OSU-Arizona: Matchups

Breaking down Thursday night's matchup between Oklahoma State, 26-6, and Arizona, 29-6, in a Chicago Regional semifinal game at the Allstate Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 9 p.m. (Central time), or 30 minutes after the first semifinal game between Illinois and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The game will be telecast nationally on CBS Sports with the announcing team of Dick Enberg (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Armen Keteyian (sideline).

OSU's John Lucas (17.8 ppg, 4.1 apg)
vs. Arizona's Mustafa Shakur (8.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.8 rpg)

Lucas and Shakur are good friends so this matchup will be interesting to watch. The 5-foot-10 Lucas knows that he is going to have to play much better than he did in the Cowboys' first two NCAA Tournament wins if OSU hopes to defeat the Wildcats. Lucas was just 8-of-22 shooting (36.4 percent) from the field and committed four turnovers while recording just two assists. Lucas, however, is a big-time player in the big games (remember who nailed the three-pointer for the win over St. Joseph's in last year's regional final as the Cowboys advanced to the Final Four). He is dangerous from behind the three-point arc (43.6 percent) and is an excellent free throw shooter (missing just eight free throws all season, 75-of-83). Expect him to have the ball in his hands if it's a close game late.

The 6-3, 183-pound Shakur runs the Wildcat offense. With Stoudamire, Frye and Adams as teammates he is asked to distribute the ball more than he is asked to score. But he is capable of putting the ball in the basket (he scored a career-high 23 points in the Wildcats' season opener vs. San Diego), and scored in double figures 12 times this season. He only shoots 41.8 percent from the floor (36.7 percent from behind the arc), but leads the team with 161 assists (4.6 per game). The Wildcats are 28-5 in his career when he passes out five or more assists in a game.
Edge: Lucas

OSU's Daniel Bobik (6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg)
vs. Arizona's Salim Stoudamire (18.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg)

Bobik will be asked to slow down Stoudamire, who scored 28 points in Arizona's 85-63 victory over Alabama-Birmingham in a second-round NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. Bobik has been asked to guard the Cowboys opponent's best perimeter player much of the year, helping force Southern Illinois guard Darren Brooks into a 5-of-16 shooting day on Sunday. Although he's known as the Cowboys' defensive specialist, Bobik is one reason OSU is the nation's best shooting three-point team (making better than 42 percent from behind the arc this season). Bobik has made 46-of-117 three-pointers (39.3 percent).

Stoudamire, a 6-1, 179-pound senior, has already picked up a pair of All-America accolades after averaging a career-best 18.6 points and leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage (51.3 percent). Stoudamire was a second team All-America selection by the United States Basketball Writers Association and a first team pick by collegeinsider.com. Stoudamire scored a game-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting (5-of-11 from three-point range) against Alabama-Birmingham. That came just a week after he tied his career-high of 37 points in the Pac-10 Tournament championship game against Washington. He has 15 20-point and three 30-point games this season. He's gotten into Arizona head coach Lute Olson's doghouse on numerous times the past few years (most recently in December when he was benched for a game against Marquette for "failure to meet team expectations as a senior captain."), but Olson says that's in the past and that Stoudamire has become the leader he expects.
Edge: Stoudamire

OSU's JamesOn Curry (9.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.7 apg)
vs. Arizona's Hassan Adams (12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg)

When is a freshman not a freshman? When he's playing like JamesOn Curry, who averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in playing an average of 35 minutes a game in the Cowboys' first two victories of the NCAA Tournament. Not only is he an excellent outside shooter (42-of-98 from three-point range for 42.9 percent), Curry is also the best OSU player at penetrating against zone defenses. However, that sometimes gets him in trouble as he gets out of control and draws offensive fouls, much to Eddie Sutton's disgust. Curry has started14 of the Cowboys' last 15 games and is averaging 13.4 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 50.9 percent from behind the arc during that stretch.

Adams, a 6-4, 212-pound junior, is often overlooked because of Stoudamire and Frye but he's not overlooked by the Arizona coaching staff. He does a little bit of everything for the Wildcats, as evidence of his statistical numbers from the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Adams averaged 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 assists in the victories. Adams scored in double figures in 28 games (including a season-high 19 points vs. Stanford on Jan. 8), and posted four double-doubles this season. He's not much of a three-point threat, making only 9-of-36 attempts this season.
Edge: Even

OSU's Joey Graham (17.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
vs. Arizona's Ivan Radenovic (8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Eddie Sutton said it best last Sunday after Oklahoma State defeated Southern Illinois to advance to the Sweet 16: "We can't win against Arizona or Illinois or teams like that unless we get him to play." Graham scored just 15 points and added just five rebounds while playing but 40 minutes in the Cowboys' two victories last weekend. He did have six assists against Southern Illinois, but also turned the ball over four times and committed his fourth foul with 14:21 remaining in the game. If Graham comes ready to play, the Wildcats don't have anyone who can guard him. Radenovic will not be able to stay with the smaller, quicker Graham and Adams is not strong enough to guard him. As he has for opponent's all season, Graham will cause major match-up problems for the Wildcats. The only person who can stop him is Graham himself. Be prepared to see a rejuvenated Graham when the Cowboys take the floor Thursday night.

