Feb. 28, 2003
Date: Saturday, March 1, 2003
Time: 4 p.m. PST
Location: Maples Pavilion (6,556), Palo Alto, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ABC (Dave O'Brien/Fran Fraschilla)
GAME DATA: Top-ranked Arizona (22-2, 14-1 Pac-10) plays its final road game of the season Saturday at No. 19 Stanford (22-6, 13-3 Pac-10) ... The Wildcats have won its last three road games by an average of 15.3 points ... In the Lute Olson era, Arizona is 120-59 (.670) in Pac-10 road contests, including 8-0 this season ... Opponents are shooting just 40.7 percent from the field against Arizona, which is the lowest figure in the Pac-10 ... Expect a tight game today, as the last three series games played at Maples Pavilion have been decided by a total of 10 points ... A victory would give Arizona its fourth consecutive Bay Area sweep and clinch the school's 10th Pac-10 championship and its 21st conference title overall.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona remains the nation's top-ranked team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the third straight week. The Cats have been the top-ranked team in 11 of 16 AP polling periods this season. UA has been ranked in 267 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH LUTE OLSON . . . is in his 20th season at Arizona and his 30th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 685-237 (.743) and 493-145 (.773) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona during the 2000 campaign and has the second-most Pac-10 wins (276) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) and tied with Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.782/276-77) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 20-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 nine Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 18 years in a row, 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 six times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98), 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 15 years (401-97/.805) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 45 NBA Draft picks, including 26 at Arizona - 20 alone since 1990 ... He's led UA to 16 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 25 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 25 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 292-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 220 of its last 235 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 29-12 against Stanford, including an 11-8 mark at Maples Pavilion.
LAST TIME OUT: Led by the stellar shooting of Luke Walton and Salim Stoudamire, Arizona built as much as a 16-point lead and held off every Golden Bear charge in an 88-75 win Thursday at California. Walton and Stoudamire were each 7-of-9 from the floor and both finished with 20 points, as Arizona won its ninth straight game against California. The Wildcats, who shot 52.0 percent for the game, were even better from three-point range at 52.6 percent. Four of five UA starters finished in double figures, and the UA defense held California to just 37.5 percent in the second half.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal (22-6, 13-3 Pac-10) enter Saturday's game riding a six-game streak following Thursday's win over Arizona State. Stanford is undefeated at home in Pac-10 play and 12-2 at home this year. The Cardinal entered the week shooting 44.5 percent from the field, posting a +5.8 rebound margin and averaging 71.8 points per game. Julius Barnes leads four Cardinal players in double figures with 15.7 points per game average through 27 games. Josh Childress and Justin davis combined to average 15.8 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 64th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 41-22 series advantage. Arizona has won four of the last seven games in the series, which dates back to Dec. 20, 1937, although Stanford took a 82-77 decision in Tucson on Jan. 30. All-time, Arizona is 24-6 in series games played in Tucson, 15-14 in Palo Alto and 2-2 in neutral-site games. See page 124 of the UA media guide for more series information.
LAST MEETING: Stanford 82, Arizona 77, Jan. 30, 2003: Rebounds, turnovers and free throw shooting proved to be the difference as Stanford picked up the five-point win. Stanford outrebounded UA, 43-39, forced 19 turnovers and benefited from 14-of-26 Arizona free throw shooting as the Cardinal won in McKale Center for the third straight season. Stanford built as much as a 14-point lead in the second half before UA went on a 20-3 run and took a 65-62 lead with 7:18 to go. Julius Barnes and Matt Lottich hit treys on the next two possessions to get Stanford back on top for good.
TWO SPOT: An Arizona win today would be the 277th career Pac-10 win for Lute Olson, which would move him into sole possession second place on the conference's all-time wins list. Olson enters the game with a Pac-10 record of 276-77 (.782) and is tied with Oregon State's Slats Gill (276). The duo trails UCLA's John Wooden (304) on the league's career wins list.
NOT MUCH OF A HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE: If you think that playing at home means anything in this series, think again. Although these two teams are as good as any at winning at home, each has had a problem defending its home turf of late. Each of the last five series meetings have been won by the visiting team.
ROAD WARRIORS: Arizona looks to accomplish something Saturday that only two other Pac-10 teams have done: go unbeaten on the road in conference play. Since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only two teams have posted 9-0 road records, Oregon State in 1980-81 and Stanford in 2000-01. Both of those teams went on to win the conference championship, OSU finished 17-1 and Stanford finished 16-2.
