Men's Basketball Game Notes

Nov. 22, 2003

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Date: Monday, Nov. 24, 2003
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

Game Data: Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) opens its centennial season of basketball by hosting intrastate rival Northern Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) Monday in McKale Center ... Northern Arizona appears on the UA schedule in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1989-90 ... It marks the second consecutive season in which the Wildcats have opened at home, but just the third time in the last six seasons after also debuting in Albuquerque (1999), Maui (2001) and New York City (2002) ... Olson begins his third decade in Tucson and shoots for his 500th victory on the UA sideline.

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 ... Olson is 10-0 against NAU.

Last Time Out: All five Arizona starters finished in double figures Thursday as the Wildcats defeated Team Nike, 116-91, in the team's final exhibition game. Sophomore Andre Iguodala scored a game-high 23 points and added twelve rebounds and eight assists to lead the UA charge. The Wildcats shot 58.8 percent from the floor (47-of-80), forced 18 turnovers and collected 11 steals. A 19-9 UA run to open the second half put the game out of reach.

Scouting Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks return eight lettermen and four starters from last season's 15-13 club that finished fifth in the Big Sky Conference. NAU opened the 2003-04 campaign Friday with a 77-60 win over Cal State Fullerton. Last season, the 'Jacks shot 45.8 percent from the floor (737-of-1609) and 38.7 percent from three-point range (227-of-586) in averaging 72.8 points per game. NAU's four returning starters combined to average 41.4 points and 17.0 rebounds per game last year. Coach Mike Adras has never had a losing season in four years at NAU.

The Series: Tonight's game marks the 114th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 86-27 series advantage. Arizona has won the last 20 meetings in the series, which dates back to Feb. 10, 1919, including a 101-66 win last season in Tucson on Nov. 27 in the last series meeting. The last NAU win came Dec. 14, 1968, in a 76-73 decision in Flagstaff. All-time, Arizona is 57-5 in series meetings played in Tucson, 29-21 in Flagstaff and 0-1 in neutral-site meetings. See page 125 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 101, Northern Arizona 66, Nov. 26, 2002. Arizona used a 17-2 run to open the second half en route to a 35-point win over Northern Arizona. UA connected on 23-of-41 (.561) attempts after the break, led by Jason Gardner, who was 6-of-6 in the stanza. Gardner scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as the Cats outscored the 'Jacks, 57-27, in the final 20 minutes and top the 100-point barrier for the second consecutive game.

Against the Big Sky: Bolstered by 113 meetings with NAU, Arizona has a 95-32 (.748) all-time record against the current makeup of the Big Sky Conference. The last time Arizona played a Big Sky opponent other than NAU came in an 84-66 win in Tucson over Montana on Dec. 5, 1995.

Half Century: In what could be the first of a handful of personal milestones for Lute Olson this season, a win vs. the Lumberjacks would be his 500th as the Arizona head coach. Entering the season, Olson's 499 career wins at the U of A trails only legendary Wildcat mentor Fred A. Enke's 509 career wins in the school's basketball record book. The 500th win would also place Olson in some select company as only five other UA head coaches in any sport have amassed 500 wins at Arizona (J.F. 'Pop' McKale, Frank Sancet, Enke, Jerry Kindall and Mike Candrea).

Olson's Milestone Wins at Arizona

No.	Date	        Result100	3/3/1988	79-41 vs. Washington St.UA shoots 73.6 % from the field; Anthony Cook leads with 15

200 1/9/1992 107-68 vs. USCSean Rooks, Wayne Womack, Damon Stoudamire each tally double-doubles

300 12/28/1996 88-44 vs. Texas A&MMichael Dickerson scores 26 in Fiesta Bowl Classic win

400 12/1/1999 88-62 vs. Brigham YoungRick Anderson tallies career-high 16pts./7 reb. in reserve

For Openers: Arizona has a record of 75-20 (.789) in season openers (results are unavailable for four seasons), including a 17-3 (.850) mark under Lute Olson. The Wildcats are 57-12 at home, 10-8 on the road and 8-0 in neutral site games.

Off on the Right Foot: Fast starts have become the norm for Arizona under Lute Olson. Over the past 20 years, Arizona is 45-7 (.865) in the month of November.

Up Tempo: With as much athletic ability as the Wildcats have, it's no surprise that the Wildcats want to get up and down the court quickly. Through the exhibition season, that has certainly been the case. In those two contests, Arizona has averaged 112.5 points and outscored the opposition by an average of 34 points per game. The Wildcats have scored 50 or more points in three of four halves in the preseason.

Up Tempo II: As Olson mentioned in last week's press conference, it's difficult to stop a fast breaking team when you don't make shots. The Wildcats have done a good job of limiting the opposition's looks. Sydney and Team Nike combined to shoot 38.7 percent from the field (60-of-155), including 32.6 percent (14-of-43) from three-point range.

Steal Away: In another positive indicator, Arizona has forced an average of 19.5 turnovers in its two exhibitions, six fewer than it commits. Furthermore, UA has collected 23 steals and holds a 66-45 advantage on the defensive glass.

Playing Unselfishly: Mustafa Shakur (16) and Andre Iguodala (15) have combined for 31 of the team's 57 assists in the preseason. All told, 57 of Arizona's 87 field goals (65.5 percent) in the two exhibitions have come via an assist. Perhaps most impressively, Shakur and Iguodala have combined for just seven turnovers (4.4 assist:tunrover ratio) in 118 minutes played.

Straight Shooters: Maybe it's just good ball movement or unselfish play, but whatever the reason Arizona has shot the ball extremely well in its two exhibition victories. UA has connected on 87-of-158 field goal attempts, good for a 55.1 percentage, including 50.0 (19-of-38) from three-point range. All told, Arizona has shot better than 56 percent in three of four halves to date. Against Team Nike, the Cats were one make shy of shooting 60 percent for the game. Eight of 12 players on the UA roster shot 50 percent or better in the preseason.

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.

It won't be long until it's Three: If sophomore forward Andre keeps playing as he has in the preseason, it won't be long until he joins the list of players to watch. The 6-foot-7 Springfield, Ill., product averaged 21.0 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the exhibition schedule. He led the team in minutes played (63) and shot 59.3 percent from the floor (16-of-27) and 50.0 (5-of-10) from three-point range.

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's averaged 13.0 points and 4.5 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the floor. In Thursday's win over Team Nike, Rodgers amassed 15 points, six assists, three steals and no turnovers in 26 minutes played. Not that he forgot about defense either - he led UA with five steals in the preseason.

Not Your Average Forward: Arizona's reliance on its athletic perimeter players has put 6-foot-4 Hassan Adams in an interesting position: power forward. Yes, the 201-pound native of Los Angeles has been battling down on the blocks - and doing quite well. He shot 72.0 percent (18-of-25) from the floor and averaged 5.0 rebounds, while ranking second on the squad with a 20.0 ppg average.

Steady: While various others were making strong impressions in the preseason, junior Channing Frye was up to his old tricks...just being consistent. The 6-foot-10 center averaged a respectable 17.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, while shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the floor.

Stepping In: With each passing appearance, freshman Mustafa Shakur grows more comfortable in the point guard role. After hitting just 3-of-7 field goal attempts against the Sydney Comets, Shakur was 8-of-10 Thursday vs. Team Nike, including 3-of-3 from three-point range. One thing did remain consistent. Shakur passed out eight assists (against two turnovers) in both exhibition games.

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 heads to Springfield, Mass., for the MassMutual Classic on Friday, Nov. 28. The Wildcats will take on eighth-ranked Florida in the 25th annual event hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST and can be seen live on ESPN2.

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