Trivia: Sixteen coaches are actively coaching at the Division I level with 500 or more career victories and they have all coached against the Arizona Wildcats at least once. Only two have a winning record against the Arizona Wildcats. Who are they?
Hint: It’s nobody in the Pac-12. The only active coach with 500-plus wins is Oregon’s Dana Altman (564 wins), and he is 5-6 against the Arizona Wildcats since coming to the conference in 2010-11.
Hint: It’s nobody coaching in the state of Kentucky right now. Kentucky’s John Calipari (664 wins) is 1-1 against Arizona with the games occurring during his time with Memphis. Louisville’s Rick Pitino (743), who lost the 1997 NCAA title game against Arizona while at Kentucky, is also at .500 (2-2) against the Wildcats.
Hint: It’s nobody who has coached in Michigan, including Michigan State’s Tom Izzo (524), who matched wits today against Sean Miller in Honolulu for the first time.
Izzo is 2-3 against the program following a 65-63 loss to Arizona thanks to senior guard Kadeem Allen’s coast-to-coast game-winning shot with 1.9 seconds remaining. Izzo was 0-2 against Arizona and Lute Olson (including a loss in the 2001 Final Four) before coaching Michigan State to wins in East Lansing, Mich., in 2001-02 and in Lahaina, Hawaii, in 2005-06.
Steve Fisher (552) was 1-4 against Arizona while at Michigan. He is the most unsuccessful 500-plus-wins coach against the Wildcats with a 3-13 record (2-9 at San Diego State).
Hint: It’s not the coach with the most wins in history, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (1,043), who is 3-5 against Arizona. The Wildcats are one of only six teams who have won more than they lost against Coach K. He has a losing record against two other Pac-12 teams — California (1-2) and Stanford (1-2). Krzyzewski also has losing marks against Arkansas (1-2), Louisville (3-5) and Wagner (0-1).
Ready for the answer? Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (989), who is 2-1 against Arizona, and Roy Williams, who is 6-2 against the Wildcats in his time with Kansas and North Carolina.
Three coaches with 500-plus wins have a .500 record against the Wildcats. Izzo joins Krzyzewski and nine others who have losing records against Arizona.
Here is the list (interesting to note that Arizona is 56-32 against these coaches, the elite in the business today):[table “” not found /]
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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.