Tune-in for U of A Men’s Basketball vs. Chico St. Tonite at 6:30pm MST on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX
Twelfth-ranked Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) hosts Chico State (0-0, 0-0 CCAA) in its final exhibition game prior to the start of the 2012-13 season Tuesday in McKale Center ... Chico State is an NCAA Division II school located in Chico, Calif. ... Last year, CSUC posted a school-record 25 victories and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament ... These teams share more than a nickname, as both were picked as the preseason favorite in their respective conference's preseason poll ... CSUC dropped a 66-60 exhibition decision to Pacific on Sunday.
THE RANKINGS: UA opens the 2012-13 season ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls, checking in at No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the coaches' poll. It marks the second straight year that the Wildcats open the year nationally ranked in both major college basketball polls.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH Sean Miller . . . begins his fourth season at the University of Arizona and his ninth overall as a college head coach with a record of 189-82 (.697) and 69-35 (.663) at Arizona ... In his eight-year career, Miller's teams have won 20 games six times and captured five regular-season or postseason tournament titles ... He guided UA to 30 wins and the 2011 Pac-10 regular-season championship in a run that culminated in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, earning Pac-10 Conference and NABC District 20 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Miller came to Tucson after five successful years at Xavier University, where he amassed four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances ... His clubs won the three Atlantic 10 regular season championships (2007-09) and the 2006 Atlantic 10 postseason tournament title ... During his time at XU, the Musketeers won better than 71 percent of their conference games, including an .813 winning percentage (39-9) in his last three seasons ... Miller has made 16 trips to the postseason in his 19 seasons as a head, assistant or associate head coach (9 NCAA/7 NIT) and has an 9-5 (.643) NCAA Tournament record as a head coach ... He took two Xavier teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (2008, 2009) with his 2008 club advancing to the West Regional final ... His 2007-08 team set a Xavier record for wins in a season with 30, helping him claim Atlantic 10 and NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year honors ... Since becoming a head coach, all 23 players to complete eligibility under Miller have earned their degrees ... MIller has recruited classes ranked in the top-10 nationally in each of the last two seaons ... He is assisted by James Whitford, Emanuel Richardson and Joe Pasternack.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona jumped out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back in a 108-67 exhibition win over Humboldt State on Oct. 31. Led by Kaleb Tarczewski's 18 points and 10 rebounds, Arizona shot 59.1 percent from the field and outrebounded the Lumberjacks, 46-26. The Wildcats connected on 75 percent of its field goals (24-of-32) in the second half and outscored HSU 62-32 in the period. Tarczewski, who was 7-of-9 from the field, led five Arizona players in double figures.
SCOUTING CHICO STATE: Coach Greg Clink returns four starters from last season's 25-8 club that won the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season championship. The Wildcats outscored opponents by 8.9 points per game in 2011-12. Senior guard Damario Sims, an all-CCAA and all-NCAA Division II West Region pick a year ago, led Chico State in scoring last year (11.2 ppg) and averaged 2.6 assists per game. Junior forward Amir Carraway ranked second on the team in scoring (10.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 rpg) in 2011-12.
THE SERIES: While Arizona and Chico State have not met officially, Arizona is 7-5 all-time against current California Collegiate Athletic Association members (2-0 vs. Cal Poly Pomona; 4-5 vs. Cal State Los Angeles; 1-0 vs. San Francisco State). The Wildcats defeated fellow CCAA member Humboldt State, 108-67, in an exhibition game on Halloween. Incidentally, Chico State and Humboldt State finished 1-2 in the final 2011-12 CCAA standings. For more information, please see page 51 in the UA media guide.
PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: According to media members who regularly cover the league, Arizona was picked to finish first in this season's Pac-12 Conference race (see poll on next page). The Cats received 403 points and 15 first-place votes, topping the rest of the league by one point. UCLA, California and Stanford rounded out the top-four spots in the poll. It's the first time since 2005-06 that Arizona was the preseason favorite and the Wildcats have been the preseason target a league-leading 12 times since the poll debuted in 1989-90.
TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Nine former University of Arizona men's basketball players were on active National Basketball Association rosters, as the league opened the 2012-13 season Oct. 30. According to rosters listed on the NBA official website as of Oct. 30, the list of players includes Jerryd Bayless (Memphis Grizzlies), Chase Budinger (Minnesota Timberwolves), Channing Frye (Phoenix Suns), Jordan Hill (Los Angeles Lakers), Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets), Richard Jefferson (Golden State Warriors), Jason Terry (Boston Celtics), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves). Arizona ranks ninth nationally in terms of active NBA player production, marking the 13th consecutive season in which at least eight former Wildcats have opened the season on active NBA rosters. In nine of those seasons the number was 10 or more.
