RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | ARIZONA INSIDER
RECORD: - REGION: West SEED: 1|
COACH: Lute Olson CONFERENCE: Pac-12
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
No team in America can match the depth of athletes at Lute
Olson's disposal. The Wildcats have experienced seniors in Luke Walton,
Ricky Anderson and Jason Gardner. They also have tremendous size and athleticism in
Channing Frye, Andre Iguodala and Hassan Adams. Arizona scores most of its
points in transition and off of the offensive glass. They are most
vulnerable when kept to a halfcourt game. The key to a title run could be
Salim Stoudamire, a lefty guard that can really shoot the ball. The Wildcats are not a great perimeter shooting team, but if Stoudamire hits
shots, Arizona is a clear favorite to reach New Orleans.
|Player to Watch|
Senior point guard has played for title before, and should play for it again on April 7 as leader of the 'Cats.
How They Got Here
The Wildcats won a 10th Pac-10 title under head coach
Lute Olson, spent a majority of the season ranked No. 1 and never fell below
No. 4, facts attributed to some of the nation's best depth.
Arizona impressed most on the road, where it had a key 17-point win at Kansas (after
trailing by 20 early) and was perfect in conference play. Finding any true stumbles during the season is difficult, considering Arizona played without
Luke Walton in a one-point loss at LSU, and a home defeat to Stanford came
against another Pac-10 contender. Arizona is the just the third team to go
unbeaten on the road in league since the Pac-10 expanded to 10 teams in
A first-round loss, however, in the Pac-10 tournament to UCLA raised some eyebrows, but not many concerns. The Wildcats were already a lock to be seeded No. 1 in the West.
An early injury to sophomore Salim Stoudamire and the season-long
aches of Walton didn't bother Arizona as it would others. That's because of
such a talented bench, of players like freshmen Hassan Adams and Andre
Iguodala and emerging sophomore Channing Frye. But this top seed is Jason Gardner's
team, and the senior point guard answered the challenge all season. Rick
Anderson also supplied needed senior leadership.
In a time when jumping to the NBA early is more common in college basketball than cheerleaders and bands, it is the experience of players like Gardner, Walton and Anderson that could eventually win the Wildcats a title in New Orleans.
What We Like
So many versatile bodies. Five players have consistently averaged double figures in scoring for Arizona and only Gardner averages over 30 minutes. Wave after wave they come, all with athleticism and an ability to make plays.
The more impressive numbers are often hidden at the defensive end, where Arizona creates momentum-shifting runs by pressing opponents into countless mistakes. Close games become blowouts in a matter of minutes.
The Wildcats were the best offensive team in conference play, something helped by Arizona leading the league in offensive rebounds. This team is a second-chance machine.
What We Don't Like
Walton's fragile physique. Arizona is so much better with him on the court, but three separate ankle sprains and a pulled foot muscle this season suggests a big question mark every trip down the floor.
At times, the forward showed flashes of the All-American skill everyone expected this season, but he was also limited in practice for much of the conference schedule. A healthy and productive Walton could help lead the Wildcats to a national championship, but one who can't shake the rust of an up-down-season and whose shot is off during March could hinder the team's chances.