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Oregon Notes 3/7/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/07/2008
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Game 31:? Arizona (18-12, 8-9) at Oregon (17-12, 8-9)

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Date: ? Saturday, March 8, 2008

Time: ? 7:30 p.m. PST

Location: ? McArthur Court (9,087), Eugene, Ore.

Radio: ? Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

TV: ? FSN (Ted Robinson /Marques Johnson)

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Game Data: ? Arizona (18-12, 8-9 Pac-10) closes the regular season Saturday in Eugene at Oregon (17-12, 8-9 Pac-10) ... The last Pac-10 game to tip off this season carries a lot of meaning as seeding for next weekˇ?s Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament will certainly be affected by the outcome, and the winner most likely will avoid playing in Wednesdayˇ?s first round.

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The Rankings: ? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the eighth consecutive week.? For the season, the Wildcats have been ranked in either or both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coachesˇ? Top 25 polls in eight of 18 polling periods this season.

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Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . ?will begin his 25th season at Arizona and his 35th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 780-280 (.736) and 589-187 (.759) at Arizona upon his return from a leave of absence, which was announced on Nov. 4 ... 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 775th collegiate victory on Jan. 24, 2007, and became Arizonaˇ?s career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLAˇ?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, ˇ®89, ˇ®90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 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, ˇ®88, ˇ®89, ˇ®93, ˇ®94, ˇ®98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ˇ®81) and directed the UA program to the nationˇ?s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona ?C 25 alone since 1990 ... Heˇ?s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons...?Under Olson, the Cats are 344-40 (.896) in McKale Center and have won 272 of its last 296 home games ... He is assisted by Kevin Oˇ?Neill, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon.

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Last Time Out: ? Nic Wise returned to the lineup for the first time in eight games and the Wildcat offense exploded for 81 points in the 81-45 win Thursday at Oregon State.? UA shot 50 percent from the field, placed four players in double figures, and posted a 40-29 rebound advantage and posted its highest offensive output in six games.? Over the last 12 minutes of the first half, UA outscored OSU 34-8.? Wise tallied 15 points, six assists and two steals and joined Jerryd Bayless (20), Chase Budinger (17) and Jordan Hill (16) in double figures.

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Scouting Oregon: ? The Ducks enter play Saturday with a 17-12 record (8-9 Pac-10) following Thursdayˇ?s 67-61 defeat of Arizona State.? Through 29 games, UO averages 77.0 points per game, shoots 48.1 percent (783-of-1,629), and posts a +1.6 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 44.1 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 4.6 points per game.? Individually, four Ducks average in double figures, led by Malik Hairston, who averages 16.1 points? per game.? Maarty Leunen leads the club with a 9.1 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Tonightˇ?s game is the 62nd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 39-22 series advantage. UA has won eight of the last 12 meetings in the series, which dates back to Jan. 12, 1979, but the Ducks captured the last meeting, 84-74, on Jan. 5 in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 23-7 in series games played in Tucson, 16-13 in Eugene, and 0-2 in neutral-site games. See page 100 of the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ??Oregon 84, Arizona 74, Jan. 4, 2008: ? Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor combined for 28 first-half points as Oregon jumped out to a 19-point lead and held on for a 10-point win.? The Ducks sank 60 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, as the UO duo made 11-of-16 attempts.? Arizona regrouped in the second stanza, cutting the deficit to five points on two occasions, but got no closer.? Chase Budinger led all scorers with 30 points, while Nic Wise (16) and Jordan Hill (12) also reached double figures for the Wildcats.

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In The Coaching Box: ? Prior to the Nov. 4 exhibition game, it was announced that UA head coach Lute Olson would be taking a leave of absence due to a personal matter.? It was announced on Dec. 7 that Olson would not return this season.? During this period, assistant coach Kevin Oˇ?Neill will handle the head coaching responsibilities.? Oˇ?Neill, who was tabbed as Olsonˇ?s successor on Dec. 18, has 11 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I head coach, where he compiled a 152-165 (.479) record while at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern. Oˇ?Neill spent the last seven seasons in NBA circles.? During Olsonˇ?s leave of absence all games will be credited to Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching record.

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Close It Out: ? Arizona closes out the 2007-08 regular season tonight in Eugene.? Over the last 24 seasons, the Cats have enjoyed a bit of success in regular season finales, posting a 17-7 (.708) record in those contests.? Additionally, UA is 7-4 in regular season close outs on the road in that span.

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Thatˇ?s More Like It: ? After missing a combined 20 games due to injury, Arizona got a bit healthier Thursday when Bret Brielmaier and Nic Wise returned to action against Oregon State.? It definitely made a difference as the Cats rolled to 81 points, UAˇ?s highest offensive output in six games.? When completely healthy, the Cats are 10-4 (.714), and when Bayless and Wise are both available, Arizona has posted a 15-4 (.789) record.

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Margins of Victory: ? In rolling to a 36-point win Thursday, Arizona posted its largest margin of victory this season.? Additionally, it was the Wildcatsˇ? biggest winning margin in a Pac-10 Conference game since UA downed UCLA, 106-70, Feb. 13, 2003.? It was Arizonaˇ?s biggest winning margin in a Pac-10 road game since defeating USC in Los Angeles, 105-61, on Feb. 17, 2001.