BALANCED ATTACK: While it's still far too early to speculate on rotations and such, it's worth noting that 10 Wildcats saw action in Arizona's first exhibition game and each of those players logged 12 or more minutes played. The staters accumulated 117 minutes, while the reserves chipped in 83 minutes.
ON TARGET: Collectively, Arizona connected on 59.1 percent (39-of-66) of its field goal attempts vs. Humboldt State. Included in that effort was a spectacular 75.0 percent accuracy (24-of-32) in the second half. The Wildcat starters hit 24-of-45 (.533) attempts from the field, while the reserves knocked down 15-of-21 (.714) shots from the floor. Three of the six UA players to attempts five or more shots vs. Humboldt State connected on better than 50 percent from the field.
A GOOD RATIO: A quick look inside the numbers shows that Arizona's point guards - senior Mark Lyons and junior Jordin Mayes - managed nine assists against only three turnovers in 38 minutes of action. While the 3:1 ratio is nice and one exhibition game does not make a season, UA's point guards posted a 1.14:1 assist:turnover ratio last year.
IN DOUBLE FIGURES: Led by Nick Johnson, who collected a game-high five, Arizona tallied 10 steals in the Oct. 31 exhibition game. By comparison, the Wildcats tallied 10 steals in a game just four times last season and averaged 5.6 steals per game in 35 contests in 2011-12. Aside from Johnson's total, five other players, including three guards, each posted one steal.
ANOTHER POSITIVE: The Arizona defense forced Humboldt State into 20 turnovers in the Oct. 31 exhibition game. By comparison, the Wildcats forced an average of 11.9 turnovers per game in 2011-12, and managed to force that number just once last year. UA enjoyed a +6 turnover advantage vs. Humboldt State, which is a marked improvement over last season's -0.8 turnover margin last year.
MAKING ADJUSTMENTS: Freshman Kaleb Tarczewski posted a double-double in the win over Humboldt State with an efficient 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go with 10 rebounds (four offensive). What might have been most impressive was the fact that the 7-footer from Claremont, N.H., made some nice adjustments as the game went on, collecting 13 points in the second half, sinking 5-of-6 shots in the period. Of those five field goals, four were either lay-ups or points in the paint.
A GOOD RUN: Guard Mark Lyons made the most of his 21-minute appearance vs. Humboldt State, totaling 15 points, four boards, five assists and a steal. The 6-foot-1 senior from Schenectady, N.Y., knocked down 4-of-7 shots from three-point range. Eleven of his 15 points came in the first half.
ACROSS THE BOARD: Senior forward Solomon Hill put forth another stat sheet-filling performance with 15 points (6-of-7 FT), four rebounds, four assists and a steal in a game-high 27 minutes. A year ago, Hill was Arizona's leading rebounder (7.7 rpg) and second-leading scorer (12.9 ppg).
ON THE MARK: Guard Nick Johnson connected on 5-of-8 field goals en route to 12 points vs. Humboldt State. The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Gilbert, Ariz., has been on target to date in the preseason, knocking down 13-of-25 shots (.520) from the field, including 6-of-12 from behind the arc. Against Humboldt State, Johnson grabbed five boards and passed out four assists.
QUIETLY EFFECTIVE: Freshman forward Brandon Ashley registered 12 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes vs. Humboldt State. The 6-foot-8 native of Oakland, Calif., hit 5-of-8 field goals and pulled down seven defensive rebounds. Much like the rest of his teammates, Ashley did most of his damage in the second half, as eight of his points and five rebounds came in UA's 62-point period.
PERFECTION: Despite playing only 12 minutes, guard Gabe York put forth a spotless performance last Wednesday. The 6-foot-2 freshman from Orange, Calif., hit all three shots, including both three-point attempts, and added a rebound, two assists and a steal for good measure.
ALL ASPECTS COVERED: While his nine points and five rebounds might not raise eyebrows, freshman Grant Jerrett did his best to contribute in all areas. The 6-foot-10 forward from La Verne, Calif., hit 4-of-9 FG attempts, including a trey, collected five boards (one offensive), while adding three assists, a game-high three blocks and a steal.
WORTH MENTIONING: Senior forward Solomon Hill received preseason honorable mention All-America kudos from the Associated Press. The 6-foot-7 native of Los Angeles, Calif., who averaged 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 2011-12, was among those players to receive votes in preseason voting done by national media members.
CONFERENCE AFFILIATIONS: Arizona's total of nine alumni in the NBA helped the Pac-12 Conference tally 53 active NBA professionals, a figure that ranked third nationally among college conferences. Here is the breakdown by league: 1. Atlantic Coast, 60; 2. Southeastern, 55; 3. Pac-12, 53; 4. Big East, 47; 5. Big 12, 39; 6. Big Ten, 24.