Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats’ free-throw percentage same as 1996-97 NCAA title team

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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
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)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

UCLA 75, ARIZONA 71
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS

Player Pos PP MIN PR
*Nick Johnson SG 25 39 .641
*Kaleb Tarczewski C 22 36 .611
Gabe York SG 12 20 .600
*Aaron Gordon PF 17 37 .459
*T.J. McConnell PG 11 32 .344
*Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 9 28 .321
LESS THAN 10 MIN
Elliott Pitts SG 3 5 .600
Jordin Mayes PG 0 3 .000
TOTAL TEAM 99 200 .495

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My colleague and friend Anthony Gimino, a longtime Tucson sports journalist, noticed last night that Arizona’s free-throw shooting percentage is 65.5 percent.

“Did you know that’s the same as the championship team in 1996-97?” he asked.

Mike Bibby was one miss away from shooting below 70 percent from the free throw line in 1996-97

Mike Bibby was one miss away from shooting below 70 percent from the free throw line in Arizona’s championship season of 1996-97

Get out. No way. That team had Michael Dickerson, Mike Bibby and Miles Simon, all of whom defined grace under pressure. Those guys could shoot with their eyes closed.

I covered that team for The Arizona Daily Star. I must admit that I do not recall a free-throw percentage of only 65.5 percent. I had to Google it. Sure enough, Arizona’s percentage from the line in 1996-97 was exactly 65.5 percent in the Wildcats’ 34 games (Arizona finished 25-9 that season).

Arizona’s game total to this point: 34 games.

The Wildcats made 598 out of 913 attempts from the line in 1996-97. They are 520 of 794 this season.

Dickerson, Simon, Bibby and Jason Terry combined to make 377 out of 524 attempts, a respectable (but still questionable) 71.9 percent. None of them eclipsed 80 percent despite being solid shooters. Simon led the team shooting 75.4 percent. Bibby, believe it or not, was one miss from finishing below 70 percent. He made 89 of 127 attempts, good for 70.1 percent.

The free-throw shooting percentage from the rest of the team in 1996-97: 56.8 percent.

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TOP FIVE ARIZONA REBOUNDING TEAMS

Margin Team Avg Opp Games
19.3 1950-51 59.5 40.2 30
9.7 1976-77 46.7 37.0 27
8.5 2013-14 38.9 30.4 34
8.3 1975-76 47.2 38.9 33
8.1 1998-99 41.7 33.6 29

Similar to Arizona this season, the Wildcats made up for their free-throw shooting deficiencies 17 years ago in other areas. The most obvious was ball movement and creating fast break opportunities off of steals. The Wildcats had two players with at least 150 assists — Bibby with a team-high 178 and Terry with 150. The Wildcats also had 358 steals in 1996-97 (Arizona has 200 this season), which fueled their transition offense.

Arizona averaged 83.8 points a game in its title season. The Wildcats average 73.1 this season.

The Wildcats are highly efficient with their defense and rebounding this season.

Opponents are averaging only 58.1 points a game and shooting 38.1 percent from the field. Arizona has limited opponents to a percentage of only 31.4 from three-point range.

Arizona is outrebounding opponents by an average margin of 8.5 a game, which ranks as the third-best in school history.

In 1996-97, opponents averaged 73.3 points a game and shot 43.6 percent from the field. Opponents made only 32.8 percent from three-point range, similar to Arizona’s defensive effort beyond the arc this season.

Arizona outrebounded opponents by an average margin of 2.3 a game 17 years ago.

Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski are the only Wildcats this year shooting better than 70 percent from the free-throw line. Johnson leads the team at 76.9 percent, followed by Tarczewski (75.8) and Ashley (75.7). This is one area in which the Wildcats miss Ashley, who could draw fouls playing inside banging for rebounds and trying to shoot over defenders near the hoop.

The mystery this season: Guards T.J. McConnell and Gabe York combining to shoot only 66.3 percent from the line. They have each tried 43 free throws. McConnell has made 27 and York 30. McConnell made 83.6 percent of his free throws as a sophomore at Duquesne in 2011-12.

Aaron Gordon is making only 43.5 percent of his free throws, but he has a history of problems at the line.

Playing for Team USA in the Under-16 World Championship three years ago he made only 3 of 16 free-throw attempts (18.8 percent). Last year for the Under-19 team Gordon made 9 of 17 free throw attempts (52.9 percent).

Gordon makes up for the deficiency in other areas with his defense and rebounding (7.8 a game) and ability in the open court. He had eight assists with only one turnover in 37 minutes against UCLA yesterday.

As is the case with every team every year, you must take the good with the bad. The problem with the “bad” in Arizona’s case is that missed free throws are magnified in close games, such as the loss to the Bruins.

The 1996-97 team overcame the deficiency by going all the way for the title. Arizona will try to take what they can at the free-throw line and go from there starting most likely Friday in the NCAA tournament.

