Nov. 8, 2012
Time: 4 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen) [XM: 91]
TV: Pac-12.com Networks (Jim Watson/Matt Muehlebach)
GAME DATA: Twelfth-ranked Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) opens its 109th season of competition by hosting Charleston Southern (0-0, 0-0 Big South) Sunday in McKale Center ... Both the Wildcats and Buccaneers were picked as the preseason favorites in their respective conferences - UA in the Pac-12 and CSU in the Big South's South Division ... Arizona averaged a robust 103.0 points per game in its two exhibition tilts, outscoring foes by an average of 22.0 points in the second half ... Ten Wildcats averaged better than 12 minutes per game in the preseason.
THE RANKINGS: UA opens the 2012-13 season ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls, checking in at No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the coaches' poll. It marks the second straight year that the Wildcats open the year nationally ranked in both major college basketball polls.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . begins his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 189-82 (.697) and 69-35 (.663) at Arizona ... In his eight-year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... He guided UA to 30 wins and the 2011 Pac-10 regular-season championship in a run that culminated in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... 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 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 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 NIT) and has an 9-5 (.643) 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 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... Miller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seasons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack.
LAST TIME OUT: Mark Lyons (20), Solomon Hill (18) and Kevin Parrom (12) combined for 50 of Arizona's 98 points in a 98-60 exhibition win over Chico State on Tuesday. The Wildcats held Chico State to a single bucket on its first 10 possessions and limited CSUC to single digits for the first 8:36 of the game. UA shot 54 percent from the field, held Chico State to 34 percent shooting and outscored the Division II foe 33-8 from the free throw line. Arizona held a double-figure lead for the last 31 minutes and saw the lead extend to as many as 40 points.
SCOUTING CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Ten lettermen and four starters return for head coach Barclay Radebaugh from a team that finished 19-12 and tied for third in the Big South Conference. The Buccaneers averaged 76.9 points per game in 2011-12 and saw nearly one-third of its offense come from behind the arc. CSU's backcourt of Arlon Harper (12.5 ppg) and Saah Nimley 13.5 ppg) combined to average 26.0 points per game last season and made 117 three-point field goals. Charleston Southern opens the season Friday at Charlotte.
THE SERIES: Today's game is the first meeting of the two schools on the hardwood. All-time, Arizona is 2-0 against schools that currently reside in the Big South Conference. UA's last meeting against a Big South foe came Dec. 28, 2003, in a 107-91 Wildcat win over Liberty in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic. For more information, please see page 51 of the UA media guide.
FOR OPENERS: Arizona has a record of 84-21 (.800) in season openers (results are unavailable for four seasons - 1905-06, 1908-09. 1909-10, 1911-12), including a 23-4 (.852), mark in the previous 27 seasons. All-time, the Cats are 65-12 at home, 10-9 on the road and 9-0 in neutral-site games.
HOME SWEET HOME: Since his arrival in Tucson four seasons ago, Sean Miller has continued a streak that has seen the Wildcats win 10 consecutive home openers, including last season's 73-64 win over Valparaiso on Nov. 7. The last time Arizona lost a home opener came on Dec. 1, 2001, in a 105-97 loss to No. 8 Kansas. Prior to that, Arizona hadn't dropped a home opener since the start of the 1992-93 season.
ANOTHER STREAK WORTH CONTINUING: Sean Miller begins his ninth season as a college head coach today, and in those previous eight years he has never lost a season opener. He was a spotless 5-0 in season debuts while at Xavier and is 3-0 at Arizona. Miller has built that streak in convincing fashion, winning those eight games by an average of 27.8 points. Additionally, no game has been closer than nine points - in last year's victory over Valparaiso.
IN NOVEMBER: Fast starts have become a regular occurrence for the Wildcats. The program is a cumulative 77-23 (.770) in the month of November over the last 28 seasons. Those numbers are even more impressive considering the strength of the opposition, as nearly 30 percent of those foes (29 of 100) were nationally ranked at the time of the game. In those contests, Arizona is 18-11 (.621).
A BIGGER DEAL: A quick look at the Wildcats would show anyone that the 2012-13 club has something last year's team didn't: height. Five of Arizona's eight newcomers this season are 6-foot-8 or taller and that increase can certainly be seen in the starting lineup, where the average height of UA's starting five in two exhibition games was 6-foot-6 ¾ and the average weight was 222 pounds. That's nearly three inches taller and 17 pounds heavier per man than the Cats' starting five to close last season.
PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the league, Arizona was picked to finish first in this season's Pac-12 Conference race (see poll on next page). The Cats received 403 points and 15 first-place votes, topping the rest of the league by one point. UCLA, California and Stanford rounded out the top-four spots in the poll. It's the first time since 2005-06 that Arizona was the preseason favorite and the Wildcats have been the preseason target a league-leading 12 times since the poll debuted in 1989-90.
