Poke Notes: Physical Cowboys

Although Arizona is going to be much bigger inside with the likes of 6-foot-11 Channing Frye and 6-10 Ivan Radenovic that doesn't necessarily mean the Wildcats are going to be tougher. The Pac-10 is more of a finesse league where the officials don't allow the rough play inside that is found in the Big 12 – and that could give Ivan McFarlin, Joey Graham and Terrence Crawford an advantage because they aren't afraid to knock some people around.

"I think the perimeter (games) are pretty similar," Arizona head coach Lute Olson said. "I think the game will get down to how we can deal with the physical play inside. It's a case where the Pac-10 does not allow a lot of physical play and the Big 12 does, and that really creates a bit of a problem for us.

"But I think our guys are physical enough – they like playing this style of play frankly. Once you get into the tournament where the game is allowed to be played more physically and I think our guys will respond well to that."

That's one reason the OSU coaches are baffled that Joey Graham has struggled through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Graham is strong enough to hold his own against just about anyone. But in two tournament games he's played just half of the time (40 of 80 minutes) and contributed just 15 points and five rebounds while committing eight turnovers and eight fouls.

Olson said the Wildcats plan to use 6-foot-4, 212-pound Hassan Adams on Graham.

"He's really quick and very active. He's going to be quicker than most four men he plays against," Olson said. "Now they do move him to the perimeter and Hassan Adams, I think, will be a good match up with him. Initially, it'll be a problem that we'll have to deal with. He's a very good player. He's active to the glass. He takes the ball to the basket very well. He's a very, very fine player."

"He's a very physical player," Adams said. "I'm going to have to outsmart him. He uses his physicalness to his advantage so I've just got to play hard, try to take him out of what he's comfortable doing, posting up … basically try to front him and keep the ball out of his hands."

USA Today and the Chicago Tribune had stories in Wednesday's editions detailing JamesOn Curry's road from North Carolina to Oklahoma State. The Chicago Sun-Times printed a story earlier in the week. And Eddie Sutton gets asked about the standout freshman in every news conference now.

But one reporter asked a really good question of Sutton prior to Wednesday afternoon's practice session at Allstate Arena: Has JamesOn impressed you more this year as a person or as a player?

"As a person. He's a wonderful young man," Sutton said. "He's just like some youngsters, he made a mistake and paid the price for it. He's a great, great human being. For a freshman, he's got a lot of basketball savvy. He understands how the game should be played."

Lute Olson (740) may have 41 less victories than Eddie Sutton (781), but the Arizona coach has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (back in 2002). That's probably because Olson won a national championship with the Wildcats in 1997, while Sutton is still trying to get his first one. But Olson was singing Sutton's praises Wednesday afternoon.

"I've known Eddie for probably 30 years. He's a very fine gentleman," Olson said. "I've done clinics with him, worked the Michael Jordan Fantasy Camp with Eddie, we're both on the Nike advisory staff so we make that trip every year. He's been great for the game. He's a tremendous teacher. His teams play with a lot of energy, a lot of passion and fundamentally I don't know if anyone does it any better than Eddie does. He's been a real credit to the game."

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