Men's Basketball Game Notes

Jan. 1, 2004

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Date: Saturday, Jan. 3, 2004
Time: 1:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins/Dan Belluomini)

Game Data: Fourth-ranked Arizona (8-1, 0-0 Pac-10) opens its 26th season of Pacific-10 Conference play Saturday at Arizona State (6-3, 0-0 Pac-10) ... It is the third consecutive year in which the Wildcats have opened league play away from home ... Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978-79, UA is 17-8 in conference openers and 13-6 under Lute Olson ... In that span, UA is 8-7 when opening league play on the road, 7-6 under Olson ... Over the past 20 years, Arizona has a Pac-10-best 121-59 (.672) record in conference road games.

The Rankings: Arizona jumped one spot to No. 4 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll after last week's action. The Cats opened the season ranked No. 4 in both major college basketball polls. UA has been ranked in 276 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 699-240 (.744) and 507-148 (.774) 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 300-30 (.909) in McKale Center and have won 228 of its last 243 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner... Olson is 35-7 against Arizona State.

Last Time Out: Andre Iguodala hit a trey with 10 seconds remaining to lift Arizona to the Fiesta Bowl Classic championship, 72-69, on Tuesday. The visiting Ragin' Cajuns hit Arizona with more than a few solid punches, most notably, a 15-1 run to open the second half, and held the lead as late as the 2:18 mark (67-66) before Iguodala spearheaded a 6-2 run that provided the Cats with the eventual margin of victory. The effort helped Iguodala earn Most Valuable Player honors.

Scouting Arizona State: The Sun Devils enter Saturday's game with a 6-3 record following Tuesday's 81-76 loss to Western Michigan in Tempe. As a team, ASU shoots 44.6 percent from the floor (221-of-496), outrebounds the opposition by a +5.6 margin and averages 76.2 points per game (7.0 points better than the opposition). Individually, two Sun Devils average in double figures, headed by Ike Diogu's Pac-10-leading 24.3 ppg average, and eight players see more than 10 minutes per game. Diogu also leads the club with an 8.8 rebounds per game mark.

The Series: Saturday's game marks the 204th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 130-73 series advantage. UA has won 16 of the last 17 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1914, including a 92-72 win in Tempe on Feb. 22, 2003, in the last encounter. All-time, Arizona is 73-25 in series games played in Tucson, 56-48 in Tempe and 1-0 in neutral-site games. See page 125 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 92, Arizona State 72, Feb. 22, 2003: In front of the fourth-largest crowd in Arizona State history, the top-ranked Wildcats methodically controlled tempo throughout to earn the 20-point victory. UA outscored ASU, 12-4 to close the first half and opened the second with a 12-1 run to turn a tie game into a 19-point lead. Each player in the Arizona starting frontline notched a double-double and the trio combined for 65 points and 32 boards. UA shot a season-best 57.4 percent from the floor.

A Win Today: An Arizona victory today would be the 700th for Lute Olson as a college head coach. In 30-plus seasons on the NCAA Division I level, Olson has a 699-240 (.744) record. He currently ranks fourth among active Division I coaches with those 699 wins and would be the 19th coach in NCAA history (all divisions) to reach the 700-victory plateau.

The Next Stage: The Wildcats are 7-1 in its last eight trips to Wells Fargo Arena, dating back to 1996. In that span, the average margin of victory for either team is 9.75 points with three of the games decided by two points or less. Interestingly though, the last three contests (UA leads 2-1) have not been close with the average margin of victory being 22 points.

What More Can he Do?: With each passing game, sophomore Andre Iguodala seemingly accomplishes the unexpected. To date this season, he's already registered two triple-doubles, collected five double-figure rebound games, and against Louisiana-Lafayette Tuesday, he hit the game-winning three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to earn Fiesta Bowl Classic Most Valuable Player honors. In the Dec. 29 Pac-10 release, the 6-foot-6 forward from Springfield, Ill., leads the conference in rebounding, assists, assist:turnover ratio and defensive rebounds. Iguodala also ranks 18th in scoring and 10th in steals. His 20 points in Tuesday's win was the first of his career.

Winning the Close Ones: The Wildcats' three-point win on Tuesday improved the team's record to 2-1 in games decided by five points or less. Over the last three seasons, Arizona is 13-8 in games decided by five points or less.

In Control: One of the keys to victory Tuesday was Arizona's 49-32 rebound advantage to mark the seventh time in nine games that UA has out-boarded the opposition. The +17 advantage on the glass was the second-biggest margin of the season (+18 vs. Northern Arizona). Both Hassan Adams (14) and Chris Rodgers (7) registered career rebounding highs vs. ULL, while Adams' tally was the highest total for a Wildcat this season.

