Jan. 29, 2013
Date: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. PST
Location: Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000), Seattle, Wash.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
GAME DATA: No. 8 Arizona (17-2, 5-2 Pac-12) heads out on the road to the State of Washington first to face Washington (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) Thursday in Seattle ... The Wildcats are averaging 73.7 points per game in conference play, while the Huskies are surrendering just 64.7 ppg in that span ... UA has a 4-1 record in true road games this year, outscoring foes by 12.6 points and outrebounding them by 8.4 boards per game ... This is Arizona's last game in January, traditionally a good one for Sean Miller and the Cats, as the team is 21-10 (.677) during the month in the last three-plus seasons.
THE RANKINGS: UA is ranked eighth 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 11 consecutive weeks, the most by a Pac-12 team in five years.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joe Pasternack ... Miller is 2-5 vs. Washington as a head coach.
LAST TIME OUT: Defense led the way for the Wildcats, limiting USC to just 1-of-9 shooting to open the game in racing to an 18-4 lead in less than seven minutes en route to a 74-50 victory on Saturday. Arizona forced 11 first-half turnovers (converted into 13 points) in holding the Trojans to 20 points and 24.1 percent shooting in the opening period. The lead ballooned to as many as 34 points in the second half as all 14 Cats saw action. Nick Johnson hits 6-of-8 shots from the floor and led four UA players in double figures, while four Wildcats grabbed at least five rebounds.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies enter today's game with a 12-8 record (4-3 Pac-12) following Saturday's 81-76 loss at Oregon. On the season, Washington averages 69.4 points per game, shoots 44.0 percent from the floor (489-of-1,112), 37.0 percent (119-of-322) from three-point range and 68.8 percent (291-of-423) from the line. Opponents average 66.6 points, are outrebounded by 3.0 per game and shoot 42.9 percent from the floor (492-of-1,146). Individually, four UW players average in double figures, led by C.J. Wilcox's 19.0 ppg figure. Aziz N'Diaye leads the Huskies in rebounding at 9.2 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 73rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 44-28 series advantage. UW has won 10 of the last 18 meetings, including the last, 70-54 in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2012. All-time, Arizona is 26-7 in series games played in Tucson, 17-18 in Seattle, Wash., and 1-3 in neutral site games. For more series information, please see page 50 in the UA media guide.
LAST MEETING: Washington 70, Arizona 54, Feb. 16, 2012: Washington's backcourt duo of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten proved nearly insurmountable and C.J. Wilcox hit two key treys in the second half to fully swing momentum as the Huskies pulled away. UW got 42 points in the paint and held a 14-5 advantage in turnover points as UA saw its five-game win streak end. Kyle Fogg combined for 19 rebounds.
WORTH NOTING: With just two games remaining in the first half of the Pac-12 slate, it's worth noting that Arizona's 12 non-conference opponents have a cumulative overall record of 143-87 (.622) as of Jan. 27, and have combined for a 60-24 (.714) record in conference play. In fact, six of those 12 opponents (Charleston Southern; Long Beach State; Southern Miss; Florida; Oral Roberts; Miami, Fla.) currently lead or are tied for the lead in their respective conferences.
SOLID EFFORT: Nick Johnson helped Arizona split a pair of games last week by averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, while shooting 63.0 percent (17-of-27) from the field and 75.0 percent (6-of-8) from the line to go with two assists. He equaled a career high against UCLA with 23 points, including a UA season-high with nine field goals made, while adding five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He followed that up with an efficient 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field to go with two blocks and two steals. On the year, Johnson averages 13.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game to go with a .475 FG percentage.
IF THE CATS WIN TONIGHT... it would mark the 10th time in program history that UA has started 18-2 or better through its first 20 games of the season. Since 1928-29 - the first time the Wildcats played more than 20 regular-season games - Arizona has posted a 19-1 record twice (1946-47, 1987-88) and an 18-2 record seven times (1928-29, 1931-32, 1942-43, 1949-50, 1988-89, 1992-93, 2002-03).
