Nov. 22, 2010
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: Fox College Sports Atlantic (Dave Sitton/Corey Williams)
GAME DATA: Arizona (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10) hosts Bethune-Cookman (2-1, 0-0 MEAC) Tuesday in McKale Center in the second round of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational ... UA is 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 2002-03 ... The Cats are averaging 88.7 points per game and have scored 90 or more points in two of three games to date ... As a testament to balance, 10 of 15 players on the UA roster are averaging double-figure minutes and nine of those players are averaging six or more points and six are averaging four or more rebounds ... No Arizona player has logged more than 30 minutes in a single game this season ... Over the last 27 seasons, Arizona has a record of 70-20 (.778) record in the month of November.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona remains unranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Cats start the season unranked for just the fourth time in the last 24 seasons.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . is in his second season at the University of Arizona and his seventh overall as a college head coach with a record of 139-62 (.692) and 19-15 (.559) at Arizona ... Appointed April 7, 2009, Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the last three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of their conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 14 trips to the postseason in his 17 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (8 NCAA/6NIT) and has a 6-4 (.600) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 17 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... A standout guard for the University of Pittsburgh (1987-92), Miller was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988, won a gold medal on the 1991 U.S. World University Games team and was a member of his alma mater's all-centennial team in 2005 ... Miller, 41, earned a degree in communications from Pitt in 1992 ... He is assisted by Archie Miller, Emanuel Richardson and James Whitford ... Miller is 0-0 vs. Bethune-Cookman as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona showed quite a bit of offensive balance in running away from Northern Colorado, 93-70, on Sunday in the first round of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational. Eight UA players scored seven or more points in a game that saw the Cats jump out to an early 8-0 lead and methodically build as much as a 35-point lead. Much of the damage was done in the first half, as Arizona shot 64 percent from the field, posted a +11 rebound advantage and forced 10 UNC miscues in the period. Derrick Williams led the Cats with 15 points and eight rebounds, as all 15 players saw action for the second time this season.
SCOUTING BETHUNE-COOKMAN: The Wildcats enter tonight's game with a 2-1 record (0-0 MEAC) following Sunday's 75-61 loss at Santa Clara. On the season, B-CU averages 74.7 points, shoots 46.6 percent from the floor (81-of-174), 36.6 percent (15-of-41) from three-point range and 67.1 percent (47-of-70) from the line. Opponents average 63.3 points, outrebound B-CU by seven boards per game and shoot 44.1 percent from the floor (67-of-152). Individually, three Wildcat players average in double-figures, led by C.J. Reed's 21.7 ppg average. Garrius Holloman leads Bethune-Cookman with an 8.0 rebounds per game average.
THE SERIES: This is the first meeting of the two schools. All-time, Arizona is 3-0 (1.000) vs. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference members. UA last faced a MEAC foe during the 1997-98 season, defeating Morgan State (115-53) on Nov. 20 and Coppin State (99-82) on Dec. 13. Both games were played in Tucson.
IN-SEASON TOURNAMENTS: Arizona continues its first-ever appearance in the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational. Generally speaking, in-season tournaments have been good to Arizona, as the club is 125-60 (.676) all-time in such events. That number rises dramatically over the most recent 26 seasons, as the Wildcats are 96-20 (.828) in regular season showcases like this.
OFF TO A GOOD START INDIVIDUALLY: Derrick Williams led Arizona to its 3-0 since 2002-03 by averaging 19.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in Arizona's three games to start the season. The sophomore forward connected on 80.0 percent of his field goals (20-of-25), including 77.3 percent (17-of-22) from the free throw line, and added an assist, two blocks and a steal. Fogg opened the year by hitting 6-of-7 field goals en route to 20 points to go with five rebounds Nov. 14 vs. Idaho State. He connected on a career-best 9-of-10 from the field in scoring 25 points to go with a career-high 14 rebounds to notch his fifth career double-double in the win over New Mexico State. He followed that up with 15 points, eight rebounds and an assist in Sunday's win over Northern Colorado. Williams has posted these averages through three games despite averaging just 22.7 minutes per game. Remarkably efficient, 16 of Williams' 20 field goals this season have been dunks or lay-ups.
OFF TO A GOOD START COLLECTIVELY: Bolstered by 64.3 percent shooting (18-of-28) in the first half, Arizona jumped out to a 57-31 halftime lead Sunday vs. Northern Colorado. UA starters connected on 13-of-20 field goal attempts (.650) in the opening period, which enabled the Cats to post those 57 points, the highest point total in any half this season.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS: As mentioned above, Arizona certainly found its collective shooting touch early on Sunday. Through three games, the Cats have proven to be an accurate shooting bunch, as the team has connected on 53.0 percent (87-of-164) of its field goal attempts. All told, Arizona has shot 50 percent or better from the field in four of six halves this season with three of those efforts actually topping 60 percent. Of the eight Wildcats to attempt 10 or more field goals so far, five of those players are shooting 50 percent or better individually.
REWARDING THE AGGRESSOR: Coach Sean Miller has often said that the more aggressive team usually gets to the free throw line more often. It proved to be a difference maker in Sunday's game, as Arizona converted 25 Northern Colorado fouls into 42 free throw attempts of which the made 34 (.810). Arizona outscored UNC, 34-19, for the game, extending an advantage that has seen Arizona make more charity tosses (67) than the opposition has attempted (58) and posts a scoring advantage of +9.6 points per game from the stripe.
