Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats notebook: Will nearby trip to Los Angeles be fun this time around?



Arizona returns to the Los Angeles area once more for the right to move on to the Final Four …

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Random thoughts about Arizona vs. Xavier while wondering if Arizona can punch a ticket to the Final Four from southern California once again …

— Arizona is 10-8 overall in NCAA games at Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim. The Wildcats have survived out of Los Angeles twice, both times leading to Final Four appearances — 1988 at Pauley Pavilion in the first and second rounds and 1994 at the L.A. Sports Arena in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. The Wildcats have lost their lone game at the Staples Center, the Sweet 16 game against Ohio State two years ago. They lost in the Pac-12 tournament title games at Staples in 2011 and 2012. Everybody knows about Arizona’s woes coming out of Anaheim. Can they reverse all that in southern California this time around? …

— The officiating assignments for the First Four, Second Round and Third Rounds were predetermined. The list for the Sweet 16 round has yet to be released. Twenty of the Pac-12’s 28 referees were assigned to the first weekend of games last week. Tony Padilla worked the most games (three), including the First Four game between Dayton and Boise State. Twelve refereed multiple games. The only notable exclusion among the Pac-12 refs for the NCAA tourney is Bill Vinovich, who was the head referee in the Super Bowl in February.

Kaleb Tarczewski is only 22 points shy of joining the top 10 center scorers in Arizona hoops history. He has 912 career points. Junior Crum (1945-49) is at No. 10 with 940. If Tarczewski stays for his senior season, he could conceivably crack the top five and join the likes of Bob Elliott (2,131), Channing Frye (1,789), Anthony Cook (1,590) and Sean Rooks (1,497).

— Tarczewski already ranks in the Top 10 in number of games started at 105. He is No. 10. If he comes back next year, he can challenge Jason Gardner’s record of 135 starts between 1999-2003.

— Xavier senior post player Matt Stainbrook, a 2014-15 Big East second-team selection, has scored 1,464 points in his career.

— Xavier 6’10” sophomore forward Jalen Reynolds, who scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting vs. Georgia St. in the third round, was third in the Big East in field-goal percentage (62.0) and eighth in rebounding (6.9 a game). Reynolds joined the Musketeers in Los Angeles despite a school investigation into an undisclosed complaint from another Xavier student.


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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:

The list of “Cali kids” includes Stanley Johnson, Gabe York and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. …


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— More records data: Brandon Ashley is 30 points shy of cracking the Top 50 list of scorers in Arizona history. He has 954 points. Ed Stokes is No. 50 with 984.

— Arizona’s record in the Sweet 16 when seeded higher than the opponent is 6-2. The Wildcats have won five consecutive games in that scenario. Their defeats were to No. 4 UNLV when seeded No. 1 in 1989 and to No. 3 Seton Hall when seeded No. 2 in 1991. Arizona is seeded No. 2 and Xavier No. 6 heading into tomorrow’s game at the Staples Center.

— In three games against a high-quality opponent — Villanova — Xavier lost by scores of 88-75, 78-66 and 69-52. Expect Sean Miller and the scouting assistant to look over plenty of film of those games. In those losses, Xavier shot a combined 43.9 percent from the field and only 28.8 percent from three-point range. The Musketeers normally shoot 47.7 percent and 35.6 percent, respectively. In the end, Xavier is still dancing while Villanova is at home.

— Arizona goes from playing one of the best freshmen in the country — Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell — to playing the Big East’s Freshman of the Year, forward Trevon Blueitt. The 6’5 wing player from Indianapolis turned down UCLA for the opportunity to play for Xavier. He took an official visit to UCLA on Aug. 30, 2013. Blueitt was also recruited by Arizona, Butler, Indiana, Michigan and Purdue. He averages 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.

— Arizona’s rebounding margin of plus-9.2 is the best of Miller’s 11-year coaching career. His previous best was 8.3 in his last year with Xavier in 2008-09.

— Aside from Miller’s past affiliation with Xavier as its head coach, assistant Book Richardson came with Miller from there in 2009 as did former assistant James Whitford. The possibility existed that Miller would have brought current head coach Chris Mack with him too if Xavier hired somebody externally. Arizona director of basketball operations Ryan Reynolds also came with Miller from Xavier. He earned his bachelor’s in sports management and a business minor in 2007. He earned his Master’s in sport administration from Xavier in 2008.


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[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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