FEELS LIKE RAIN: Don't be surprised if rains Thursday, especially from three-point range, as the UA-UW contest features the Pac-12 Conference's top two three-point shooting teams (in terms of percentage), as the Huskies (119-of-322/.370) hold a two-point lead over the Wildcats (147-of-399/.368). The two teams combine to average 25 made field goals per game with 13.7 of those being three-point field goals (54.8 percent). Individually, both Arizona (Hill/Parrom) and Washington (Wilcox/Suggs) have two players ranked in the league's top 10 in three-point FG percentage.
LOW NUMBERS: The Wildcats held USC to UA opponent season-low totals of .281 shooting (18-of-64) and 50 points. It was the lowest opposing field goal percentage in a Pac-12 game since Feb. 4, 2012, when UA limited Stanford to .254 shooting (16-of-63) in a 56-43 UA win. It was also the third time this season that Arizona has held an opponent to 50 points with the last coming on Dec. 23 in a 69-50 win over Miami, Fla. Currently, UA opponents shoot 39.9 percent (421-of-1,054) from the field and 62.0 points per game.
TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: UA held a +5 advantage (11-16) in turnovers in Saturday's win and improved to 11-0 this season when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition. The Wildcats have a +1.0 turnover margin this season.
CONVERSION RATE: Arizona did a better job of converting offensive rebounds into points this week than the opposition, as UA posted a cumulative 40-18 advantage in second-chance points against UCLA and USC. Despite holding just a combined 40-38 edge in offensive rebounds, Arizona converted those opportunities into 22 more points over the weekend. On average, Arizona collects 2.9 more offensive rebounds per game and scores 6.7 more second chance points than the opposition.
COLLEGE BOARDS: Led by Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski, who pulled down seven boards apiece, Arizona outrebounded USC, 45-41, and has now outrebounded 15 of 19 opponents to date, including six of seven Pac-12 foes. Additionally, the Wildcats' 45 rebounds Saturday was its second-best effort of the season, topped only by its 46 rebounds vs. Miami, Fla., on Dec. 23. Arizona enjoys a +8.6 rebound margin overall and a +5.9 margin in Pac-12 games.
DECISIVE: The Wildcats jumped out to an 18-4 lead less than seven minutes into the USC contest. During that run, Arizona forced USC to miss 10 of its first 11 shots and into four turnovers in that span. Further, until the Trojans connected on five of its last six field goals and scored 10 points against UA's end-of-the-bench guys in the contest's last three minutes, UA's top-10 players limited USC to only 22.4 (13-of-58) percent shooting and 40 points to a club that had averaged 78.6 ppg in the three previous games under interim head coach Bob Cantu.
A STRONG PRESENCE: Freshman forward Brandon Ashley put forth a solid effort vs. the Southern California school last week, averaging 10.0 points, 7.5 points and 1.5 steals to go with a .500 (6-of-12) field goal percentage. The 6-foot-8 San Francisco, Calif., native knocked down a trey Saturday vs. USC and has now connected on all three three-point FG attempts this season. Through 19 games, Ashley averages 8.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to go with a .537 (51-of-95) field goal percentage.
SENIOR MOMENTS: Forward Solomon Hill continues to display the poise of a senior, as he averaged 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a pair of games last week. Thursday against the Bruins, Hill notched his first double-double of the season (13 pts./10 reb.) and added 13 points, five boards and four assists Saturday vs. the Trojans. The effort moved Hill into 30th place on Arizona's career scoring list with 1,219 points. On the year, Hill averages 13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
DOUBLE FIGURES: Center Kaleb Tarczewski posted his second career game in double figures with 10 points against USC to go with a game-high seven rebounds. The other came in the Pac-12 opener vs. Colorado. While the 7-footer from Claremont, N.H., continues to develop his offensive game, he continues to be a force on the boards as he shares the team lead with a 5.8 rebounds per game average and ranks second on the squad with 13 games with five or more rebounds.
A NICE CUSHION: The Cats held a 39-20 halftime lead Saturday, en route to the 74-50 win over USC. The 19-point halftime lead was UA's second largest of the season (21 vs. ETSU) and marked Arizona's first 20-point margin of victory in Pac-12 play this year. Additionally, the Cats are 11-1 this year when scoring 70 or more points.
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
18-4 run over 6:28 (1st) vs. USC, Jan. 26
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
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 tonight's contest, Arizona next will be in action on Saturday, Feb. 2, when travels to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST and can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.