Men's Basketball Game Notes

Nov. 25, 2003

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Date: Friday, Nov. 28, 2003
Time: 9 p.m. EST
Location: Springfield Civic Center (6,800), Springfield, Mass.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Pete Solomon/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN2 (Dan Shulman/Dick Vitale)

Game Data: Fourth-ranked Arizona (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) heads to the birthplace of basketball for the 25th annual MassMutual Classic Friday vs. No. 8 Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC) in Springfield, Mass. ... It is the Wildcats' third appearance in the Classic, hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and its third ever visit to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ... At 2,204 miles, this road trip is UA's longest of the season ... Arizona's 107 points in the season opener vs. Northern Arizona marked the 50th time the club has accomplished the feat in the Lute Olson era.

The Rankings: Arizona currently is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. With its No. 4 ranking to start the season, it marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that Arizona opened a year ranked in the nation's top 10. UA has been ranked in 271 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . is in his 21st season at Arizona and his 31st overall as a college head coach with a career record of 692-239 (.743) and 500-147 (.773) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 500th victory at Arizona on Nov. 24, 2003, and has the second-most Pac-10 wins (279) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... He has the second-best conference winning percentage (.784/279-77) and second-most league championships won (10) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles) ... During his 21-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 10 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, '89, '90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 19 years, 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 seven times (1986, '88, '89, '93, '94, '98, 2003), 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 16 years (429-101/.809) ... In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 46 NBA Draft picks, including 27 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 295-30 (.908) in McKale Center and have won 223 of its last 238 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 1-0 against Florida.

Last Time Out: Five Arizona players finished in double figures to lead the Wildcats to a 107-73 win over Northern Arizona Monday in its season opener and give Lute Olson his 500th win as the UA head coach. The Lumberjacks scored the game's first basket and the Cats answered with the next 13 points and only let the lead dip below 10 points once over the game's final 45 minutes. Channing Frye led all scorers with 20 points, while Isaiah Fox posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Scouting Florida: Eighth-ranked Florida enters Friday's game with a 1-0 record after defeating Montana State, 112-73, on Tuesday. The Gators return three starters and 10 lettermen from last season's 25-8 club that finished second in the Southeastern Conference. Last season, the Gators shot 47.6 percent from the floor (883-of-1856) and 39.0 percent from three-point range (287-of-735) in averaging 75.3 points per game. All told, Florida returns 61.6 percent of the 2002-03 points scored, led by sophomore Anthony Roberson's 12.3 ppg average.

The Series: Tonight's game marks the second meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 1-0 series advantage. Arizona won the only previous meeting, 75-71, on Nov. 9, 2001, in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-0 in Gainesville and 1-0 in neutral-site meetings. See page 125 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 75, Florida 71, Nov. 9, 2001. Jason Gardner earned tournament MVP honors with his 23-point, five-assist effort in leading Arizona to the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic championship courtesy of a 75-71 win over fifth-ranked Florida. Gardner's leadership was key once again, as he assisted on UA's final three baskets, all by Rick Anderson, including the clincher, a driving layup with 26.1 seconds to go. Freshman Will Bynum joined Gardner on the all-tournament team after scoring 16 points and adding two rebounds.

Against the SEC: Arizona has a 12-20 (.375) all-time record against the current makeup of the Southeastern Conference. The last time Arizona played an SEC foe other than Florida came in a 66-65 loss at Louisiana State on Dec. 21, 2002.

Select Company: In his third appearance in the MassMutual Classic, Lute Olson joins a select list of college coaches. Olson becomes one of only three active Hall of Fame members to lead his team in this Hall of Fame-hosted event. Only Ray Meyer (DePaul, 1980), Dean Smith (North Carolina, 1987, 1996) and Bob Knight (Indiana, 1991, 1999) coached in the Classic after their enshrinement. Four other Hall of Famers also participated in the event (Denny Crum, Louisville; Lou Carnesecca, St. John's; Mike Krzyzewski, Duke; and John Thompson, Georgetown), but did so prior to being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Classic History: 2003 marks the third time the Cats have participated in the MassMutual Classic and both times proved fruitful for Arizona. In 1989, Sean Rooks earned Most Outstanding Player honors in leading UA to an 82-75 win over Michigan. In 1996, M.O.P. Michael Dickerson led the Wildcats to an 83-72 win over North Carolina. Four months after that game on Nov. 22, 1996, Arizona won the national championship.

Success in November: Fast starts have become the norm for Arizona under Lute Olson. Over the past 20 years, Arizona is 46-7 (.868) in the month of November.

Against Ranked Opponents: Florida checks in as Arizona's first nationally-ranked opponent of the season. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, Arizona is 18-8 (.692) against ranked opponents, including a 6-2 mark on neutral courts.

Fast Starts: For the first time in 29 seasons and the just the second time in school history, Arizona opened consecutive seasons with 100-point games. When Monday's 107-73 win over Northern Arizona is linked with last season's 107-68 defeat of Western Kentucky, it marks the first time since the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons that Arizona had topped the century mark in consecutive openers. Under coach Fred Snowden, Arizona defeated Illinois, 101-80, in 1973-74 and Northern Illinois, 103-85, in 1974-75.

