Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach/Ryan Hansen)
TV: CBS (Marv Albert/Steve Kerr/Craig Sager)
No. 5 seed Arizona (27-7, 14-4 Pac-10) will open play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament's West Region second/third rounds against No. 12 seed Memphis (25-9, 10-6 C-USA) in Friday's second-round game in Tulsa, Okla.
Not counting vacated appearances, this will be the University of Arizona's 27th NCAA Tournament appearance overall, and the program has a 43-25 (.632) record in its previous NCAA Tournament action.
It will be Arizona's first-ever NCAA appearance in Tulsa and the program's second-ever appearance in the city (December 1985). 2011 marks Arizona's 18th appearance in the West Region – the most of any tournament regional – and 26 of the UA's 43 NCAA Tournament victories have come while playing in the West.
The Conference USA Tournament champion Tigers will enter Friday's game with a 25-9 record (10-6 C-USA) following Saturday's 67-66 win over UTEP in El Paso.
As a team, Memphis shoots 45.0 percent from the field (865-of-1,921), including 32.7 percent (204-of-624) from three-point range, while averaging 72.0 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 41.5 percent clip and are averaging 68.1 points per game. Three Tiger players average in double figures, led by Will Barton's 12.3 ppg figure. Tarik Black leads the team with a 5.2 rebounds per game average.
The game will mark the eighth meeting of the two schools, with Memphis holding a 4-3 advantage. Arizona has won the last three of the last four meetings, but Memphis captured the last, a 76-63 win in Memphis on Dec. 29, 2007. All-time, Arizona is 2-1 in series games played in Tucson, 1-3 in Memphis, Tenn., and 0-0 in neutral site games.
There will be Wildcat ties on both sidelines as two members of the Memphis coaching staff – head coach Josh Pastner and assistant Jack Murphy – started their coaching paths at the UA.
As a player, student assistant and full-time assistant, Pastner served under Lute Olson from 1996-97 through 2007-08, while Murphy was student manager and administrator from 1998-99 through 2005-06.
Their time in Tucson was definitely productive, as Pastner was a part of the UA's 1997 national championship club as a player, and in their time at the UA together, Pastner and Murphy, helped Arizona post a 199-66 (.751) record, win four Pac-10 titles, make eight NCAA Tourney appearances, including the 2001 Final Four.
In Arizona's last game, Washington made every play it needed in earning the 77-75 Pac-10 Tournament title-game win in overtime on March 12.
Isaiah Thomas' step-back 18-footer at the buzzer capped a Husky effort that saw it erase a four-point deficit with 26 seconds to go in regulation and force the extra session prior to Thomas' heroics. The UW's efforts on the glass led to a 17-7 second-chance-point advantage and erased a 24-point, 11-rebound effort from Derrick Williams.
2011 marks the second time that Arizona enters the NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed, and the Cats are 0-1 pervious, dropping a 71-62 decision to Miami, Ohio on March 16, 1995. Additionally, Arizona is 33-11 (.750) as a seeded favorite.
After establishing itself as a tournament regular under Olson, Arizona is returning to the event after a one-year hiatus. Previously, Arizona has appeared in 28 tournaments, dating back to 1951, including a streak of 25 straight from 1986-2009 (minus vacated appearances in 1999 and 2008).
To date, Williams has earned a pair of All-America honors, as the sophomore forward was a second-team selection by both the USBWA and foxsports.com. Williams is the 25th Wildcat to earn a total of 88 All-America honors since 1950-51. He is also a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to college basketball's player of the year, as voted by the USBWA.
Williams was also an all-district pick by both the USBWA and NABC. The 6-foot-8 native of La Mirada, Calif., was a first-team all-District 20 selection by the NABC, as well as the district player of the year. Additionally, he was an all-District IX selection by the NABC.
Williams and Sean Miller were named Pacific-10 Conference Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, as the league announced its postseason honors March 7. It marks the seventh time a Wildcat player has earned the honor, and the first since Jason Terry in 1999.
Miller joins Olson as UA mentors to win Pac-10 Coach-of-the-Year honors. A seven-time honoree, Olson last won the award in 2003.
A win Friday moves Arizona into Sunday's West Region third-round game against the Texas-Oakland winner. Game time is TBA.