Joins the Act: One of the positives of the 2003-04 Arizona Wildcats was the team's athletic ability and interchangeability of its position players. Not to be outdone by the perimeter guys, center Channing Frye connected on his first career three-point field goal (he has two career attempts) in Tuesday's win. Frye is the ninth player on the roster to drain at least one trey this season.

Seamless: The results may lead you to believe differently, but newcomer Ivan Radenovic's play belies the fact that he has been with the program for less than two weeks. In his two appearances, the 6-foot-10 freshman from Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, is averaging 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He's 3-of-6 from three-point range and 10 of his 16 rebounds have come on the offensive glass.

Clamping Down: Arizona used a bit of stingy defense to help the team to victory on Tuesday, as the club held Louisiana-Lafayette to just 38.2 percent shooting (26-of-68), its third-worst effort of the season. The Wildcats managed to get off to a good start in the game by limiting ULL to just a .364 field goal percentage in the first half. It marked the fourth time this year that Arizona has held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting.

Just Good Enough: Hampered by 29.0 percent (9-of-31) shooting from three-point range, Arizona managed only a 41.9 field goal percentage Tuesday night. When combined with its defensive effort, it was just good enough to continue an early-season trend. This season, Arizona is 7-0 when shooting better than the opposition.

Blocked Shots: Bolstered by four blocked shots on Tuesday, Channing Frye continues to lead the Pac-10 with a 3.33 blocked shots per game average. The Phoenix native has four or more blocks in a game four times this season, including two five-block games. On the season, Arizona has out-blocked the opposition, 64-13, in 2003-04.

Offensive Rebounds: The duo of Hassan Adams (7) and Ivan Radenovic (6) grabbed as many offensive rebounds as the entire Ragin' Cajun squad in Tuesday's win and helped Arizona to a 20-13 offensive rebound advantage. Arizona (as of Dec. 29) leads the Pac-10 with 15.00 offensive rebounds per game, while three players (Adams, Iguodala, Frye) are ranked in the league's individual top 10. The 20 offensive rebounds corralled on Tuesday was the team's third-highest total of the season.

Not So Good: Arizona has displayed a proclivity for the turnover this season, as witnessed by its season-high 23 turnovers on Tuesday. Through nine games, Arizona averages 17.0 turnovers per game (nearly two more than the opposition), the highest figure in the Lute Olson era. The Wildcats have turned the ball over at least 20 times in three games this year, including the last two.

Staking His Claim: Freshman Mustafa Shakur is expected to return to the starting lineup Saturday. The 6-foot-3 point guard tallied six points, five assists and a season-best two steals in 27 minutes on Tuesday. Over his last five games, the Philadelphia native is averaging 7.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists, while shooting 51.6 percent (16-of-31) from the floor. He's passed out five or more assists in five of his last six games.

Bounce Back: Junior Salim Stoudamire went scoreless for only the second time of his career Tuesday (March 6, 2003 vs. Oregon State), as he went 0-of-6 from the floor. If history is a guide, expect a strong rebound from Stoudamire on Saturday. In the last six times that Stoudamire has been held to less than 10 points, he has rebounded in the very next game to average 18 points. In those six contests, he shot 50.7 percent from the floor (35-of-69), including 52.6 percent (20-of-38) from three-point range.

From the Line: Arizona continues to do a good job of getting to the free throw line, and more importantly, converting those attempts. The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 with a 75.7 (156-of-206) free throw percentage. On the year, Arizona has enjoyed a scoring advantage from the line in eight of nine games (Florida) and has made more free throws (156) than the opposition has attempted (133).

Game of the Year: It seems as though every news gathering organization has compiled its 'Best of 2003' lists, and Arizona's 96-95 double overtime win over Gonzaga on March 22 seems to be earning more than a casual mention. Sports Illustrated called the contest its College Basketball Game of the Year, while ESPN ranked the game No. 7 on SportsCenter's Top 10 Games-of-the-Year list, which covered all sports. It was the only men's college basketball game to make the list.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 89-8 (.918) since the start of the 1988-89 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 6-0 this 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. Daniel Dillon (G, 6-4, 190) from Hampton, Victoria, Australia, and North Laurel High School in London, Ky.; Jawann McClellan (G, 6-5, 202) from Houston, Texas, Charles H. Milby High School; and Mohamed Tangara (F, 6-9, 230) from Mali, West Africa, and Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., will join the squad next fall.

Up Next: The Wildcats return home for a pair of Pac-10 games next week. UA hosts California on Thursday, Jan. 8. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST on Fox Sports Net Arizona. Following that contest, The Cats host Stanford on Jan. 10.

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