Jan. 25, 2013
Date: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013
Time: 5 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach) [Sirius/XM: 93/195]
TV: ESPNU (Dave Flemming/Sean Farnham)
GAME DATA: No. 6 Arizona (16-2, 4-2 Pac-12) looks to bounce back quickly when it hosts USC (8-12, 3-4 Pac-12) Saturday in McKale Center ... The Wildcats are 7-0 on Saturdays this season, outscoring opponents by 13.0 points, outrebounding them by 8.1 boards and outshooting them by 5.4 percentage points (.440-.386) ... In the last five years, the UA-USC series has been a higher-scoring affair in Tucson, as the teams combine to average 147.2 points per game in McKale and 121.8 ppg at the Galen Center, a rise of 12.7 more points per team per game here in the Old Pueblo.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked sixth in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 in both polls for 10 consecutive weeks.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 5-2 vs. USC as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: UCLA jumped out to a 21-5 lead in the first eight minutes and fended off every UA charge in winning 84-73 on Thursday. All the damage was done in the first half, as the Bruins shot 56 percent from the field and limited the Cats to just 31 percent marksmanship. Four times the lead was trimmed to five points or less, but each time a more efficient UCLA answered, mostly by getting to the line 27 times in the second half. Nick Johnson shared game-high honors with 23 points, while Solomon Hill added a double-double (13 pts./10 reb.).
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans enter today's game with an 8-12 record (3-4 Pac-12) following Thursday's 98-93 overtime loss at Arizona State. On the season, USC averages 66.1 points per game, shoots 43.4 percent from the floor (487-of-1,123), 35.2 percent (107-of-304) from three-point range and 66.5 percent (240-of-361) from the line. Opponents average 66.6 points, are outrebounded by 0.3 per game and shoot 41.7 percent from the floor (454-of-1,089). Individually, three USC players average in double figures, led by Eric Wise's 12.9 ppg figure. Dewayne Dedmon leads the Trojans in rebounding at 7.1 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Today's game is the 101st meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 60-40 series advantage. UA has won 21 of the last 31 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, including the last, 70-54, in Tucson on Feb. 23, 2012. All-time, Arizona is 31-10 in series games played in Tucson, 25-30 in Los Angeles, and 4-0 in neutral-site games. For more series information, please see page 49 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Arizona 70, USC 54, Feb. 23, 2012: Kyle Fogg posted a double-double and Arizona held USC scoreless for the final 7:58 of the first half to erase an eight-point deficit and lead by four at the break. UA moved the lead to double figures within the first four minutes of the second half and built as much as a 19-point lead, shooting 54 percent from the field in the period. Fogg (16 pts./12 reb.) and Josiah Turner combined for 31 points as the Cats collected its 20th win for the 33rd time in school history.
TOP NOTCH: Arizona opened the week ranked second in the nation in terms of the ratings percentage index, or RPI, with a mark of .6990 according to cbssports.com. Regarding strength of schedule, the Cats schedule toughness ranks fourth nationally with a .6124 rating according to cbssports.com. All told, UA has a 9-1 record against the RPI top-100 teams and only one team in the country (Kansas, 7) has more victories against the RPI top-50.
WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND: With less than 48 hours to prepare between games, Pac-12 weekends always provide a challenge in preparation. During the Sean Miller era, Arizona has posted a .642 winning percentage (34-19) in those two-game weekends. And within that mark, the Cats have proven to be a better club on Saturdays or Sundays, winning 18 of 26 times (.692) when compared to a 16-11 (.593) mark on Wednesday or Thursday. If you factor in the games against instate rival Arizona State, the weekend record rises to 23-10 (.697).
WHITE HOT: Thursday's "White Out" crowd of 14,617 was the largest announced attendance of the season and was the fifth largest crowd of the Sean Miller era. Thursday's attendance figure was topped only by the following: 14,724 vs. UCLA, 2/25/2012; 14,631 vs. Arizona State, 2/21/2010; 14,629 vs. California, 1/31/2010; and 14,619 vs. Washington, 2/19/2011. As has been the case for the last 28 seasons, Arizona currently leads the Pac-12 in attendance with an average of 13,920, or 96 percent of capacity.
A FEW BRIGHT SPOTS: Arizona did manage to post a couple of nice numbers in Thursday's game, as nearly two-thirds of the team's points were scored in the paint (46 of 73) and UA did outscore the Bruins by eight in that category. That 63-percent rate of points in the paint is the Wildcats' highest percentage of the season to date. Additionally, despite it's shooting difficulties, Arizona used 19 offensive rebounds to post a 23-10 advantage in second-chance points. UA averages 12.2 offensive rebounds per game, 3.2 more than the opposition.
