ARIZONA PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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G: Games played. S: Number of starts.
BP: Bench points. A player gets three points if he is first off the bench, two if second and one if third. Shows Sean Miller’s rotation.
BEL: Productivity points against Belmont
BMIN: Minutes played against Belmont
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
TMIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)
NOTE: Player must average at least 10 minutes a game to be listed in primary rotation
Arizona, which beat No. 11 seed Belmont Thursday and faces No. 14 Harvard on Saturday, has played two double-digit seeds in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament five times previously.
One of those years included Arizona’s national championship run of 1997 and another involved the Wildcats’ appearance in the 2001 national championship.
The UA, seeded No. 4 in 1997, beat No. 13 South Alabama in the first round and followed that with a victory over No. 12 College of Charleston. The Wildcats played College of Charleston by virtue of the Cougars’ upset of fifth-seed Maryland in the first round.
Arizona, seeded No. 2 in 2001, defeated No. 15 Eastern Illinois in the first round before beating No. 10 Butler in the second round. Butler played the Wildcats after upsetting No. 7 seed Wake Forest in the first round.
The other years the Wildcats faced two double-digit seeds to start the tournament were 1991 (No. 15 St. Francis, Pa., and No. 10 BYU), 2002 (No. 14 Cal-Santa Barbara and No. 11 Wyoming) and 2005 (No. 14 Utah State and No. 11 Alabama-Birmingham). Arizona advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1991 and 2002 and reached the Elite Eight in 2005.
Arizona is actually 6-0 playing a double-digit seed in the second round. The Wildcats beat No. 13 seed Cleveland State in 2009 after defeating No. 5 seed Utah in the first round. UA coach Sean Miller is now 7-0 against lower-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament dating back to his Xavier tenure. The Wildcats look to extend both streaks against Harvard with what some of them called a chip on their shoulders after losing to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament.
Many pundits picked Belmont to upset Arizona although the Bruins were 0-5 in their five previous NCAA tournament appearances. Harvard won its first NCAA tournament game in school history with its 68-62 triumph over No. 4 New Mexico 68-62 Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
Belmont coach Rick Byrd went so far as to say that he is more impressed watching the Wildcats in person than what he saw on film before the game.
“I was more impressed with the team that I saw tonight than I was in scouting them,” Byrd said in the post-game press conference. “I thought they were more engaged and more focused, and I think if they play that way they can beat a lot of people.”
Miller responded: “I need to ask him what games he was watching. That will help me. I could see his point. You think, the one thing about our team that’s deceptive is we’re bigger and more physical than we get credit for.”
ARIZONA NCAA TOURNAMENT COVERAGE
— Arizona faces upset-minded Harvard in second round of NCAA tournament
— The opponent’s view: Arizona’s size too much for Belmont (TucsonCitizen.com)
— Arizona notes: On Pac-12 success, Hill’s technical, Obama’s upset pick (Anthony Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com)
— Full speed ahead: Arizona Wildcats attack and advance past Belmont in NCAAs (Gimino)
— UA-Belmont postgame: Proud day for Pac-12 (Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star)
The Wildcats played one of their most productive games of the season in many facets, most notably rebounding (44-18 edge) against a smaller Belmont team and shooting from the field (56.9 percent for the game, 67.9 percent in the second half).
UA freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-footer who took advantage of his size against Belmont, was the most efficient Wildcat with 21 productivity points in 20 minutes. (For definition of productivity points see glossary).
Tarczewski made all five of his field goal attempts, grabbed eight rebounds and scored 12 points. Senior guard Mark Lyons (27 productivity points in 34 minutes) and senior forward Kevin Parrom (26 productivity points in 30 minutes) also were major contributors.
“I said it all year long … it’s confidence, that’s the biggest thing he brings to this team, brings to me, a young player that has gone through some issues,” sophomore guard Nick Johnson said of Lyons. “So I mean, that’s my big brother and that’s the best thing.”
Lyons ended his personal frustration in opening round NCAA tournament games that he endured in his previous three seasons at Xavier. He made 8 of 15 field-goal attempts and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line in his 23-point performance against Belmont. Lyons was a combined 7 of 22 with 16 points in the previous three opening-round matchups against Minnesota, Marquette and Notre Dame while at Xavier.
“I’m very motivated, not just (with) Mark, but Solomon (Hill) and Kevin,” Miller told reporters. “Those guys mean a lot to us (and) to me because a long time ago, when we ventured out to Arizona, we needed people to believe in us without a lot of evidence.
ARIZONA’S 20-10 CLUB
PLAYERS WHO RANK IN TOP 20 CAREER SCORING/TOP 10 CAREER REBOUNDING
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Hill is eight points from No. 20 career scoring leader Joe Noels, who had 1,409 points from 1976-80. He is three rebounds shy of No. 10 career rebounding leader Jordan Hill (no relation), who produced 763 from 2006-09.
Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DRB%): Determined by dividing Arizona’s defensive rebounds (32 against Belmont) by the opposition’s offensive rebounds (the Bruins had only four) added to Arizona’s defensive rebounds (32) — 32/(4 + 32) = season-high 88.9 percent.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (ORB%): Determined by taking Arizona’s offensive rebound total (12) divided by that total (12) and the defensive rebounds of the opponent (14 for Belmont) — 12/(12 + 14) = 46.2 percent.
Ideal marks are 72 percent DRB% and 38 percent ORB%.
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Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner