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UCLA Notes 2/29/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/29/2008
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Game 29:? Arizona (17-11, 7-8) vs. No. 4 UCLA (25-3, 13-2)

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Date: ? Sunday, March 2, 2008

Time: ? 2 p.m. MST

Location: ? Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.

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

TV: ?CBS-TV (Jim Nantz/Billy Packer)

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Game Data: ? Arizona (17-11, 7-8 Pac-10) plays its final home game of the regular season vs. No. 4 UCLA (25-3, 13-2 Pac-10) Sunday in a nationally televised game on CBS ... The Cats look for a win to get to .500 in the Pac-10 standings ... Look for rebounding to be a leading indicator in this one, and Thursdayˇ?s efforts were telling as the Bruins outrebounded Arizona State, 34-20, and USC outrebounded Arizona, 30-20.

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The Rankings: ? Arizona is unranked in both polls for the seventh 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 17 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: ? Arizona fell behind by double figures in the first seven minutes and, ultimately, didnˇ?t have the horses to play catch-up in the 70-58 loss to USC on Thursday.? The Cats rallied multiple times, cutting the deficit to four points in the first half and three points in the second, but each time USC had a stern response.? The Cats shot 49 percent for the game, but were outrebounded by 10 and had 11 turnovers that led to 15 Trojan points.? Jordan Hill and Jawann McClellan? combined for 32 points, but USC held the duo of Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger to just 15 points.

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Scouting UCLA: ? The Bruins enter play Sunday with a 25-3 record (13-2 Pac-10) following Thursdayˇ?s 70-49 win at Arizona State.? Through 28 games, UCLA averages 74.3 points per game, shoots 48.5 percent (7456-of-1,536), and posts a +9.8 rebound margin per game.? Opponents shoot 42.0 percent from the floor and are outscored by an average of 16.7 points per game.? Individually, four Bruins average in double figures, led by Kevin Love, who averages 17.0 points? per game.? He also leads the club with an 11.0 rebounds per game average.

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The Series: ? Todayˇ?s game is the 76th meeting of the two schools with UCLA holding a 44-31 series advantage. UA has won 11 of the last 20 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 19, 1923, but UCLA has won six straight, including the last meeting, an 82-60 triumph in Los Angeles on Feb. 2. All-time, Arizona is 18-13 in series games played in Tucson, 12-28 in Westwood, and 1-3 in neutral-site games. Please see page 101 in the UA media guide for more series information.

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Last Meeting: ??UCLA 82, Arizona 60, Feb. 2, 2008: ? Arizona missed 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts, found itself in a big hole early and never recovered in suffering its worst defeat of the season and snapping a four-game win streak.? UCLA shot 61 percent in the first half, limited Arizona to just 32 percent in the same period, and held a 20-point lead at the break. The Cats had no answer for the Bruin attack, as UCLA scored 52 points in the paint, converted 12 UA turnovers into 18 points and went to the free throw line 20 times.

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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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Senior Class: ? Arizonaˇ?s senior class, which includes players Bret Brielmaier, Daniel Dillon, Jawann McClellan, Mohamed Tangara and Kirk Walters, floor manager Jim Hawkins, and video manager Alan Peterson, makes its final appearance in front of the home fans today. Over the last four years, the Cats have won nearly 90 games, including a 49-13 (.790) record in McKale Center, claimed one Pac-10 championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times, including the 2005 NCAA regional final.

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A Bit Better: ? Arizona welcomes No. 4 UCLA to town, which marks UAˇ?s eighth game this year against nationally ranked opponents.? Arizonaˇ?s three wins this season over ranked opponents is equal to the programˇ?s total in such games over the previous two seasons combined.? UA is 3-4 against ranked opponents this season, while 3-15 against nationally ranked opponents in 2006 and 2007 combined.

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Strength of Schedule: ? Here is one more note on just how tough Arizonaˇ?s schedule has been in 2007-08.? Of the eight ranked opponents faced to date, seven have been ranked in the top 10.? That is the highest number of top-10 opponents in any season since the 2000-01 NCAA runner-up squad also faced seven.? However, three of those foes were in NCAA Tournament games.? Since the Associated Press rankings debuted in 1949, Arizona has never faced as many top-10 opponents in the regular season as this club has, and this is a program that has averaged nearly eight (7.6) games against ranked opponents per season over the last 25 years.