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PAC-12 RPI (ESPN.com)

RPI Team D1 W-L SOS 1-50
2 Arizona 30-4 5 11-3
14 UCLA 26-8 16 8-5
27 Oregon 23-9 18 4-6
32 Colorado 23-11 15 5-8
40 Stanford 21-12 19 5-9
44 Arizona St. 21-11 58 4-7
61 California 19-13 42 4-10
81 Utah 19-11 104 4-8
101 Washington 17-15 61 4-7
103 Oregon St. 16-15 71 4-7
171 USC 10-21 41 2-12
219 Washington St. 9-21 67 1-11

ARIZONA OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY RATING

Player Pos G S PP MIN PR
Nick Johnson SG 34 34 757 1104 .686
Brandon Ashley PF 22 22 371 609 .609
Aaron Gordon SF 34 34 639 1052 .607
Kaleb Tarczewski C 32 31 541 909 .595
R. Hollis-Jefferson SF 34 6 493 851 .579
T.J. McConnell PG 34 34 527 1084 .486
Gabe York SG 34 8 277 717 .386
AVG 5-9.9 MIN
Jordin Mayes PG 30 1 41 167 .246
Elliott Pitts SG 20 0 35 176 .199
AVG 1-4.9 MIN
Chris Johnson PF 4 0 5 6 .833
Jacob Hazzard PG 12 0 21 28 .750
Matt Korcheck PF 20 0 47 90 .522
Erik Conklin F 7 0 6 17 .353
Trey Mason SG 10 0 7 22 .318
Drew Mellon F 6 0 2 12 .167
Zach Peters C 10 0 -6 29 -.207
TOTAL TEAM 3682 6875 .536

ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:

Name (Year) G S PP MIN PR
Derrick Williams (2011) 38 38 1190 1141 1.043
Sean Elliott (1989) 33 33 1128 1125 1.003
Chris Mills (1993) 28 28 838 870 .963
Sean Elliott (1988) 38 38 1167 1249 .934
D. Stoudamire (1995) 30 30 964 1092 .883
Mike Bibby (1998) 35 35 905 1124 .805
Jason Terry (1999) 29 29 877 1107 .792
Nick Johnson (2014) 34 34 757 1104 .686

NICK JOHNSON CAREER POINTS RANKING

Rank Player Years Points
25 Mustafa Shakur 2004-07 1318
26 Ivan Radenovic 2004-07 1300
27 Nic Wise 2007-10) 1285
28 Nick Johnson 2011-14 1267
29 Link Richmond 1944-49 1246
30 Derrick Williams 2009-11 1227

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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS

Date Opponent Results TeamPR Productivity Leader Pos PP MIN PR
March 15 UCLA 75-71 (L) .495 Nick Johnson SG 25 39 .641
March 14 Colorado 63-43 (W) .505 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 23 28 .821
March 13 Utah 71-39 (W) .565 Nick Johnson SG 23 26 .885
March 8 @Oregon 64-57 (L) .380 Aaron Gordon PF 28 33 .848
March 5 @Oregon St. 74-69 (W) .470 Nick Johnson SG 35 33 1.061
March 2 Stanford 79-66 (W) .605 Aaron Gordon SF 39 32 1.219
Feb. 27 California 87-59 (W) .730 Nick Johnson SG 38 31 1.226
Feb. 22 @Colorado 88-61 (W) .720 Aaron Gordon PF 35 27 1.296
Feb. 19 @Utah 67-63 OT (W) .391 Gabe York SG 20 36 .556
Feb. 14 @ASU 69-66 2OT (L) .356 Kaleb Tarczewski C 22 45 .489
Feb. 9 Oregon St. 76-54 (W) .575 T.J. McConnell PG 25 30 .833
Feb. 6 Oregon 67-65 (W) .455 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 31 34 .912
Feb. 1 @California 60-58 (L) .430 Kaleb Tarczewski C 34 35 .971
Jan. 29 @Stanford 60-57 (W) .400 Nick Johnson SG 24 33 .727
Jan. 26 Utah 65-56 (W) .435 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 16 24 .667
Jan. 23 Colorado 69-57 (W) .525 Brandon Ashley PF 24 31 .774
Jan. 16 ASU 91-68 (W) .675 Nick Johnson SG 23 27 .852
Jan. 12 @USC 73-53 (W) .520 Brandon Ashley PF 28 31 .903
Jan. 9 @UCLA 79-75 (W) .570 Gabe York SG 16 18 .889
Jan. 4 Washington 71-62 (W) .580 Nick Johnson SG 34 36 .944
Jan. 2 Washington St. 60-25 (W) .510 Kaleb Tarczewski C 20 22 .909
Dec. 23 NAU 77-44 (W) .660 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 30 27 1.111
Dec. 19 Southern 69-43 (W) .535 Aaron Gordon SF 28 29 .966
Dec. 14 @Michigan 72-70 (W) .530 Kaleb Tarczewski C 23 26 .885
Dec. 11 N.M. State 74-48 (W) .555 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 22 23 .957
Dec. 7 UNLV 63-58 (W) .450 T.J. McConnell PG 29 35 .829
Dec. 3 Texas Tech 79-58 (W) .570 Brandon Ashley PF 32 28 1.143
Nov. 29 Duke 72-66 (W) .590 Kaleb Tarczewski C 21 28 .750
Nov. 27 Drexel 66-62 (W) .505 Nick Johnson SG 31 36 .861
Nov. 19 Rhode Island 87-59 (W) .685 Nick Johnson SG 39 26 1.500
Nov. 18 Fairleigh Dickinson 100-50 (W) .890 Nick Johnson SG 30 20 1.500
Nov. 14 @San Diego State 69-60 (W) .490 Nick Johnson SG 29 31 .935
Nov. 11 Long Beach State 91-57 (W) .790 Brandon Ashley PF 28 21 1.333
Nov. 8 Cal Poly 73-62 (W) .565 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 20 21 .952

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.



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