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Men's Hoops: Arizona rises again in rankings

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior center Channing Frye guards ASU's Ike Diogu during Arizona's narrow victory over the Sun Devils in Tempe Saturday. Frye said yesterday that California would give its all in the upcoming matchup in the first round of the Pacific 10 Conference tournament in Los Angeles.
By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
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Another crazy weekend in college basketball saw six teams in the top 10 falter, leaving room for the Arizona men's basketball team (25-4, 15-3 Pacific 10 Conference) to sneak back into the top 10, currently situated at No. 8 in both the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Wildcats were ranked No. 11 last week after a loss to Washington behind the Huskies, but an unexpected loss to Stanford by those Huskies sent them reeling back to No. 14.

"The day could not have been any better for us," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. "I was not one that was giving Stanford much of a chance ... but it's a difficult place to play."

Because of the events of the weekend, Arizona will hold the No.1 seed in the Pac-10 tournament and will face California, who won a tiebreaker over Oregon.

No Cougars makes Wildcats happy

The Wildcats were able to avoid the Washington State Cougars in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament and that's a positive occurrence for Arizona.

The Cougars, who received the No. 6 seed, were the only team to beat the Wildcats in McKale Center and almost pulled off the sweep on Feb. 24 in Pullman, Wash., losing by just one point in overtime.

In addition to the losses, senior point guard Salim Stoudamire said Arizona doesn't like Washington State's style of basketball.

"I don't like that slow-down game, it's extremely boring," he said.

Washington State held Arizona to an average of just 60 points in those two games, almost 20 points under its average.

"They've done a great job of getting to where people don't want to play them. It's just not going to be a pushover of a game," senior center Channing Frye said.

Adams honorable mention for All Pac-10

Junior forward Hassan Adams was named an honorable mention for the All Pac-10 team. Adams has averaged 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while leading the Pac-10 in steals this season. Adams is also one of four players on the Wildcats to play in all 30 games.

"Hassan Adams has put together without a doubt the best string of games he's ever played here," Olson said. "Mistakes he was making earlier, he's not making now."

Freshman class not represented with Pac-10 honors

Although Arizona's freshman class was surrounded by hype and expectations and have not disappointed according to Olson, the Pac-10 did not reward any of the Arizona newcomers, including former McDonald's All-American Jawann McClellan.

The all-freshman team was made up of UCLA guards Jordan Farmar, who won Pac-10 freshman of the year, and Aaron Afflalo, who were joined by Southern California guard Gabriel Pruitt, and Oregon guards Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor.

No Arizona freshman made the honorable mention category either and Olson cited the lack of a starting position for the snubs.

"That's always dependent upon whether you have freshmen who are starters," he said. "These guys were all starters so they had a lot of exposure and a lot of playing time. I've said all along I wouldn't trade Jawann (McClellan) for anything."

Olson doused after record-setting win

After Olson's 305th conference win at ASU Saturday, Olson was soaked with water in the locker room by the team. Channing Frye admitted he started the water tossing, but denied drenching Olson.

"I think I was the first one to pour some water on Mohamed (Tangara) just because he looked hot," Frye joked. "I didn't hit coach - I wouldn't surprise coach with anything. I don't know who got him, but Jawann may have got him."

Olson came to the press conference after the game straying from his usual dress shirt attire and was instead wearing an Arizona hooded sweatshirt.

Frye, as well as the rest of the team, were honored to have been there for the win and Olson thanked all his players for the ability to make history, saying he couldn't have done it without them.

"I think it was good that we had a chance to celebrate with him," Frye said. "We didn't have wine or anything but getting 305 wins in the conference and accomplishing anything over John Wooden is just a huge feat in itself."

Olson thinks all 10 teams should be in Pac-10 tournament

The Pac-10 is one of only a few leagues in college basketball that does not send every team in the conference to the conference tournament, an idea that Olson called "a travesty."

This year, USC and Oregon will both miss the Pac-10 tournament. "The only thing that I feel horribly about, and I know the other coaches in the league also (agree), and that's that we don't have all 10 teams in," Olson said.

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