Men's Basketball Game Notes

Dec. 8, 2003

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Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2003
Time: approx. 9 p.m. EST
Location: Madison Square Garden (19,763), New York, N.Y.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman/Dick Vitale)

Game Data: Seventh-ranked Arizona (2-1, 0-0 Pac-10) hopes to continue its winning ways Tuesday vs. No. 8 Texas (4-0, 0-0 Big 12) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden ... It is UA's second game against a ranked opponent this year ... Some interesting game themes: how will UA's now seven-man rotation match up against Texas' depth? ... How will UA's quick lineup fare against the Texas sizeable front line? ... Arizona hasn't been 2-2 to start a season since 1992-93 and that club finished 24-4.

The Rankings: Arizona slipped to No. 7 in the Dec. 1 Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll after last week's action. 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 272 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 693-240 (.743) and 501-148 (.772) 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 7-0 against Texas.

Last Time Out: Salim Stoudamire (15) and Chris Rodgers (7) combined for 22 second half points as Arizona erased an eight-point halftime lead and earned a 68-67 win Saturday at Saint Louis. The duo connected on 5-of-9 treys and 7-of-8 free throws after the break to spark an 18-4 run in the second half in which the Billikens went scoreless for more than three minutes. Arizona turned 24 SLU fouls into a 20-10 free throw advantage, including 15-1 in the second half.

Scouting Texas: The Longhorns enter Tuesday's game with a 4-0 after a 103-72 win Dec. 4 vs. Wofford. As a team, Texas shoots nearly 50 percent from the floor (.498), posts a +20 rebound advantage and outscores the opposition by an average of 38.8 points per game. Only one UT opponent (Wofford) has managed to shoot 40 percent against the 'Horns (.406). Individually, 10 players see at least 13 minutes with seven of those averaging 9.0 points or better. Brandon Mouton leads the club with a 16.5 ppg scoring average, while James Thomas chips in with averages of 9.0 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

The Series: Tuesday's game marks the 10th meeting of the two schools with Arizona holding a 7-2 series advantage. Texas won the first two series meetings (in 1949 and 1971), but UA rebounded to win the next seven, including a 73-70 victory last season on Dec. 15 in Tucson. All-time, Arizona is 4-0 in series games played in Tucson, 3-0 in Austin and 0-2 in neutral-site meetings. See page 126 in the UA media guide for more series information.

Last Meeting: Arizona 73, Texas 70, Dec. 15, 2002. Jason Gardner scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, including six in the final two minutes to lead Arizona to the three-point win. Gardner hit two key jumpers in the last two minutes to break a 65-65 tie. The senior also added a career-high eight rebounds and seven assists in the effort. Rebounding proved to be key, as UA outrebounded Texas, 46-41, including 24-17 in the second half. Isaiah Fox added 11 points and eight boards to help the cause.

Stepping Up: In his lone appearance last week, Andre Iguodala posted his first career double-double in leading the Wildcats to a 68-67 win at Saint Louis. The sophomore forward tallied 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds to go with five assists in a career-best 38 minutes. He was 5-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-6 from three-point range, as Arizona erased an eight-point halftime deficit. For Iguodala, whose 13 rebounds was an Arizona season high, it was his second consecutive game with at least 10 rebounds. Through three games this season, Iguodala is averaging 13.3 points and team-leading totals of 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

Special Events: Since the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona is 16-5 (.762) in these early-season tournaments or neutral-site 'classic' matchups.

We Like It Here: Arizona heads into Tuesday's game with Texas at New York's Madison Square Garden riding an impressive streak. The Lute Olson led Wildcats are 8-0 in games played at 'The World's Most Famous Arena.' That streak includes three Preseason N.I.T. championships (1990, 1995, 1999) and the 2001 Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic title. In its history, Arizona is 9-5 in games played at MSG, including three appearances in the postseason N.I.T. (1946, 1950, 1951). All told, UA is 9-1 in regular season games played at Madison Square Garden.

Against Ranked Opponents: The Wildcats will face two nationally ranked opponents this week in No. 8 Texas on Tuesday and No. 24 Marquette on Saturday. Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Arizona is 26-13 (.667) against ranked opponents, including an 0-1 mark this season (Florida). Arizona was 8-1 against nationally ranked opponents last season.

On the Boards: In its first three games, UA has done a fine job on the boards as the team, averaging 52.3 rebounds per game. Arizona has outrebounded each of its opponents by a +12.3 average margin. UA outrebounded Saint Louis, 41-33, on Saturday, which was its lowest rebound margin to date this season. At least one UA player has collected at least 10 rebounds in each game in 2003-04.

