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Scouting Report: Arizona vs. Oklahoma State

<B>3 Seed Arizona 29-6 (15-3) vs. 2 Seed Oklahoma State 26-6 (11-5)</B><BR> <B>Date: Thursday, March 24, 2005</B><BR> <B>Time: approx. 9:15 CST</B><BR> <B>Location: Allstate Arena (17,500) Rosemont, IL</B><BR> <A href="">In-Game Chat: </A>

Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Pregame: 6:15 p.m. MST on 1290 a.m. (Brad Allis, Pete Delgado, John Schuster, Ryan Radtke, Joe Nehls)
Postgame call-in show: 1290 a.m. approximately 30 minutes after the end of the game.
TV: CBS (Dick Emberg/Jay Bilas)
On-Line: Arizona All Access (subscription required)

Oklahoma State at a glance:
Location: Stillwater, OK
Coach: Eddie Sutton
Leading Scorer: John Lucas (17.8)
Leading Rebounder: Ivan McFarlin (7.5)
Leading Assists: John Lucas (4.1)
Last Meeting: Arizona defeated the Cowboys 73-63 on November 26, 1994.
Last Time Out: Arizona cruised by UAB 85-63. Oklahoma State snuck by Southern Illinois 85-77.

OVERVIEW: Arizona enters this game playing their best basketball of the season according to Head Coach Lute Olson. The Cats have played three strong consecutive halves to oust Utah State, and UAB from the NCAA Tournament, and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Oklahoma State's journey was not as easy. Eddie Sutton's club defeated both Southeast Louisiana and Southern Illinois to make it to this point, but they appeared to struggle against Southern Illinois, and have not looked overly impressive in either match-up. They will need to be at the top of their game in order to take care of Arizona.

OSU's top talent comes from John Lucas, who led the team to a Final Four a season ago. Lucas is the team's leading scorer, and is a 45% shooter from the field. He will be the UA's top priority, especially since getting him into foul trouble is out of the question. Lucas has not fouled out of one game this season.

While Salim Stoudamire will be guarding Lucas, Channing Frye has a difficult task of his own. Ivan McFarlin is a huge threat inside for the Cowboys averaging 12.4 points a game. McFarlin and Lucas are also joined by forward Joey Graham who is averaging 17.5 points per game.

OSU is a veteran team with eight seniors. This game will be a defensive match-up for the ages. Arizona will most likely go with the 1-3-1 zone which when working, nearly eliminates inside play, and can cause havoc on the outside. If Arizona can get the 1-3-1 working, look for the Cats to shut down Lucas, McFarlin, and Graham.

OUTLOOK: Arizona has a golden situation at this time. There is no shame in losing to an excellent Oklahoma State team in the Sweet Sixteen. As in past years, people are not looking much at the Cats. This is their opportunity to prove that they belong in the Elite Eight. In addition, Arizona's 1-3-1 zone defense is designed to defeat teams like OSU.

If Arizona can play their game and out-defend the Cowboys, look for them to being dancing in the Elite Eight. This is a game that Arizona can win. However, this match-up should be extremely close. An instant classic is in the making, and Cat Tracks will be on hand to provide you all the coverage.

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