CLEANING THE GLASS: Arizona continues to do a stellar job on the boards, as the team's +17.7 rebound margin currently leads the Pac-10 Conference. As a matter of fact, Arizona has more offensive rebounds (39) than the opponent's defensive boards (37) to date. The Wildcats have outrebounded each opponent by 15 or more, which is the first time Arizona has posted three consecutive positive rebound margins of 15 or more since Nov. 19-28, 2006, in wins over New Mexico State (+15), Samford (+26) and UNLV (+15).
LIMITING THEIR LOOKS: The Wildcats have made it difficult on the opposition when it comes to getting open looks, as opponents are shooting a cumulative .341 (59-of-173) from the field. The effort has been pretty consistent from first half (27-of-79/.342) to second (32-of-94/.340), though opponents are averaging 8.3 more points per period in the second half (32.3-24.0).
STOLEN MOMENTS: Led by Solomon Hill and Kyle Fogg, who tallied three apiece, Arizona collected a season-high nine steals Sunday vs. Northern Colorado. The pilfers seem to come in bunches as Jordin Mayes also collected a pair on Sunday. Aside from Fogg and Lamont Jones, who ranks second on the club with four, no other Wildcats have registered steals in all three games.
WAY TO GO, BIG FELLA: Sophomore center Kyryl Natyazhko broke out with his best all-around performance to date Sunday, as he set or equaled career highs with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. The 6-foot-11, 264-pound native of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, connected on 4-of-5 field goals, including a trey, and passed out an assist. On the season, Natyazhko is averaging 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while shooting .750 (9-of-12) from the field.
WARMING UP NICELY: Solomon Hill has himself off to a nice start, and the versatile swingman is making across-the-board contributions. The 6-foot-6 Los Angeles, Calif., native scored 11 points Sunday vs. Northern Colorado to go with four boards, four assists and three steals. He ranks second on the in scoring (10.3 ppg), rebounding (5.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (13-of-20/.650). Hill leads the Wildcats with an average of 24.3 minutes played per game.
SUPPORTING THE CAUSE: Guard Jordin Mayes seems to display a comfort at this level that belies the fact that he's only a freshman. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound product of Los Angeles, Calif., registered nine points, two assists and two steals on Sunday. As he said postgame, "I'm learning everyday. I'm just playing a team game, whatever I can do is for the team." Through three games, Mayes is 6.7 points and 2.3 assists per game, while shooting .500 (6-of-12) from the field.
SOMEONE'S GOTTA DO IT: Jesse Perry has quickly displayed a willingness to do the little things necessary in a team game: rebound, defend, bring energy off the bench. He currently ranks third on the team with a 4.7 rebounds per game average, and the vast majority of his points have come from the free throw line, where he's sunk 14-of-18 attempts (.778).
AFFECTING THE GAME: One measure of maturity could be the ability to affect the game even when your shot isn't falling. Junior Kyle Fogg, a career 42.7-percent shooter entering the season, has connected on just 36.8 percent (7-of-19) of his shots through three games. But the 6-foot-3 guard from Brea, Calif., leads the Wildcats with 17 assists (5.7 apg) and seven steals. Perhaps most impressively, Fogg currently carries a 3.4:1 assist:turnover ratio.
POPPING UP EVERYWHERE: A quick look at the early season Pac-10 statistical leaders shows that Derrick Williams figures prominently. The sophomore forward is tied for fifth in scoring (19.3 ppg), sixth in rebounding (9.0 rpg), second in field goal percentage (.800), seventh in offensive rebounds (3.3 orpg) and seventh in defensive rebounds (5.7 drpg). About the only place he doesn't show up is minutes played, where he's averaging 22.7 minutes per game.
DOUBLING UP: Sophomore guard Lamont Jones notched his 10th career game in double figures after hitting 3-of-6 FGs and 4-of-6 FTs en route to 10 points on Sunday.
AN UNBIASED OPINION: According to media members who regularly cover the league, Arizona was picked to finish second in this season's Pacific-10 Conference race. The Wildcats received 296 points and one first-place vote (see chart at left), trailing only Washington. It's the highest preseason predicted finish for the Cats since 2006-07, and the 296 points earned is the most since 2005-06. Historically speaking, Arizona has been the preseason favorite 11 times in the last 21 years.
SCORING 80: Arizona scored a season-high 93 points Nov. 21 vs. Northern Colorado, breaking the 80-point barrier for the third time this year. Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 189-19 (.909) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. Arizona was 6-0 last season when topping the 80-point plateau.
CATCH IT ON YOUR COMPUTER: All games of the finals of the 10th annual iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational, scheduled for Nov. 26-27 at the Orleans Arena, will be available to fans around the country. iBN Sports, the title sponsor for the Las Vegas Invitational, will be broadcasting six of the eight games of the tournament live at http://www.ibnsports.com/lvi.aspx. iBN Sports will also be airing a delayed broadcast of the Kansas-Ohio University game, which is being played on Friday, Nov. 26. The only game iBN Sports will not broadcast on its network will be Kansas-Arizona, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2. iBN Sports, an online sports television network, has entered into college sports through a new multi-year agreement with IMG College, a division of IMG Worldwide, to be the title sponsor of both the Las Vegas Invitational and Las Vegas Classic college basketball tournaments in November and December, respectively.
UP NEXT: Following tonight's game, Arizona heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the conclusion of the iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational. UA faces Santa Clara on Friday, Nov. 26, and tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST from the Orleans Arena and will be televised by KWBA-TV.