Men's Basketball Game Notes

March 9, 2004

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Date: Thursday, March 11, 2004
Time: approx. 8:45 p.m. PST
Location: Staples Center (19,282), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: FSN (Steve Physioc/Marques Johnson)

Game Data: No. 21 Arizona (19-8, 11-7 Pac-10) heads to Los Angeles for the Pacific Life Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, March 11-13, at Staples Center ... The Wildcats, seeded third in the tournament, will face sixth-seeded USC (13-14, 8-10 Pac-10) in Thursday's quarterfinal ... In six previous Pac-10 Tournaments, Arizona was a No. 1 seed three times (1988, '89, 2003) and a No. 2 seed three times (1987, '90, 2002) ... UA and USC last met three times in a season in 2002.

The Rankings: Arizona rose to No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and to No. 16 in 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 286 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 710-247 (.742) and 518-155 (.770) at Arizona ... He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002 ... Olson recorded his 700th collegiate victory on Jan. 3, 2004, and became Arizona's career victories leader (510) on Jan. 17, 2004 ... He has the second-most Pac-10 wins (290) in history, trailing UCLA's John Wooden (304, 1949-75) ... Olson has the second-best conference winning percentage (.775/290-84) 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 307-32 (.906) in McKale Center and have won 235 of its last 252 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner ... Olson is 35-11 against USC and 12-2 in Pac-10 Tournament play.

Last Time Out: Chris Rodgers scored eight of his career-high 20 points in a key 20-2 run in the first half as the Wildcats rolled to a 106-81 win over the Sun Devils on March 7. Rodgers, one of four UA players to score 20 or more points, hit three field goals and added an assist in the span of 5:38 as Arizona turned a one-point lead into 19 with one minute remaining in the opening stanza. Arizona shot 54.2 percent from the field, marking the 14th time the team has shot better than 50 percent this season.

Scouting USC: The Trojans enter Thursday's game with a 13-14 record (8-10 Pac-10) following last Saturday's 63-60 road win over Oregon State. USC has proven to be the best Pac-10 tournament team in this second incarnation, as the squad has advanced to the championship game in each of the last two seasons. As a team, the Trojans shoot 43.5 percent from the floor (717-of-1647) and average 75.4 points per game, 3.4 points per game less than the opposition. Individually, three USC players average in double figures, led by Desmon Farmer's 20.0 points per game mark. Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Jeff McMillan leads the team with an 8.5 rebounds per game average.

The Series: Thursday's game marks the 83rd meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 49-33 series advantage. The Wildcats have won 10 of the last 13 meetings in the series, which dates back to 1922, but the teams split a pair of meetings this season the last of which was a 97-70 UA win in Tucson on Feb. 12. All-time, Arizona is 25-8 in series games played in Tucson, 22-25 in Los Angeles and 2-0 in neutral-site games. Arizona and USC have met twice in Pac-10 Tournament action (1990, 2002) and Arizona has won both meetings, the last coming in the 2002 championship game (81-71). See page 127 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 97, USC 70, Feb. 12, 2004: Arizona got its running game going and ran USC out of the building in a 97-70 decision in McKale Center. Arizona shot 67.9 percent from the floor in the second half and outscored the Trojans, 58-30, after the break. The Cats used a 23-5 run over 6:39 to break the game open in which six of the eight field goals inside it were either dunks or lay-ups. Six UA players finished in double figures, led by Salim Stoudamire's game-high 22 points.

Thrice is Nice: In case you were wondering, Arizona and USC have met at least three times in a season four times previously, most recently in 2001-02. It's also not coincidental that the last two occurrences have been spurred on by the Pac-10 Tournament (1990, 2002). Prior to those meetings however, the two teams did play each other four times (twice each on home courts) in a season back in 1922 and 1923. The squads spilt the four games in 1922 and UA swept the season series in 1923.

Pac-10 Tournament History: Arizona has a Pac-10-best 12-2 (.857) record as it enters its seventh conference postseason tournament. No other league school has as many wins (12) or tournament championships (4/1988, '89, '90, 2002) as do the Wildcats. Prior to last season's quarterfinal loss to UCLA, UA had won 12 consecutive Pac-10 Tournament games. Additionally, this season's No. 3 seed is the lowest for UA in tournament history.

Streaking: As Arizona heads to Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament, it does so looking for its 20th win of the season, which would mark the 17th consecutive year in which the Wildcats have won at least 20 games. UA's 16 straight seasons with 20 or more wins is the longest active streak in the country. The last time Arizona finished the regular season with less than 20 wins was 2001-02 when the Cats entered the Pac-10 Tournament with a 19-9 record. Led by tournament Most Outstanding Player Luke Walton, Arizona won three games to capture the title that season.

All-Conference: The Wildcats were well represented on the Pac-10's postseason honor roll, as six players were honored. Channing Frye and Andre Iguodala both earned all-conference accolades, while teammate Mustafa Shakur was an all-freshman selection. Hassan Adams and Salim Stoudamire received honorable mention all-conference kudos, while Ivan Radenovic was an honorable mention all-freshman pick.