A Quick Look at the Numbers: Several numbers jumped out of Monday's boxscore with most of those occupying the rare statistical accomplishments category. Arizona took 91 field goal attempts vs. NAU, the highest total since March 2, 1995, when the club tallied 98 in a 114-111 double overtime win at Washington State. The Cats grabbed 62 rebounds, the highest total since grabbing the same number in a 116-80 win over Arizona State on Feb. 18, 1993. Included in the rebound totals were 27 offensive boards, the best effort since collecting 27 in a 105-97 loss to Kansas on Dec. 1, 2001. Arizona also collected 12 blocked shots, its highest total since swatting 16 shots in a 77-71 win over Oregon on Feb. 3, 2000.

A Point Guard Comparison: Freshman Mustafa Shakur certainly held his own in his collegiate debut. The 6-foot-3 point guard from Philadelphia hit 5-of-7 FGs en route to 14 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and a steal in 27 minutes on Monday. Here is a look at how Shakur's debut compares to other UA point guards of note:

Player    	Date    	Result  	Min.	FG	3FG	FT	Reb.	Pts.	A	TO	Stl	BlkShakur  	11/24/03	W, 107-73	27	5-7	2-2	2-2	5	14	4	3	0	1Gardner 	11/16/99	W, 88-69	32	5-9	2-4	2-2	1	14	9	3	0	3Bibby   	11/22/96	W, 83-73	33	8-13	4-8	2-2	2	22	5	2	1	3Terry   	11/15/95	W, 91-57	12	0-1	0-0	1-2	1	1	3	1	0	2D. Stoudamire	11/29/91	W, 84-68	21	0-3	0-0	0-0	2	0	0	2	0	0Kerr    	11/25/83	W, 72-65	18	3-5		0-2	0       6	0	2	0	0

Answering the Call: It was hoped that forward Isaiah Fox could increase his productivity playing out of the four spot this season. And while one game does not make a season, it does give some hope. Fox collected his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The junior from Santa Monica, Calif., connected on 7-of-9 shots from the floor in 22 minutes, while eight of his 11 rebounds came on the offensive end.

Nice Balance: After answering questions during the preseason about the team's general lack of depth, the Cats looked like a very balanced bunch in Monday's win. All 12 players saw action in the 107-73 victory with eight of those players earning at least 14 minutes of action. Additionally, 11 players scored, eight grabbed at least four rebounds, five finished in double-figure points and five had three or more assists.

Making His Case: After playing alongside Luke Walton last season, sophomore Andre Iguodala seems to have stepped into the role of Arizona's resident boxscore filler. In 25 minutes of action during Monday's season opener, the 6-foot-6 native of Springfield, Ill., hit 5-of-9 shots from the floor to finish with 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, passed out three assists and collected a team-high four steals

Showing Some Offensive Skills: After spending most of last season building his reputation as a defensive standout, sophomore Chris Rodgers has displayed solid offensive contributions to date in 2003-04. He averaged 13.0 points and 4.5 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the floor in the exhibition games and stayed close to that in Monday's opener with 14 points (5-of-12 FG) and three assists to go with a career-best five boards.

Hello Old Friend: Wildcat basketball fans will have the pleasure of listening to an old friend as former Tucson broadcaster Pete Solomon will handle the play-by-play duties during Friday's game. Due to a scheduling conflict with the Arizona at Arizona State football game, 'Voice of the Wildcats' Brian Jeffries is unavailable. Solomon handled UA play-by-play duties on both radio (KCEE) and television (KGUN) during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Player of the Year Candidates: A pair of Wildcats were named to two preseason player-of-the-year watch lists as Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye were included on the 50-man John R. Wooden Award list and the 30-man Naismith Award list. It is the fourth consecutive season that Arizona has had at least two preseason player-of-the-year candidates.

Tops in the Pac-10: In the annual poll of media members who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, Arizona was selected as the team to beat for the league title. The Cats received 26 of a possible 35 first-place votes and 339 points overall. Stanford (321), California (238) and Oregon (215) rounded out the top four places. It is the ninth time since 1989-90 that UA has been the predicted winner in the preseason poll.

Talent Pool: With the 2003-04 NBA season underway, no fewer than 10 former Wildcats are on active NBA rosters. Only two other schools (Kentucky and North Carolina with 12) have more players in the league. Here is the complete list: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards; Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings; Ben Davis, Houston Rockets; Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets; Chris Mills, Boston Celtics; Sean Rooks, New Orleans Hornets; Damon Stoudamire, Portland TrailBlazers; Jason Terry, Atlanta Hawks; Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers; and Loren Woods, Miami Heat.

A Public Service Announcement: Lute Olson and the National Beer Wholesalers Association unveiled a radio public service announcement Tuesday which encourages those under the age of 21 not to drink alcohol illegally and those 21 or older to drink responsibly. The PSA will be distributed to radio stations throughout Arizona.

Up Next: Arizona plays its first true road game of the season on Saturday, Dec. 6, when it takes on Saint Louis. Tip-off from St. Louis, Mo., is scheduled for Noon CST and can be seen on ESPN2. Following that contest the Cats remain on the road to face Texas, Dec. 9, at the Jimmy V Classic in New York City.

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