MINUTES PLAYED: With 39 minutes played Thursday, senior Jason Gardner became Arizona's career leader in minutes played. He currently has 4,523 minutes played in his 128-game career, which moved him past Sean Elliott (1985-89) and his 4,499 minutes played.
AGAINST THE ELITE: With a win over No. 23 California on Thursday, Arizona improved its record to 6-0 against ranked teams this season. Three of those wins have come in road games. With No. 19 Stanford on tap Saturday, Arizona will play a ranked opponent in consecutive games for the first time this year.
STREAK BREAKERS: Arizona's 13-point win over California on Thursday snapped the Golden Bears' 17-game homecourt win streak. It marked the third time this season that Arizona ended such a streak, as the Cats ended similar streaks at Oregon (23/Jan. 2) and at Kansas (23/Jan. 25). Furthermore, Arizona is 4-0 all-time at Cal's Haas Pavilion is the only team to win in each of the last two seasons. Of the Golden Bears' 43-5 home record since the start of the 2000-01 season, three of those loses have come to Arizona.
FROM BEHIND THE ARC: Bolstered by the long-range shooting of Salim Stoudamire and Luke Walton, Arizona shot a season-best 52.6 (10-of-19) from three-point range. Stoudamire (6-of-8) and Walton (3-of-3) combined to hit 9-of-11 attempts from behind the are, while each also equaled career bests for three-point FGs made. Interestingly, Arizona's two best three-point shooting days this season have come against California. In the two meetings, Arizona is a combined 21-of-40 (.525) from behind the arc.
BACK TO BACK: Senior forward Luke Walton posted his second consecutive 20-point game in Thursday's win, and his third of the season. In the last two games, Walton is shooting 16-of-26 (.615) from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range to go with 13 rebounds and seven assists. The 6-foot-8 forward is shooting .449 (22-of-49) on the year from three-point range.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS: Arizona posted a .520 field goal percentage (26-of-50) in Thursday's win, which marked the sixth time the team has shot better than 50 percent from the floor. Three of those six occurrences have come in UA's last three games, and in that span the club is shooting 55.0 percent (93-of-169) from the field. In Thursday's win, Arizona's starters combined to shoot 57.1 (24-of-42) percent.
ON THE GLASS: For just the fifth time this season Arizona did not post a rebound advantage, as Cal equaled UA's 34 rebounds. All told, Arizona is 3-2 when tied or outrebounded and 19-0 when outrebounding the opposition.
FROM THE LINE: The Wildcats equaled a season high with 26 free throws on Thursday. In the game, Arizona connected on 26-of-32 attempts (.813) and outscored Cal by 14 points from the charity stripe. The improved accuracy moved Arizona's season free throw percentage to .702 (432-of-615).
ANOTHER RUN: Scoring runs continue to play a large role in Arizona's 22 wins, and Thursday was no different. Midway through the first half, Arizona went on a 12-2 run over 2:30 to push a two-point game to 12. From that point on, California got no closer than three points in the final 32 minutes.
1,000 POINTS: Jason Gardner enters Saturday's game just six points shy of 1,000 in Pac-10 games only. In 69 career Pac-10 games, Gardner has amassed 996 points, good for a 14.4 points per game average.
BOARD WORK: The 5-foot-10 Jason Gardner pulled down a game-high seven rebounds in Thursday's win, marking the fifth time this season he has led the team in rebounding. Six times this season Gardner has grabbed at least seven boards in a game and his 4.0 rebounds per game average through 24 games is a career best
SCORING 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 79-7 (.919) since the start of the 1998-99 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats were 16-4 last season when scoring at least 80 points.
EARLY SIGNEES: Coach Olson and his staff signed three student-athletes to National-Letters-of-Intent during the November early signing period. Ndudi Ebi (F, 6-8, 192) from Houston, Texas, Westbury Christian High School, Mustafa Shakur (G, 6-3, 175) from Wynnewood, Pa., Friends Central High School and Kirk Walters (C, 6-10, 210) from Grand Rapids, Mich., South Christian High School will join the squad next fall.
UP NEXT: The Cats return home to close the regular season against Oregon State on Thursday, March 6, and Oregon on Saturday, March 8.