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Monday March 19, 2001

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First Weekend Report Card

By Keith Carmona

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Report Card:

First and Second Rounds

Scoring: A-

The Wildcats broke the 100-point barrier Friday against Eastern Illinois and scored 78 against defensive-minded Butler Sunday. UA's offense came from all points of the floor, as there were nine double-digit scorers over the first two games. Jason Gardner could improve his 2 for 11 three-point shooting.

Defense: B+

Through the first two games, the Wildcats held Eastern Illinois and Butler to a combined 38 percent from the floor. The only lapse occurred in the first half Sunday when the Bulldogs made 9 of their first 15 shots and opened up a 22-15 lead.

Intensity: B+

Allowing Eastern Illinois and Butler to hang around in the first half isn't that desirable, but for the most part, Arizona played like a team that was making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Sparked by Gene Edgerson's fervor, Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas and Luke Walton were diving for balls even though Arizona had secured the lead.

Starters: B

A job well done, but there are some less than desirable statistics emerging from a weekend against two mid-major schools: Jefferson and Gilbert Arenas' 11 turnovers and Woods' two rebounds Sunday.

Bench: A

Gene Edgerson had 13 points and seven rebounds, Lamont Frazier made 4 of 4 shot against EIU, and Luke Walton contributed 10 rebounds against the Bulldogs. Justin Wessel played just 15 total minutes, but his big body took up space in the paint while Michael Wright got a breather.

Coaching: A

After the Wildcats spent the better part of the first half trailing Sunday, halftime talks and play-calling led Arizona to keep BU from scoring for nearly six minutes after the break. Against EIU, the substitutions came fast and often, which made it tough on the Panthers to readjust to the varying offenses.

Overall: A-

In the NCAA Tournament, a win is a win. This team, a healthy version of last year's squad, is fulfilling the expectations that surrounded them six months ago. In a weekend rife with upsets, the No. 2-seeded Wildcats flexed their defensive muscles while still displaying their scoring power. Granted, it was against EIU and Butler, but as Edgerson said Sunday, "We're still dancing."