In the Spotlight: Few players are performing as well down the stretch as Arizona's Salim Stoudamire. The 6-foot1 junior from Portland, Ore., is averaging 20.5 points and 3.1 assists in his last 10 appearances, while shooting 51.2 percent (65-of-127) from the floor and 47.5 percent (29-of-61) from three-point range. Stoudamire must also like the bright lights of the Staples Center, as he is averaging 15.6 points and shooting 56.3 percent from the field (18-of-32) in four career appearances in the facility.

Last Line of Defense: Channing Frye closed the regular season as the Pac-10's leader in blocked shots at 2.11 bpg. The junior also moved into a tie for third place on the UA career blocked shots list with 167. Only Anthony Cook (278/1985-89) and Loren Woods (186.1999-2001) stand ahead of Frye in the UA annals.

Answering the Call: Chris Rodgers led a balanced Arizona attack Sunday with a career-high 20 points, three assists and a steal in the Wildcats' 106-81 win over Arizona State. Rodgers, who was 8-of-10 from the field, scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half and proved to be the spark plug in a 20-2 UA run over 5:38 of the first half that broke the game open. In that run Rodgers scored eight points and added an assist as the Cats pushed a one-point lead to 19. The sophomore guard also connected on 3-of-4 three-point field goals en route to the first 20-point game of his career. On the year, Rodgers is averaging 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with a 43.0 (43-of-100) three-point field goal percentage.

League Leader: Arizona leads the Pac-10 conference with a .488 (861-of-1763) field goal percentage. The Wildcats have shot 50 percent or better from the floor 14 times in 2003-04, including 12 times in league play and in seven of its last nine games. The UA FG percentage actually rises to .502 (586-of-1168) in conference play, as four of Arizona's five starters shot better than 50 percent from the floor in the 18-game Pac-10 slate. Three Arizona players (Channing Frye, Hassan Adams, Mustafa Shakur) finished the regular season ranked in the league's field goal percentage top 10. No other school had more than one player listed. This season, Arizona is 17-2 when outshooting the opposition.

Always on the Run: Arizona used a 20-2 run over 5:38 in the first half Sunday to take control of the contest against Arizona State. It marked the seventh UA scoring run of more than 15 points this season. Here is a look at the list:
18 points - 20-2 run over 5:38 vs. Arizona State, March 7
18 points - 18-0 run over 4:44 vs. Oregon, Jan. 25
17 points - 21-4 run over 9:31 at Stanford, Feb. 7
17 points - 20-3 run over 5:31 vs. California, Jan 8
17 points - 21-4 run over 6:08 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Dec. 30
17 points - 21-4 run over 7:34 at Saint Louis, Dec. 6
16 points - 22-6 run over 7:04 at Arizona State, Jan. 3

Four Score: Arizona put five players in double figures Sunday vs. Arizona State. It marked the 10th time this season that UA has accomplished the feat. However, it was the first time that at least four Wildcats scored 20 or more points. Hassan Adams (21), Channing Frye (20), Salim Stoudamire (21) and Chris Rodgers (career-high 20) each topped the 20-point plateau. The quartet combined to shoot 63.6 percent (28-of-44) from the field in the regular-season finale.

Props For Andre: It's not like it went completely under the radar, but Andre Iguodala has turned in a remarkable sophomore season. The 6-foot-6 forward from Springfield, Ill., is the only Pac-10 player to be listed in the top 20 in scoring (T16th/12.7 ppg) and rebounding (3rd/8.8 rpg) and in the top 10 in assists (2nd/5.15 apg), steals (4th/1.63 spg) and assist:turnover ratio (4th/1.96). Furthermore, he has 10 double-doubles to his credit in 2003-04, and is just the second player in league history (California's Jason Kidd) to have three or more triple-doubles in a single season. Iguodala is on pace to be the first Arizona player ever to lead the team in rebounds, assists and steals in the same season.

What A Point Guard Should do: Freshman Mustafa Shakur tallied a career-high 11 assists in Sunday's win, marking the first double-figure assist effort of the point guard's career and the 16th time his has collected five or more assists in a game this year. All told, Shakur collected 11 assists vs. just one turnover in 28 minutes played. This season, Shakur is averaging 9.1 points and 4.6 assists per game, and Arizona is 14-2 when he has five or more assists.

In March: Since the start of the 1996-97 season, Arizona has a 37-12 (.755) record in the month of March.

Scoring 80: Perhaps no statistic is more telling of UA success, as the squad is 124-16 (.886) since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points. The Cats are 15-5 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: A win vaults the Wildcats into Friday's semifinal against the Washington/UCLA winner at 8:45 p.m. PST. A loss sends the team back to Tucson in anticipation of the NCAA Tournament selection announcement on Sunday, March 14.

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