Bulldog Basketball Scouting Report

Having already appeared on the east coast, Mississippi State ventures to the opposite end of the country to appear Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, Cal., at the John Wooden Classic. The #15-ranked Bulldogs meet #21-ranked Arizona in the first half of a twinbill at Arrowhead Pond, with the 1:30 PT/3:30 CT game televised nationally on superstation WGN of Chicago. The second game pits UCLA against Boston College.

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  • This is Mississippi State's first appearance in the Wooden Classic, which is being played for the 11th year. The Bulldogs earned an invitation to this year's edition largely due to the presence of senior forward/center Lawrence Roberts, a first-team Wooden All-American for 2003-04. Roberts has been nominated for 2005 Wooden Player of the Year. Arizona has played twice before in the Wooden Classic; beating Utah in 1996 and Purdue in 2001.

  • The Bulldogs bring a 6-1 record to California, having beaten South Alabama 66-52 Thursday evening in their first game after a nine-day break. The downtime was a result of opening the season early, playing in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic where State won two regional-round games in Birmingham to advance to New York City. There State lost 71-58 to #5 Syracuse, the eventual tourney champ; and beat St. Mary's of California 67-54 in the consolation round. By playing in this ‘exempt' tournament Coach Rick Stansbury's team was able to tip off the campaign earlier than usual, but were also left with a end-of-November gap in the schedule.

  • Arizona has been much more active lately, playing the busiest November schedule in program history with six games. The Wildcats of Coach Lute Olson are 4-2, and coming off a 98-70 win over Wyoming. UA opened the year in the Preseason NIT, beating San Diego and Wright State to advance to New York also. There they beat Michigan in overtime, 81-80, before losing to then-#1 ranked Wake Forest 63-60. In-between the Wildcats fit in a trip to Virginia where they lost 78-60. UA has played six games in 19 days.

    About Arizona

    The Wildcats are firmly established among the nation's annual power programs, a credit to 22 seasons under Olson. Already the career wins leader at Arizona, Olson now ranks second only to the legendary Wooden for Pac-10 victories (290) and conference championships (ten). His 1997 team won the national championship, and Arizona has reached the Final Four four times since 1988. There's no secret formula for such success: great players. In fact, 24 Wildcats have been drafted by the NBA in the last 15 years, tied with Duke for most in this span. Olson has inked 13 McDonald's All-Americans, and three of them will be playing against State—Hassan Adams, Mustafa Shakur, and Jawann McClellan. And none of them are even leading this team in scoring right now. That distinction belongs to senior guard Salim Stoudamire at 16.7 points. This will be the most purely talented team the Bulldogs face all regular season, including Syracuse, Florida, and Kentucky. It's also likely the deepest, with four starters and nine total lettermen returned from a squad that went 20-10 and ended the year ranked #22. Last March was a letdown for the Wildcats though, as they lost in the first round of the NCAAs. Expectations are much higher for this club, and if all the experienced parts fit together Arizona has all the makings of another certified national contender.

    Probable Starting Lineups

    Arizona: F Ivan Radenovic, 6-10 SO, 8.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg; C Channing Frye, 6-11 SR, 10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 9 blks; G Salim Stoudamire, 6-1 SR, 16.7 ppg, 21 3pts; G Hassan Adams, 6-4 JR, 12.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg; PG Mustafa Shakur, 6-3 SO, 9.5 ppg, 6.3 asts.

    UA Backups: G Jawann McClellan, 6-4 FR, 8.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg; G Chris Rodgers, 6-4 JR, 2.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg; F Isaiah Fox, 6-9 JR, 4.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg.

    Mississippi State: G Gary Ervin, 5-11 SO, 7.4 ppg, 4.3 apg; G Winsome Frazier, 6-4 SR, 14.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 16 3pts; C Marcus Campbell, 7-0 SR, 6.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg; F Lawrence Roberts, 6-9 SR, 16.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg; F Shane Power, 6-5 SR, 10.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 9 3pts.

    MSU Backups: F Ontario Harper, 6-4 SR, 7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg; C Wesley Morgan, 7-2 JR, 2.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg; G Dietric Slater, 6-3 SO, 2.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg; PG Jamall Edmondson, 5-11 JR, 3.8 ppg, 5 3ptrs.


    Scoring: MSU 68.4 ppg, Arizona 73.7 ppg

    Scoring Defense: MSU 58.1, Arizona 67.7

    Rebounding: MSU 40.7, Arizona 41.8

    Shooting: MSU 42.5%, Arizona 40.4%

    Defense: MSU 36.3%, Arizona 44.7%

    Three-Point Shooting: MSU 48 treys on 34.5%, Arizona 39 treys on 35.5%

    The Series

    This is only the third meeting of the two schools from sunbelt conferences, and they have split the previous two games. Way back in 1970-71 Arizona took 77-75 win in the Poinsettia Classic played in Greenville, S.C. Three decades later, playing in Tucson, the Bulldogs handed the Wildcats their first-ever loss in 31 Fiesta Bowl Classic games by beating UA 75-74 on Dec. 30, 2001. There were seven ties and nine lead changes in the game the final coming when MSU guard Antonio Jackson hit a running jumper with ten seconds left for the margin of victory. Jackson was tourney MVP after scoring 22 points in the final round.

    Game Notes

  • This is the second of three tournaments/classics the Bulldogs play in their pre-conference schedule. The third is December 30 when Mississippi State, joined by Louisiana State, represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl Classic. The Bulldogs and Bengals face, respectively, Virginia Tech and Florida State in the SEC vs. ACC event in the New Orleans Arena.

  • State is making a fifth trip in Stansbury's seven seasons to the Golden State.

  • Stansbury's seven teams are 72-17 in non-conference games, including post-season play. The last regular-season loss to a non-SEC team was the 2002-03 lidlifter, to Louisiana-Lafayette. His teams are also 3-3 against ranked non-league opponents.

  • State is 3-7 all-time in games against Pac-10 teams. Arizona is 12-21 against SEC clubs.

  • MSU's Lawrence Roberts leads active players with 41 ‘double-doubles', three of them this season. Two Wildcats, Channing Frye and Ivan Radenovic, have a pair of double-doubles in the early season.

    Did You Know?

  • MSU's original schedule had the Bulldogs hosting a return game with Santa Clara on December 4. But an invitation to play Dec. 5 in the Wooden Classic was too good to turn down, so that return game will have to wait until next season. Santa Clara began the year by upsetting North Carolina.

  • There are only two Wildcats with Arizona hometowns; Frye of Phoenix, and F Matt Brase of Tucson. There are five Mississippians on the MSU roster, the fewest since 1992-93; and none of them have started a game this season.

    Next Games

    Arizona finally gets a break, hosting Utah on December 11. The Bulldogs return home to face Arkansas-Little Rock on the same date.

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