FROM LONG RANGE: Arizona was a good shooting team from behind the arc last year, ranking second in the Pac-12 Conference with a .378 three-point field goal percentage (258-of-683). That accuracy has continued early in 2012-13, as the Cats connected on 41.0 percent (16-of-39) of its long-range attempts in the preseason. Senior Mark Lyons led the squad by making 6-of-9 attempts from behind the arc vs. Humboldt State and Chico State.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: In its two exhibition games, Arizona averaged 103.0 points in winning those games by an average of 39.5 points. At this point a year ago, the Wildcats had split two exhibitions, averaged 64.0 points and posted a +4.0 scoring margin.
KNOCKING `EM DOWN: The Wildcats shot a collective 56.6 percent (69-of-122) from the field as a team in the preseason. Of the 10 Arizona players to hoist a field goal attempt to date, seven shot 50 percent or better from the field, led by Kaleb Tarczewski's .769 (10-of-13) marksmanship. Though its a feeble comparison, Arizona shot 43.9 percent (795-of-1,812) from the field in 35 games last season.
ON THE DEFENSIVE: Arizona limited its exhibition opponents to a .369 field goal percentage (45-of-122) in the two contests. Additionally, the Wildcats held the opposition to less than 40-percent shooting two times in the four halves played. Further, UA limited the opposition to just .321 shooting (17-of-53) from three-point range.
INSIDE OR OUT: Senior guard Mark Lyons made the most of his 22-minute effort against Chico State, totaling a game-high 20 points, two rebounds and three assists. The Schenectady, N.Y., product connected on 7-of-9 field goals in the game and six of those attempts were lay-ups. Proving he's not one dimensional, Lyons was Arizona's leading three-point shooter in the preseason, connecting on 6-of-9 (.667) attempts from behind the arc en route to a team-high 17.5 ppg average.
STRONG START: Nick Johnson registered eight points, three boards, three assists, two blocks and two steals to cap a nice preseason for the 6-foot-3 sophomore. He led the Wildcats with seven steals in the exhibitions, ranked second with seven assists and hit 7-of-13 shots from the floor (.538), averaging 10.0 points per game.
WILLIAMS-ESQUE: Saying it was "kind of like a Derrick Williams feel out there," Solomon Hill rolled to 18 points vs. Chico State powered by 13-of-14 shooting from the free throw line to go with eight boards and a pair of assists. Back in 2010-11, Derrick Williams averaged 19.5 ppg on the strength of a nation's best 331 free throw attempts (8.7 per game) on the way to the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
WELL ROUNDED: Forward Grant Jerrett posted 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and a block in the win over Chico State. In the exhibition games, the 6-foot-10 freshman from La Verne, Calif., averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds per game and led the team with four blocked shots. Jerrett tied for third on the squad with six assists.
CLEANING THE GLASS: Freshman Brandon Ashley tallied seven points and six boards against Chico State to finish the preseason with an average of 7.0 rebounds per game, the highest on the team. The 6-foot-8 forward from Oakland, Calif., also connected on 8-of-12 field goals to date. Ashley joins Solomon Hill (6.0), Kaleb Tarczewski (5.0) and Angelo Chol (5.0) as Wildcat who averaged five or more rebounds in the preseason.
A COLLECTIVE EFFORT: The UA freshmen to see action in the preseason - Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York - combined to average 39.5 points and 19.5 rebounds, while shooting 63.3 percent (31-of-49) from the field.
AN ELITE PLAYER: Solomon Hill was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50, announced Thursday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are under consideration for college basketball's player-of-the-year award. A 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior forward from Los Angeles, Calif., Hill averaged 12.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game to go with a .500 (151-of-302) field goal percentage last year. He scored in double figures 27 times, had three 20-point games and 12 double-doubles to his credit.
TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Nine former University of Arizona men's basketball players were on active National Basketball Association rosters, as the league opened the 2012-13 season Oct. 30. According to rosters listed on the NBA official website as of Oct. 30, the list of players includes Jerryd Bayless (Memphis Grizzlies), Chase Budinger (Minnesota Timberwolves), Channing Frye (Phoenix Suns), Jordan Hill (Los Angeles Lakers), Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets), Richard Jefferson (Golden State Warriors), Jason Terry (Boston Celtics), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves). Arizona ranks ninth nationally in terms of active NBA player production, marking the 13th consecutive season in which at least eight former Wildcats have opened the season on active NBA rosters. In nine of those seasons the number was 10 or more.
CONFERENCE AFFILIATIONS: Arizona's total of nine alumni in the NBA helped the Pac-12 Conference tally 53 active professionals, a figure that ranked third nationally among college conferences. Here is the breakdown by league: 1. Atlantic Coast, 60; 2. Southeastern, 55; 3. Pac-12, 53; 4. Big East, 47; 5. Big 12, 39; 6. Big Ten, 24.
UP NEXT: Arizona will next be in action on Thursday, Nov. 15, against UTEP. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST and will be televised on FOX Sports Net.