Men's Basketball Game Notes

Nov. 20, 2003

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Game Data: Arizona hits the hardwood for the second of two exhibition games to open the 2003-04 schedule Thursday against Team Nike ... Eight lettermen return from last season's 28-4 club that won the Pac-10 championship and advanced to the NCAA West Regional final ... Expect a much more competitive game this evening as Team Nike's seven previous games have been decided by an average of 9.4 points per game ... Counting tonight's game, Arizona will play three games in the next eight days ... The Wildcats open the regular season against Northern Arizona on Nov. 24.

The Rankings: Arizona opens the 2003-04 season ranked No. 4 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. With its No. 4 ranking to start the season, it marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that Arizona will open a year ranked in the nation's top 10. UA has been ranked in 270 consecutive AP polls released during the regular season only.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson . . . begins his 21st season at Arizona and his 31st overall as a college head coach with a career record of 691-239 (.743) and 499-147 (.772) 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 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 20-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 294-30 (.907) in McKale Center and have won 222 of its last 237 home games ... He is assisted by Jim Rosborough, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner.

Last Time Out: Seven Wildcats finished in double figures in a 109-66 win Nov. 12 against the Sydney Comets. Bolstered by 57 percent shooting in the first half, Arizona jumped out to a 16-point lead nine minutes into the contest and never looked back. UA shot 51.3 percent for the game, outrebounded Sydney 60-41 and forced 21 turnovers and led by as many as 56 points in the game. Hassan Adams led all scorers with an efficient 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting.

Scouting Team Nike: Tonight's game is the final game of an eight-game tour of U.S. colleges by Team Nike. Currently, the squad has a 2-5 record, including wins over Lehigh (84-80) and Penn State (90-78). The team has also played games against Connecticut (78-96), Syracuse (82-94), Marquette (77-86), Michigan State (81-85) and Stanford (78-117). Jeff Boschee (Kansas), the only player to score in double figures in all seven games, leads Team Nike with a 16.4 points per game average during the tour, while Lionel Armstead (West Virginia) chips in with a 14.6 ppg average. Justin Tatum (Saint Louis) leads the team with a 7.9 rebounds per game average.

No Strangers to McKale: Perhaps its starts with Team Nike coach Glenn Sergent, but several members of Team Nike have made previous visits to McKale Center. According to Sergent, his clubs (Marathon Oil, Nike Elite, Team Nike) have been a part of the UA exhibition schedule in 19 of the last 20 seasons in Tucson (except Nov. 1999), and he's brought forward Daryl Cunningham on each of his last four visits to McKale (counting tonight). Three other members of the team made trips to McKale Center during their collegiate careers and posted a cumulative 2-2 record. Jeff Boshee was a part of the Kansas team that defeated Arizona, 105-97, on Dec. 1, 2001, while Wayland White helped New Mexico down the Cats, 70-68, on Dec. 21, 1999. Former West Virginia standout Lionel Armstead was 0-2 in McKale during the 2001 Fiesta Bowl Classic, as WVU lost to Valparaiso (76-57) and Pepperdine (97-65).

Points Aplenty: In racing to 109 points in last Wednesday's exhibition win over the Sydney Comets, seven players finished in double figures. The Cats hadn't accomplished that feat since a 107-68 win over Western Kentucky to open the 2002-03 regular season. As was the case in both games, Hassan Adams led Arizona with 22 points. He was 9-of-12 from the floor against WKU and 10-of-12 vs. Sydney.

Solid Shooting: One of the questions Arizona needs to answer in the preseason is just how good of a shooting team will it be. If the early indicators prove correct, the answer will be very good. When combining the shooting from the Pepsi Red-Blue Game and the Nov. 12 contest with the Sydney Kings, Arizona has shot 52.1 percent from the floor (124-of-238). Five UA players are shooting 50 percent or better in the preseason, led by Hassan Adams (.769) and Andre Iguodala (.629).

Playing Unselfishly: Led by Mustafa Shakur's game-high eight assists, Arizona tallied 27 assists in last Wednesday's win over Sydney, including three players with four or more (Iguodala 7, Stoudamire 4). Of the Wildcats' 40 field goals in the game, 68 percent came via an assist from a teammate.

Getting Better: Freshman Kirk Walters continues to improve, according to the head coach, 'Kirk gets better every day.' In 25 minutes vs. Sydney, the 6-foot-10 Walters tallied 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

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 opens its 100th season basketball on Monday, Nov. 24, as the squad hosts Northern Arizona. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST and will be televised live in the Tucson area on Fox Sports Net Arizona.

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