assists in a game. The 6-foot-3 senior from Philadelphia is averaging a career-best 8.0 assists to go with per game averages of 11.4 points and 3.4 boards.
Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 155-19 (.891) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 5-1 this season when scoring 80 or more points, a feat that has happened in six of seven games this year.
Always On the Run: Early this season, Arizona has shown the ability to post large scoring runs with some regularity. Here are the ones of note to date:
25-0 run over 7:45 vs. New Mexico State, Nov. 19 (UA went 11-of-16 during run: NMSU 0-of-10)
34-11 run over 9:00 vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 15 (UA went 12-of-16 during run: NAU 3-of-16)
28-9 run over 11:22 vs. Samford, Nov. 22 (SU went 3-of-16 with four turnovers during run)
20-2 run over 5:59 vs. Louisville, Dec. 5 (UL went 1-of-10; UA 7-of-8 during the run)
21-4 run over 8:08 vs. Illinois, Dec. 2, 2006 (UA 8-of-12 FGs during run)
18-3 run over 4:15 at Virginia, Nov. 12 (UA went 6-of-8 during run: UVa 1-of-8)
23-8 run over 7:11 vs. UNLV, Nov. 28 (UNLV 3-of-7 with six turnovers during run)
In December: Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Arizona is 33-8 (.805) in games played in December.
Preseason Prognostications: According to media members that regularly cover the Pacific-10 Conference, Arizona was picked to finish second in this year’s Pac-10 race. Arizona received 13 first-place votes and 280 points overall and trailed only UCLA in the poll. It is the firs time in five seasons that Arizona has not been selected as the preseason team to beat. Incidentally, the Cats have been the preseason favorite in 11 of the last 17 seasons.
Preseason Kudos: Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams were named to the 2006-07 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America team, the award’s national selection committee announced Oct. 17. Shakur, a 6-foot-3, senior guard from Philadelphia, and Williams, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward from Philadelphia, are among 50 student-athletes on the list. Arizona is one of only nine schools nationally to have two or more players on the list.
Early Signees: Coach Olson and his staff signed five student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Jerryd Bayless (G, 6-3, 193) from Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary’s High School; Jamelle Horne (F, 6-7, 205) from San Diego, Calif., San Diego High School; Alex Jacobson (C, 7-1, 223) from Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei High School; Zane Johnson (F, 6-6, 200) from Phoenix, Ariz., Thunderbird High School; and Laval Lucas-Perry (G, 6-1, 191) from Grand Blanc, Mich., Powers Catholic High School, will join the squad next fall.
Up Next: Following tonight’s game, Arizona will be off for eight days due to final exams. The Wildcats will next be in action on Sunday, Dec. 17, when it hosts Houston. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST and can be seen on FSN Arizona.