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Reversal of Fortune: ? Whether coincidence or not, having Nic Wise back in the lineup certainly helped the Wildcat offense.? Thursday at Oregon State, Arizona connected on 50 percent (28-of-56) of its field goal attempts, marking just the second time the team has accomplished that in the last 10 games.? In fact, in those pervious nine games Arizona connected on just 44.7 (200-of-447) of its field goal attempts.? Field goal percentage turns out to be key for the Cats, as the team is 12-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including a 4-0 mark on the road.

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Forcing the Action: ? The Wildcat defense collected a season-high 10 steals Thursday, led by Jerryd Baylessˇ? career-high three.? All told, Arizonaˇ?s 10 steals helped UA force Oregon State into a 20 turnovers, which was a opposing team high this season.? On average, UA forces 13.1 turnovers per game.

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A Bit of Defensive Intensity: ? Arizona limited Oregon State to 45 points Thursday, the fewest points by an opponent this season.? Along the way, the Cats held the Beavers to just 32.1 percent shooting (17-of-53) from the field. ?It was the ninth time that UA has held the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting. On the year, UA is 14-0 when outshooting the opposition.

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All in: ? Arizona used a total of 12 players while cruising to victory Thursday.? Thatˇ?s the most players to see action in a game since Jan. 26 vs. Washington.? Limited action from the bench isnˇ?t unusual for the Wildcats, the top five minutes-per-game guys on the club have tallied 75.7 percent of the available minutes, which leaves about 10 minutes per game for the non-starters.

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Rebounding With a Flourish: ? Led by Jordan Hillˇ?s game-high nine rebounds, UA starters collected 26 boards en route to a 40-29 rebound advantage Thursday.? The Cats improved its record to 8-2 this year when winning the rebound battle.? It was just the fourth time in 17 Pac-10 games that UA had outrebounded the opposition.? Furthermore, Arizonaˇ?s +11 rebound margin Thursday was its largest in conference play.

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Worth Mentioning: ? With 17 points Thursday, Chase Budinger became the 42nd player in Arizona history to score 1,000 points in a career (1,001 points in 61 appearances/16.4 ppg).? Additionally, he is just the sixth sophomore in school history to accomplish the feat.? The 6-foot-7 forward from Encinitas, Calif., joins Coniel Norman, Bob Elliott, Sean Elliott, Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas as the only Wildcat sophomores to break the 1,000-point barrier.

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Gaining Ground: ? Sophomore Jordan Hill connected on 8-of-9 field goal attempts in Thursdayˇ?s game and has connected on 23-of-30 (.767) attempts over the last three games.? The recent stretch has boosted the Atlanta, Ga., nativeˇ?s season field goal percentage to 61.3 (160-of-261) percent.? Hill entered the week as the Pac-10 field goal percentage leader and his current figure would rank fifth in the UA single-season annals.? Incidentally, Hill has matched career highs with eight field goals in each of the last two games.

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Seeking Balance: ? Itˇ?s no secret that offensive balance is a nice weapon to have in the arsenal.? Thursday vs. Oregon State, Arizona had four players finish in double figures, marking the seventh time this season that at least four Cats have scored 10 or more points in the same game, and the team is 6-1 when that happens.? Incidentally, the four UA players to score in double figures Thursday combined to shoot 22-of-39 (.564) from the field.

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Free Throws: ? For the first time in a while, Arizona took serious advantage of opportunities from the charity stripe.? Against Oregon State, UA connected on 19-of-21 (.905) free throw attempts in the win.? Nic Wise hit a career-best 8-of-9 attempts and Jerryd Bayless knocked down all 10 attempts.? For Bayless, it was the fifth time this year that he has made 10 or more free throws in a game.? For Arizona, the 90.5 percent marksmanship was more to their liking, as the team sank just 67.5 percent (54-of-80) FTs in the previous four games.

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Noting Nic: There was no hiding the fact that Nic Wise was back in action after missing the last seven games while recovering from knee surgery...he was in the starting lineup.? His impact was almost immediate, as he tallied 14 points and three assists and a steal in the first half alone.? All told, Wiseˇ?s 15 points marked his best offensive output since Jan. 19.

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Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 170-19 (.899) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona is 8-0 this season when topping the 80-point plateau.

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In March: ? Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 50-22 (.694) record in the month of March.? In that span, 34 of those games have been played in the NCAA Tournament and UA is 24-10 (.706) in them.? In the two previous seasons, the Cats were 5-5 in March.

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Early Signees: ? The Arizona coaching staff signed four student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period.? Brandon Jennings (G, 6-0, 170) from Lakewood, Calif., Oak Hill Academy; Brendon Lavender (G, 6-4, 180) from Mesa, Ariz., Mountain View High School;? Emmanuel Negedu (F, 6-7, 230) from Bloomington, Ind., Brewster Academy; Jeff Withey (C, 6-11, 240) from San Diego, Calif., Horizon High School, will join the squad next fall.? According to rivals.com, this class was ranked as the seventh-best nationally.

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Up Next: ? The Wildcats head to Los Angeles for the 2008 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament, March 12-15, at the Staples Center.

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