Tight Games: Arizona's one-point win Saturday improved the team's record to 1-1 in games decided by five points or less this season. Over the last three seasons, Arizona is 12-8 (.600) in games decided by five points or less.

Lesson Learned: A week after missing the front end of a one-and-one against Florida that could have made Florida's last-second heroics a bit more difficult, junior Salim Stoudamire proved to be better this time around. Faced with the same prospect Saturday at Saint Louis with 11 seconds remaining, Stoudamire sank both charity tosses in what was eventually a one-point win. Incidentally, Stoudamire was a spotless 6-of-6 from the line last Saturday.

Strength in Numbers: UA's starting front line of Channing Frye, Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala has certainly been productive. The trio combines to average 39.0 points and 26.3 rebounds, while adding 20 blocks and 14 steals. The group has connected on 44-of-104 (.423) field goal attempts this season.

Accepting Charity: Arizona has capitalized from the free throw line early this season, connecting on 46-of-60 (.767) charity attempts. Arizona held a 20-10 free throw advantage in Saturday's win. On the season, five of Arizona's seven healthy regulars are shooting 75 percent or better from the free throw stripe.

In December: Arizona is 112-36 (.757) under Lute Olson in the month of December, including a 72-19 (.791) mark since the 1990-91 campaign.

Area of Improvement: UA's field goal percentage was a cause for concern entering the season, and after three games it still needs attention. Arizona is shooting 41.7 percent from the field (93-of-223), including 31.3 percent (20-of-64) from three-point range. Aside from Channing Frye and Mustafa Shakur, who have combined to connect on 30-of-56 FG attempts (.536), the rest of the team is shooting 37.7 percent (63-of-167) from the floor.

From Long Range: Bolstered by the long-range shooting of Salim Stoudamire and Chris Rodgers, Arizona posted its best three-point shooting day of the season, connecting on 8-of-20 (.400) attempts. Stoudamire (3-of-6) and Rodgers (2-of-2) hit 5-of-7 (.714) of their attempts from behind the arc. The performance was a welcome sight from Stoudamire, who was shooting 11.8 percent (2-of-17) entering Saturday's contest. Rodgers, meanwhile, has picked up the slack by hitting 8-of-15 (.533) long-range attempts to date. All told, Rodgers' eight treys this season is already twice as many as he made in all of 2002-03.

Chipping In: Despite his early-season shooting woes, Salim Stoudamire continues to contribute in other ways. While his scoring average remains constant at 12.0 ppg (his career average is 12.9 ppg), both his rebounding and assists have jumped in 2003-04. To date, Stoudamire averages 4.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, each of which is more than double his career average (1.9 rpg and 1.4 apg) entering the year.

Worth Noting: Junior center Channing Frye enters Tuesday's game on the cusp of a career milestone. His next rebound will be the 500th of his career. The 6-foot-11 Phoenix, Ariz., product has 499 rebounds in 69 career appearances, which is good for a 7.2 rebounds per game average.

On the Run: In what had seemingly become commonplace in recent years, Arizona's big scoring run made its first true appearance of the season Saturday vs. the Billikens. Arizona used an 18-4 run midway through the second half to come from behind and take control of the game. At one stretch of the run, UA held SLU scoreless for more than three minutes and limited the Billikens to just 29 second-half points.

Roster Moves: Junior forward Isaiah Fox had surgery on his left knee Dec. 2 and is expected to be out for three to four months. Shortly thereafter, Ryan O'Hara, a 6-foot-6, 198-pound forward from Pasadena, Calif., was added to the Wildcat roster. The freshman, who will see most of his action with the scout team in practice, is also a quarterback on the UA football team. He completed 33-of-78 passes for 341 yards and two TDs in five appearances in 2003.

Sharing the Ball: The Cats continue to do a nice job of collecting assists, as 62.3 percent of the team's field goals this season have been scored courtesy of an assist. Additionally, UA has a positive assist:turnover ratio (58:47) on the year and five of the players on the roster have positive individual ratios, led by Andre Iguodala's 16:5 mark.

Small Ball: At one point in Saturday's game the UA lineup on the floor consisted of Hassan Adams (6-4), Andre Iguodala (6-6), Chris Rodgers (6-4), Mustafa Shakur (6-3) and Salim Stoudamire (6-1). That quintet averages about 6-foot-3 as a group.

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: After logging 4,500 miles of travel in the last two weeks, Arizona returns home to McKale Center for the rest of December. First up on the schedule is a contest with No. 24 Marquette on Saturday, Dec. 13. That game will tip-off at 2 p.m. MST and can be seen nationally on Fox Sports Net.

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