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Soldiering On: ? The Wildcats continue marching toward the postseason despite a number of hurdles.? According to collegerpi.com, Arizona entered the week with an RPI that ranked No. 16 nationally and had the nationˇ?s No. 1 strength of schedule.??? Arizona is the only unranked team in the top 21 places.? UA has done this despite losing a total of 22 games due to injury (Brielmaier 12, Wise 6, Bayless 4).? When completely healthy, the Cats are 9-4 (.692), and when Bayless and Wise both available, Arizona has posted a 14-4 (.778) record.

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In March: ? Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 49-21 (.700) 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 are 5-5 in March.

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A Rarity: ? Jerryd Bayless (8) and Chase Budinger (7) combined for 15 points Thursday vs. USC, a total that was 23.5 points less than their combined scoring averages entering the game.? It was also just the second time this season that both of UAˇ?s leading scorers failed to reach double figures, but UA managed to win the previous, 52-49 at UNLV on Dec. 19 when the duo tallied 14 points.

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Elite Company: ? Jerryd Bayless enters Sundayˇ?s game just six points shy of 500 points for the season.? Upon scoring those half-dozen points, he would become just the second freshman in school history to score 500 or more points in a season.? In 1972-73, the first season of freshman eligibility, Coniel Norman scored 576 points in 24 games, or a 24.0 ppg average.

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Connectivity: ? Arizona shot a respectable 48.8 percent (21-of-43) in Thursdayˇ?s loss, but slipped to just 6-11 when failing to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.? When combined with the fact that UA allowed USC to shoot 52.9 percent (27-of-51) from the floor, the Wildcats fell to 2-8 in Pac-10 play when the team is outshot by the opposition.? Throughout the season, Arizona is 13-0 when shooting better than their opponent.

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Beaten on the Glass: ? As mentioned earlier, rebounding should prove to be essential (as it usually is) in todayˇ?s game, especially when UCLA enters the contest as the Pac-10ˇ?s best rebounding team with a +9.8 rebound margin.? Whatˇ?s certainly troubling for the Cats is that they have struggled in that area of late.? Arizona has been outrebounded by an average of eight rebounds per game over the last seven games, and been outboarded by 10 or more three times in that span.? Arizonaˇ?s four offensive and 20 total rebounds Thursday were both season lows.? UA has been outrebounded in 12 of 15 Pac-10 games to date.

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On Target: ? Jawann McClellan knocked down 3-of-7 attempts from three-point range and finished with 14 points, his second-highest offensive output in the last seven games.? In that span, the 6-foot-4 senior from Houston, Texas, has connected on 9-of-16 (.563) three-point attempts to boost his season percentage from behind the arc to .400 (26-of-65).? Additionally, McClellan is now tied for 10th place on the Arizona career three-point percentage list at .385 (87-of-226).

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Thatˇ?s More Like It: ? Sophomore Jordan Hill led Arizona with 18 points and five rebounds Thursday.? The 6-foot-10 forward connected on 7-of-10 field goals and all four free throws to go with two assists, two blocks and a steal.? He logged 36 minutes vs. USC, marking just the second time this season that Hill has played 30 or more minutes and the Wildcats lost.? UA is 11-2 this season when Hill plays at least 30.

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Fendi Was Fine : ? Junior Fendi Onobun exhibited one of his best performances of the season Thursday, posting six points (3-of-3 FG), three rebounds, an assist and a block in a career-high 19 minutes played.? In 17 appearances this season, Onobun is averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game.? He is shooting .619 (13-of-21) from the floor.

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Slow Starts : ? Once again a slow start plagued Arizona, as the Cats fell behind by 10 points within the first seven minutes against USC.? Good starts have almost become a necessity for Arizona this season as the team is 9-8 this season when tied or trailing at the 10-minute mark of the first half and 4-9 when trailing at the break.

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Dwindling Total: ? Arizona scored just 58 points Thursday, which was the fifth time this season the Cats had not broken the 60-point plateau.? That number is equal to the total for the pervious eight seasons combined.? Itˇ?s not completely unexpected as the program lost 55 percent of the offense from last seasonˇ?s club.

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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: ? Arizona closes the regular season with a pair of road games.? The trip begins Thursday, March 6, at Oregon State.? Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST and can be seen on FSN Arizona.

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