2006 Arizona Wildcats Basketball Preview
2006 Arizona Wildcats Basketball Predictions
The Arizona Wildcats (20- 13 overall and 11- 7 PAC-10) are one of the best hoop teams in the nation and will contend for first place in the Pacific Ten Conference. In his 23 years at Arizona, coach Lute Olson has taken his team to 22 straight NCAA post-season appearances. That streak, the longest active one, should continue this season.
There’s plenty of good news in the backcourt, starting with senior Mustafa Shakur (11.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.7 APG, 42.3 FG%, 80.6 FT%), who decided to play his last college season rather than enter the NBA draft. But Shakur will have competition from freshman Nic Wise, a solid shooter and leader. There’s also plenty of depth on wing, with sophomore Marcus Williams (13.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 45.3 FG%, 72.6 FT%) and freshman Chase Budinger looking very promising. Look for Olson to nudge his backcourt’s defense up a tick or two from last season.
Senior forward Ivan Radenovic (12.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 46.1 FG%, 78.0 FT%) offers versatility—hitting from outside, posting up inside, rebounding and more. Senior center Kirk Walters (6.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.1 APG, 58.6 FG%, 57.8 FT%) can block shots but offers little offensive spark. Other frontcourt prospects include junior Bret Brielmaier (1.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 50.0 FG%, 65.2 FT%) and various swingmen, including Williams and Budinger.
Lute Olson (569- 177 in 23 years) turned the Wildcats around in one year during the 1984- 85 season. This year’s Arizona squad is extremely deep and should improve on their .319 accuracy from 3-point land. At 72 years of age, Olson is still a vital and dynamic coach. He’s snagged some strong freshmen and has a diverse roster of returning players.
The Wildcats lost to Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. That was a major disappoint for this team and their coach. Look for Olson’s club to push into the Elite Eight and perhaps even the Final Four. With the magic of March Madness, they could be cutting down the nets at the end of the championship game.
If you want more info on the 2006 Arizona Wildcats College basketball team check out the NCAA's official basketball team page of the program or check out some rival previews from Maddux Sports of schools like the UCLA Bruins and Oregon Ducks.