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Off-Day notes: Cats in Boise

By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Saturday, March 19 2005

Stoudamire's asthma causing him trouble

BOISE, Idaho – Salim Stoudamire’s asthma caused the senior guard breathing problems throughout the Wildcat’s first round game against Utah State.

Although Stoudamire tied for a team-high 17 points in the 66-53 win over the Aggies Thursday in Boise, Idaho, UA head coach Lute Olson said Stoudamire uncharacteristically asked to come out of the game early because he couldn’t breathe.

“I don’t know what the deal is with that, but I talked to the team doctor, and he told me I was not using my inhaler the correct way. So I’m going to try a different technique and hopefully it’ll work better,” said Stoudamire, who estimated he used his inhaler 10 times during the game Thursday night.

Olson said Friday that Boise’s elevation of about 2,800 feet was not as much of a factor on Stoudamire’s asthma as the weather back home in Tucson. Olson said a team doctor told him that due to the heavy rainfall Tucson has received this year, conditions are as bad as they’ve been in 20 years for people who suffer from complication.

Olson doesn’t worry about low fan turnout, calls UA fans ‘spoiled’

In the Wildcats first round game Thursday, the Taco Bell Arena crowd held many Utah State fans, yet only a very small contingent of red and blue for the Wildcats. Utah State is located in Logan, Utah, less than 300 miles from Boise, Idaho and about a four-hour and 30-minute drive.

The Wildcats were allotted about 550 tickets for the first and second round games taking place in Boise this weekend, but gave back roughly 200 because they had not sold them. The tickets went to the Utah State contingent, which had a little more than 1,000 fans in the 12,380 capacity arena.

“It’s always going to be a problem when you’re playing against someone who is within driving distance of where you play,” Olson said of the Aggies.

Olson seemed to think there was another reason behind the lack of Wildcat fans in the stands.

“In a way too, our fans are a little bit spoiled,” he said with a grin. “They figure that, hey, you go ahead and take care of business in the first two, and we’ll be there the rest of the way with you.”

If the Wildcats do win against UAB Saturday at approximately 4 p.m. MST and advance to the Sweet 16, they will travel to Chicago, even further away from Tucson than Boise. Chicago is an 1,800-mile trip, while Boise is about 1,150 miles from Tucson.

Olson in charge of the NCAA? Look for changes in officiating

Lately, press conferences with UA head coach Lute Olson have been Olson’s time to spout his theories on what he feels are the problems in college basketball, the supposed East Coast bias, and the Pacific 10 Conference, all in front of a captive audience.

Olson was asked Friday what he would change among NCAA rules and operations that would help the game of college basketball over the next 10-15 years, if he were the head of the NCAA. Olson pointed out some standard ideas that have been mentioned recently, such as moving back the three-point line, but his most bold statement centered around officiating.

“I would not have conference-affiliated officials,” Olson said. “We should have, say, six NCAA regions, with a person who is answerable to the coordinator of officials for the NCAA. They should not be Pac-10 officials; ACC officials. We are never going to solve our officiating problems until we get rid of conference affiliation.

“We all play in the NCAA. Let the NCAA be in charge.”

Olson also said the officiating in the Pac 10 as compared to the NCAA officiating gives Pac-10 teams a problem come tournament time.

“It’s obvious when you get in the NCAA, they let you play more, and our conference is very much the other direction, following the rule book to the finest detail. I think if you talk with coaches in the Pac 10, as a group I think we feel it hurts us once we get into NCAA play,” Olson said.

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