Nov. 20, 2002
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002 Time: 7:30 p.m. MST Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz. Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls) TV: None
Game Data: With the regular season just three days away, Arizona faces its final test of the preseason tonight against Team Nike ... Expect some fine-tuning of the UA lineup tonight, as the projected starters should get some quality time together and other combinations will be worked on ... Offense hasn't been a problem, as the Wildcats tallied 117 points in its first exhibition outing, but the defense could use some tightening up as it allowed 95 points to the EA Sports All-Stars on Nov. 12.
The Rankings: UA opens the 2002-03 campaign as the nation's top-ranked team in the both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Arizona has opened the season as the nation's No. 1 team in two of the past three years and been ranked in 253 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 20th season at Arizona and his 30th overall as a college head coach with a career record of 663-235 (.738) and 471-143 (.767) 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 fourth most Pac-10 wins (262) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75), Oregon State's Slats Gill (276, 1929-64) and Washington's Hec Edmundson (266, 1921-47) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74) ... During his 19-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 15 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 24 overall in his career, making him one of only five head coaches in NCAA history to record 24 or more 20-win seasons... Under Olson, the Cats are 280-29 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 208 of its last 222 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner.
Last Time Out: Five UA players finished in double figures as the Wildcats raced to the 117-95 win over the EA Sports All-Stars on Nov. 12. Led by freshman Hassan Adams, Arizona shot 53.8 percent from the field (43-of-80), including 12-of-23 from three point range. Adams tallied an efficient 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting in just 23 minutes of action. Jason Gardner and Channing Frye added 20 and 19 points apiece, while Rick Anderson grabbed a game-high 12 boards. All told, UA outrebounded EA Sports, 52-33.
Scouting Team Nike: Team Nike is just 1-9 on its current tour of some of the nation's top programs, but four of the games have been decided 10 points or less. The team's lone win came on Nov. 9 in a 106-104 decision at Rutgers. Team Nike was defeated last night by Iowa, 79-57. Team Nike is averaging 66.2 points per game, while allowing 78.4. Sharpshooting guard Dave Ferguson (Saint Louis) is averaging 16.0 points per game on the tour.
Last Meeting: Arizona 89, Nike Elite 83, Nov. 25, 2001. Jason Gardner scored 22 points and Channing Frye added 21 as No. 8 Arizona beat Nike Elite 89-83 in an exhibition game. The Wildcats, who opened their season with three consecutive victories over ranked teams, trailed 47-44 at halftime and 51-46 early in the second half before rallying. Frye had eight points in an 11-0 run and Gardner started a 12-2 spurt with a 3-pointer and a layup. Arizona led 69-58 with 11:41 to play and coasted from there as Salim Stoudamire finished with 12 points and Rick Anderson 10.
Tops in the Pac-10: The Wildcats were a unanimous favorite to win the 2002-03 Pacific-10 Conference championship, according to the league's preseason poll of media. Arizona received all 27 first place votes and 270 points to top the poll. Oregon (237), UCLA (195), Arizona State (160) and California (154) rounded out the top five places. It is the eighth time since 1989-90 that Arizona has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.
Back in Action: Senior forward Luke Walton returns to the lineup tonight after sitting out last week nursing a right ankle sprain. Sophomore teammate Salim Stoudamire is scheduled to return to practice Nov. 21 while rehabbing a left ankle sprain.
First the Good: Arizona certainly did a number of things well in last week's exhibition win. As mentioned above, the squad shot 53.8 percent from the floor and 52.2 percent from three-point range, posted a 52-33 rebound advantage and collected 24 assists and 16 steals. To top it off, no player saw more than 33 minutes.
Now the Bad: As is always the case, there are a few things that need to be improved. The Cats allowed 95 points and turned it over 25 times, while EA Sports shot 44 percent from the floor and hit 15 treys.
Forward Roll: Perhaps the most impressive Wildcat in the preseason has been senior Rick Anderson. In two early November appearances, the product of Long Beach, Calif., has scored 34 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and passed out eight assists. He is also shooting 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the field.
A Quiet 27: Though it may be hard to do, freshman Hassan Adams tallied a very quite 27 points against the EA Sports All-Stars. Adams hit 11-of-15 shots, including 3-of-5 from three-point range en route to team-high honors. He also added three boards, a block and a steal in 23 minutes.
Bench Production: Playing time has been a popular topic of discussion in the preseason, it should be noted that Arizona's five bench players logged a total of 77 minutes vs. the EA Sports All-Stars. The quintet hit 12-of-22 shots (.545), grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 38 points.
Free Throws: The absence of Salim Stoudamire from the lineup didn't hurt Arizona's accuracy from the line on Nov. 12. The squad combined to hit 19-of-22 attempts (.864), led by Channing Frye's 9-of-9 effort.
Preseason Accolades: The senior combination of Luke Walton and Jason Gardner have wrapped up a few preseason accolades. In addition to both being included on the Naismith and Wooden preseason player-of-the-year award watch lists, both were named first team preseason All-Americans by the Associated Press. Gardner was also selected the preseason player of the year by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, while Walton earned similar honors from collegeinsider.com.
Up Next: Arizona opens its 98th season of intercollegiate basketball on Saturday, Nov. 23 against 20th-ranked Western Kentucky. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 2 p.m. MST. The game will be televised by KWBA-TV.