Arizona Basketball

Notebook: Arizona Wildcats at California




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Greg Byrne congratulates Sean Miller on his 100th win at Arizona two seasons ago (YouTube video capture)

Greg Byrne congratulates Sean Miller on his 100th win as Arizona’s coach two seasons ago. Miller goes for his 300th career victory tonight. (YouTube video capture)


WIN NO. 1: Xavier over Oakland, 69-58, Nov. 19, 2004, Cintas Center, Cincinnati.

WIN NO. 50: Xavier over Fordham, 71-56, Jan. 11, 2007, Rose Hill Gym, The Bronx, N.Y.

WIN NO. 100: Xavier over Auburn, 81-74, Dec. 3, 2008, Cintas Center, Cincinnati

WIN NO. 150: Arizona over Stanford, 67-57, Jan. 9, 2011, McKale Center, Tucson

WIN NO. 200: Arizona over Miami, 69-50, Dec. 23, 2012, Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu

WIN NO. 250: Arizona over Mount St. Mary’s, 78-55, Nov. 14, 2014, McKale Center, Tucson

— By the time Lute Olson earned his 300th career win, he was starting his 15th season as a head coach. He achieved that mark in Arizona’s season-opening win over New Mexico in the 1988-89 season, the season after the Wildcats made their first Final Four appearance and were upset by the Lobos at The Pit as the No. 1-ranked team. Harvey Mason Jr., father of Arizona walk-on guard Trey Mason, scored a career-high 20 points in that game. Arizona will attempt to give Sean Miller, in his 12th season, his 300th career win tonight at California. Mike Krzyzewski also achieved his 300th victory in his 15th season like Olson. Krzyzewski was only 43 while Miller is 47. Olson was 54 by the time he reached his 300th win. …

— More Harvey Mason: Three players whose dads were on Arizona’s Final Four roster of 1987-88 will be at Haas tonight: Cal’s Kameron Rooks (Sean Rooks) and Nick Kerr (Steve Kerr) and Trey Mason. Nick Kerr and Trey Mason are walk-ons. Kameron Rooks is on scholarship as a 7-foot redshirt sophomore. … With Golden State off until Monday night’s showdown at home against San Antonio, expect a large gathering of former Arizona players at Haas tonight, including Steve Kerr (likely to stay neutral with his clothing because his son will be on Cal’s bench), Luke Walton, Bruce Fraser and Andre Iguodala. …

— Cal coach Cuonzo Martin made the statement, “We are ready to rumble,” when addressing the Golden Bears’ game with the Wildcats tonight. “They’re obviously a really good team, very talented,” Martin said of Arizona. “We are ready to rumble.” Them are fighting words to ardent Arizona followers but I can’t fault him for saying that. Expect a physical, relentless effort from Cal tonight as the Golden Bears try to embody the demeanor of Martin, who rarely smiles and is all business. …

— This is the first matchup of Arizona against former coveted recruit Ivan Rabb, who chose hometown Cal over Arizona coming out of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School. The 6’11” and 220-pound freshman is averaging an impressive 12.7 and 8.9 rebounds a game. Had he decided on Arizona, Rabb would be challenged for minutes against senior Ryan Anderson and sophomore post backup Dusan Ristic. He would not be averaging the 27.2 minutes a game that he is getting now with Cal. He would probably be around 20 to 22 minutes a game at Arizona. The argument for Miller and the Wildcats in this scenario: Rabb would be going against better talent each day in practice and improving at a faster rate than he might be at Cal. Justifying Rabb’s choice the best is that he wanted to stay close to his mom, he owns a restaurant close to the Cal campus. Can’t fault him at all for that. …

— The freshman tandem of Jaylen Brown and Rabb is averaging 27.6 points and 14.3 rebounds a game. Brown is particularly aggressive, going to the free-throw line 116 times, but he’s made only 74 of them for a percentage of 63.8. Something to keep an eye on: Cal is shooting only 66.3 percent from the free-throw line as a team. Arizona is at 71.6 percent. …

Kaleb Tarczewski is having by far his best season despite missing eight games with a foot injury earlier this season. His current productivity rating (using this site’s system) stands at a phenomenal .819. His best season previously was as a sophomore with a .583 rating. Last season, he finished at .533. He is averaging career bests with 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a game this season. His improvement is to the point that if he does not get close to a double-double it is a surprise. One other interesting note about Zeus: He has yet to foul out this season. By the end of his junior season, he recorded the most disqualifications (13) by an Arizona player in the Wildcats’ Pac-10/12 era. …

— Salpointe Catholic and Arizona grad Jay John, also a former Lute Olson assistant who coached at Oregon State, works as the color commentator for Cal games on its IMG Network. …

— Since a 12-for-22 performance from three-point range against Davidson Dec. 28, Cal has been hot from long-range, going a combined 50-for-125 from behind the arc (.400) over its past seven games. That stretch includes an 0-for-12 night at Oregon. Toss out that game, and the Bears are shooting 44.2 percent as a team during the period. The Wildcats are similarly hot from three-point range, making 26 of their 49 three-point attempts (.531) in their current three-game winning streak. Gabe York is shooting 47.4 percent (18 of 38) from beyond the arc in Pac-12 play. …

— It will be interesting to see how Arizona’s offense, which managed to still score 71 points the other night despite playing a Stanford team bent on slowing the pace, will fare against Cal’s athletic defensive players. Cal leads the Pac-12 and ranks 12th nationally allowing opponents to shoot only 37.8 percent from the floor. The Bears are No. 1 in the country in terms of 2-point field goal percentage defense at 38.5 percent, which means Arizona’s interior strength of Tarczewski, Ryan Anderson and Dusan Ristic will be put to the test. …

— Both teams have standouts, particularly on the offensive end, who will miss the next month of games with broken hands — Cal’s Tyrone Wallace and Arizona’s Allonzo Trier. Both teams have managed to win without them to this point. Wallace’s absence should affect Cal more than Trier missing from Arizona’s lineup. The Wildcats go about eight deep with Trier. That’s including freshman guard Justin Simon, who is averaging 10.3 minutes a game in Pac-12 play. Cal goes about seven deep without Wallace although forwards Kingsley Okoroh and Emmanuel Moute a Bidias should see increased minutes. …


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NO. 12 ARIZONA (16-3, 4-2) VS.
California (13-6, 3-3)

Tip Time: 6:35 p.m. MST
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Jeff Dean)

Overall: Arizona leads 59-30
In Berkeley: Arizona leads 22-17
Current Streak: Arizona won 4
Last Meeting: Arizona won 73-51 in Las Vegas (3-12-15)
Sean Miller vs. California: 8-3

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)

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Previous result:

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Rank: Overall school ranking.
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Present RPI ranking of non-conference opponents Arizona has played according to
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Present RPI ranking of Pac-12 teams according to
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*-John Wooden Legacy in Fullerton/Anaheim (Calif.)
[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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