The 6-foot-10 Radenovic knows his role and plays it well. The Arizona coaches want him to play defense and rebound. But he can also score if you don't pay attention to him (just ask Alabama-Birmingham -- he scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting against the Blazers). He has posted four double-double this season, including a 19-point, 12-rebound effort against UCLA on Feb. 12. Radenovic is capable of stepping out and hitting the three (he's made 16-of-49, 32.7 percent). In Arizona's 67-62 win over Utah and Andrew Bogut on Dec. 11, he was 2-of-2 from behind the arc, made 6-of-6 free throws and drew a charge against Bogut with 1:10 to go. He's not flashy but is capable of hurting a team in a number of ways.
Edge: Graham

OSU's Ivan McFarlin (12.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
vs. Arizona's Channing Frye (15.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg)

Cowboy fans should be thankful for I-Mac, who was outstanding in leading OSU to back-to-back wins in Oklahoma City last weekend. McFarlin's 31-point, 6-rebound effort against Southern Illinois will not be forgotten by Cowboy fans for a long time. "The Warrior," as he's known to OSU fans, has played in 10 NCAA Tournament games during his career, and is now averaging 14.9 points ad 9.5 rebounds. In those 10 NCAA Tournament games he's had four double-doubles (and he was one rebound away from making it five with his 18-point, 9-rebound performance against Southeastern Louisiana in last week's first-round game). McFarlin is an emotional leader who the Cowboys look to for inspiration and energy on the floor.

The 6-foot-11, 248-pound Frye is reason enough to fear the Wildcats. In five of the Cowboys' six losses this season (and in three of their four a year ago), the opponent's big man either had a career game of one of the best games of his career (see Texas's Brad Buckman, KU's Wayne Simien, Gonzaga's J.P. Batista, Georgia Tech's Luke Schenscher and BYU's Rafael Araujo). Can McFarlin stop Frye from having the game of his life? The Arizona center is capable of having a big game – he has scored 26 points against Washington State (on 11-of-13 shooting), 30 points against Washington (on 13-of-15 shooting) and 22 points (on 10-of-11 shooting) in the Wildcats' last eight games. He also an excellent free-throw shooter, making nearly 84 percent (125-of-149) on the season. In 10 career NCAA Tournament games, Frye is averaging 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds with double-doubles in six of those games.
Edge: Even


Eddie Sutton has been using a seven-man rotation bringing seniors Stephen Graham (6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds) and Terrence Crawford (4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds) off the bench. Crawford, though undersized at 6-6, is the Cowboys' best post defender and could likely spend a portion of the game guarding Frye. Crawford was outstanding in the Cowboys' wins over Southern Illinois (7 rebounds, 5 points and 3 assists) and Southeastern Louisiana (6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals). Stephen Graham is capable of lighting it up like his brother (ie. career-high 22 points vs. Gonzaga in December).

The Arizona bench is not real deep but 6-4 freshman guard Jawann McClelland and 6-10 sophomore center Kirk Walters have both been coming on as of late. McClelland, from Houston, is averaging 9.6 points and 4.2 rebounds while playing nearly 23 minutes a game in postseason action (NCAA and Pac-10 tournaments). Walters came off the bench to score a career high eight points vs. Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday. He is averaging just 2.6 points and 1.5 rebound per game, but the Wildcats had planned on redshirting him this season. But that decision was ditched 15 games into the season and Waters has begun providing valuable minutes for Frye. Chris Rodgers, a 6-4 junior guard, is averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists off the bench.
Edge: Arizona

OSU's Eddie Sutton
vs. Arizona's Lute Olson

More than 1,500 coaching victories will be on the sideline when Sutton (781 victories) and Olson (740) meet. Sutton and Olson rank second and third, respectively, on the active NCAA Division I victories list. Both with a combined 65 years of Division I experience between them, the pair have only faced each other twice, both Arizona wins over OSU in December 1993 and November 1994. Both Sutton and Olson know something about winning in the NCAA Tournament – Sutton has won 39 games in taking four different teams to the "Big Dance." In 35 years of coaching at the Division I level, Sutton-coached teams have made 26 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and 13 of those have advanced to the Sweet 16. This is OSU's sixth Sweet 16 appearance under Sutton.

Olson has led the Wildcats to their 11th Sweet 16 appearance during his 22-year tenure as head coach. During his 22-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won the national title (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, ‘94, ‘97 & 2001) and has been to the NCAA Tournament for 21 consecutive seasons (the longest active streak and second-longest in NCAA history to North Carolina's 27). Olson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002, yet his career record of 740-255 (.744) compared to Sutton's 781-298 (.724).
Edge: Olson


The Cowboys and Wildcats are two of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation. Arizona is second nationally with a 77.8 free throw percentage, while Oklahoma State is fourth with a 77.4 free throw percentage. Ten of Arizona's 13 active players, including all five starters, are shooting better than 70 percent from the charity stripe. OSU's Joey Graham, who set the Big 12 record with 39 consecutive free throws earlier this season, has made 105 of his last 110 (95.5 percent) from the charity stripe. John Lucas has only missed eight free throws (75-of-83) all season... Arizona's visits to the Windy City haven't exactly been kind, as the Wildcats are 1-4 all-time in the Chicago metropolitan area. Recently, Arizona has dropped three consecutive games at the United Center (to Kansas and Connecticut, respectively, in the 1997 and 1999 Great Eight), and its last trip, an 81-73 loss to Illinois on Dec. 16, 2000... Arizona has been good about getting out to first half leads this season. But it was outstanding second half play in the first two NCAA Tournament games that made the difference. The Wildcats held Utah State and UAB to a combined 17-of-63 shooting (27.0 percent) in the second half, while shooting 54.2 percent (25-of-48) in the same span. OSU, however, is a much better second half team. The Cowboys' first-half shooting percentage is 46.8 percent for the season, while they are shooting 53.1 percent after halftime. OSU has shot better than 60 percent in a half on 11 occasions this season, with nine of those being after halftime.
Edge: OSU

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