Date: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005
Time: 7 p.m. PST
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSNAZ (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
Game Data: Arizona (7-3, 0-0 Pac-10) travels to Spokane, Wash., to take on Washington State (7-2, 0-0 Pac-10) Thursday in the Pac-10 opener for both schools ... Arizona opens conference play on the road for the fourth time in the last five seasons ... The Wildcats last played in the Spokane Arena on Jan. 11, 2001, an 84-51 UA win over WSU, and is 2-0 in the facility all-time.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 23rd season at Arizona and his 33rd overall as a college head coach with a career record of 748-259 (.743) and 556-167 (.769) 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 23-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 327-33 (.908) in
Last Time Out: Both teams took turns building and squandering 10-point, second-half leads in an entertaining Fiesta Bowl Classic championship game before
The Series: Tonight’s game is the 58th meeting of the two schools with
For (Conference) Openers: Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978-79,
Mr. MVP: Hassan Adams earned Most-Valuable-Player honors at the Fiesta Bowl Classic for the second time in his career (2002) after averaging 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals in the pair of victories.
That’s More Like It:
On the Rise: It took ten games to do so, but Arizona finally managed to get its own field goal percentage above that of the opposition, as the Wildcats are now shooting 42.3 percent (271-of-641) as a team. That is a mere five percentage points (41.8) better than UA opponents. It may not sound like much, but after opening the season shooting a combined 36.1 percent (69-of-191) in three games at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Cats have shot a respectable 44.9 percent (202-of-450) from the field in the last seven games.
Making the Conversion: It’s not surprising that a team that collects a lot of steals would (obviously) also force a lot of turnovers. So it would follow that
Over 80: The Wildcats enjoyed its best back-to-back offensive outputs of the season in the wins over
Winning The Close Ones:
Indelible: Senior Hassan Adams continues to dent the
Bombs Away: Guard Chris Rodgers earned a spot on the Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament team for the second year in a row by averaging 19.0 points, 3.0 assists and 3.5 steals in the two games. The 6-foot-4 senior from
Heating Up: It took him nine games to do so, but since opening the season 0-for-7 from three-point range, freshman J.P. Prince knocked down his first two collegiate treys Dec. 19 vs.
On Target: Wildcat watchers are beginning to see a more assertive Marcus Williams and the change in showing up in the statistics. Over his last five games, the forward is averaging 14.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. In that span, he is shooting 59.6 percent (28-of-47) from the floor and 78.6 percent (11-of-14) from the line. In the two games of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Williams connected on 14-of-17 (.824) of his field goal attempts.
From the Point: Point guard Mustafa Shakur averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds during the Fiesta Bowl Classic. In a total of 51 minutes played, the 6-foot-3 junior hit 5-of-10 shots from the floor, 7-of-8 from the line and posted a 4:1 assist:turnover ratio. In Shakur’s career,
Getting After it: Lute Olson called Daniel Dillon Arizona’s most improved player since the end of last season. The praise has turned into playing time for the 6-foot-3 sophomore from
Finding Positives: Throughout the season,
29-1 run over 10:43 vs.
33-15 run over 10:26 vs.
21-6 run over 7:12 vs.
20-4 run over 9:10 vs.
21-5 run over 7:57 at
21-9 run over 12:23 vs.
26-13 run over 13:04 vs. Saint Mary’s, Dec. 10 (nine SMC turnovers during run)
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
Up Next: Following tonight’s game,