ON THE WRONG FOOT: En route to a 38.4 field goal percentage (28-of-73) Thursday, Arizona missed 12 of its first 13 field goals and fell behind 21-5 eight minutes into the contest. On the bright side, Arizona did outscore UCLA, 68-63, from that point forward and did connect on a respectable 45.0 percent (27-of-60) from the floor. Further, a case could be made that Arizona was getting good looks early on, as UA missed 15 lay-ups or shots in the paint according to the shot chart. Obviously, however, the start proved to be too much to overcome. Thursday's effort was just the fourth time this season that Arizona did not shoot better than 40 percent from the field as a team.
SIMILAR FEATURES: In each of its two losses to date, Arizona has allowed both Oregon and UCLA to get off to a good start in the opening period. In those two games, the Ducks and Bruins combined to shoot 56.3 percent from the field (36-of-64). UO and UCLA, who tallied 41 and 40 first-half points, respectively, against Arizona are the only clubs this season to break the 40-point plateau in the first half vs. the Wildcats this season. Through 18 games, Arizona averages 35.2 points per game in the first half and posts a +5.1 scoring margin in the opening period.
TAKE CARE OF THE GLASS: The Wildcats equaled its third-highest rebound total of the season Thursday, yet was actually outrebounded by UCLA, 45-44. It marked just the fourth time this season - and first in Pac-12 action - that Arizona has been outrebounded. Currently, Arizona enjoys a +8.8 rebound margin, a figure that ranks second in the conference. The Wildcats are 63-14 (.818) when outrebounding the opposition.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Jordan Hill's 1,208 career points scored from 2006-09.
A SEASON HIGH: Sophomore Nick Johnson netted 23 points Thursday, equaling a career-high and posting the third 20-point game of his career. The 6-foot-3 guard from Gilbert, Ariz., sank nine field goal (a UA single-game high) to go with five boards two assists and two steals. Johnson is one of four Cats to post a 20-point game in 2012-13, joining Mark Lyons (4), Solomon Hill (1) and Brandon Ashley (1). Johnson ranks third on the club with a 13.3 ppg average.
COLLECTING CAROMS: Freshman forward Grant Jerrett pulled down a season-best 10 rebounds Thursday vs. UCLA, including four offensive, to notch the first double-figure rebound effort of his career. The effort on the boards boosted the rebound average of the 6-foot-10 native of Chino Hills, Calif., to 4.1 rpg. Jerrett is one of four Wildcats to grab at least 10 rebounds in a game this season - Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Solomon Hill are the others. Along with Solomon Hill's 10 boards, it marked the first time this season that two Wildcats reached double figures on the glass in the same game.
FROM BEHIND THE ARC: Forward Brandon Ashley tallied nine points, eight rebounds and a season-high two steals against UCLA. The 6-foot-8 forward connected on 3-of-6 field goals and had three offensive rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Over the last 11 games, the San Francisco, Calif., native is shooting .509 (29-of-57) from the field and has 11 games with five or more rebounds this season. Through 18 appearances, Ashley is averaging 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
ALWAYS ON THE RUN: Arizona has displayed a knack for timely runs so far this season. Saturday at Arizona State, the Wildcats used an 11-0 run to build a 13-point lead and all but end things. Here is a look at UA's notable runs to date:
26-3 run over 8:41 (2nd) at Texas Tech, Dec. 1
27-8 run over 6:53 (2nd+ot) vs. Colorado, Jan. 3
21-4 run over 9:07 (2nd) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
23-6 run over 7:55 (1st) vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 19
22-7 run over 8:56 (2nd) at Clemson, Dec. 8
13-0 run over 4:26 (2nd) vs. UTEP, Nov. 15
14-2 run over 4:10 (2nd) vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 28
22-10 run over 9:27 (1st) vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 11
11-0 run over 3:38 (2nd) at Arizona State, Jan. 19
11-0 run over 3:13 (2nd) vs. Oral Roberts, Dec. 18
15-4 run over 7:53 (1st+2nd) at Oregon State, Jan. 12
14-4 run over 5:48 (2nd) vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 4
RECRUITING CLASS: The Arizona coaching staff signed two student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent as part of the November early signing period. Rondae Jefferson (F, 6-7, 215) from Chester, Pa., who preps at Chester H.S.; and Elliott Pitts (G, 6-5, 180) from Dublin, Calif., who preps at De La Salle H.S.; make up a class that is ranked No. 18 nationally by espn.com.
UP NEXT: Following today's contest, the Wildcats next will be in action on Thursday, Jan. 31, when travels to Seattle, Wash., to take on Washington. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST and can be seen on ESPN.