Arizona head coach Lute Olson has a case of Laryngitis and was unable to speak during Friday night's win over Pepperdine. The Wildcats' coach was forced to rely on notes and his assistant coaches. It made things different, but not necessarily difficult.
After the game Associate coach Jim Rosborough met with the media and assistant coach Rodney Tention sat in for Olson for his regular post-game radio interview.
"It kind of changes things," said Rosborough. "He (Olson) was able to write things down and we were able to take notes. The only difference was bench decorum."
With Olson voiceless he relied on his assistant coaches to relay information during time outs and on the bench.
"We don't need Coach Olson to have a voice, he just started throwing papers," Channing Frye said. "The assistant coaches got in our face and did a good job."
Even without a voice, Olson was able to yell at the officials on a few occasions
Luke Walton strained his Achilles tendon and according to Wildcat trainer Ed Orr his status for Sunday against Valparaiso is unknown at this time.
"Ed (Orr) felt he should be able to play on Sunday," Rosborough said. "It was just a precaution. If this was the national championship game he probably could have gone."
Walton will be limited in practice on Saturday. Many were concerned that it was another injury to his foot. Walton redshirted in 1998-99 due to a foot injury. His father Bill Walton was also plagued with foot injuries during his career.
Walton was on the bench for the entire second half. Without their leading assist man the Cats committed 14 second-half turnovers.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Wildcats played their first home game since the December 1st loss to Kansas. The Cats are pleased to play four straight at the friendly confines of McKale Center.
"You feel more comfortable at home," said Jason Gardner. "It helps having friends, family and the crowd behind you."
"It felt good being here at McKale, having the crowd and parents there," said Frye. "It's nice to have my family here watching me."
A number of Wildcats had family in the stands. Gardner's mother and grandmother were in attendance. Per usual, Frye's parents were there. A number of Rick Anderson's family made the trip from Southern California. Luke Walton had his mother and one of his brothers looking on.
PASS THE BALL
Rosborough mentioned that making passes, reversing the ball and getting the post involved was emphasized during the week of practice. The coach said that when the Cats make three or more passes they shoot at a significantly higher clip than when they shoot quickly. He also mentioned that the team fares well when the post players touch the ball.
In the first half the Cats hit 10-of-12 shots on possessions with three or more passes. They were under 20% when they shot the ball after only one or two passes.
The only exception to the rule is if a post player receives a pass within five feet of the basket. Rosborough mentioned that the Arizona big men have been instructed to shoot the ball when they get the ball on the blocks, because "it's not like they can get much closer."
NEW WORLD ORDER
Valparaiso has players from seven different countries on their roster. The Crusaders have players hailing from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Finland, Angola, Puerto Rico, Columbia and of course the United States.