Arizona Wildcats hoops countdown is over — Season opener tonight vs. Pacific

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Three-dot data on Arizona’s season-opener with Pacific tonight …

— Projected Arizona starting small forward Mark Tollefsen played three year’s worth of games against Pacific while with San Francisco in the West Coast Conference. Here are his stats in each game against the Tigers …

Year Result Min Pts Reb Blk
2012-13 L/67-59 27 14 3 1
2013-14 W/81-72 (OT) 30 9 3 4
2013-14 W/64-59 32 11 0 3
2014-15 W/77-71 34 24 2 2
2014-15 W/65-55 33 14 6 0
2014-15 W/62-58 26 10 4 1
6 games 5-1 182 72 18 11
Avg. 30.3 12.0 3.0 1.83

— Two of his last three games with San Francisco were against Pacific so that means Tollefsen will play the Tigers for the third time in his four collegiate games. …

— Pacific coach Ron Verlin, who coached against Tollefsen five times in the previous two seasons, had this say about the forward to The Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe: “He loved playing against us, so I’m sure he’ll be ready to go. In the five times we played them, he hit some pretty tough shots. He’s versatile. He can play the three and four, and guard one, two, three and four.”

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— Five members of the Wildcat team this year were somewhere else this time of year last season as the hoops season began. Where they were ..

Chance Comanche was entering his senior season at Beverly Hills (Calif.) High School. The Normans did not begin their season until Dec. 2, 2014. …

Justin Simon was entering his senior season with the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. Two days later, on Nov. 15, 2014, Simon had 12 points as Brewster improved to 2-0 with a 78-48 victory over Lee Academy. …

Ray Smith was rehabbing his right knee injury entering his senior year at Las Vegas High School …

Tollefsen was entering his redshirt junior year with San Francisco, three days removed from the opener against South Carolina State, a game in which he had 14 points and four rebounds in the Dons’ 91-52 win. …

Allonzo Trier was entering his senior season at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev. Trier scored 50 points on 18 of 32 shooting the day after (Nov. 14) in an 82-62 win over Westwind Prep Academy.

— Fun Fact: Verlin and Sean Miller are just two of five sets of brothers coaching in the college ranks. Ron’s twin brother Don is the head coach at Idaho while Sean’s brother, Archie, is the head coach at Dayton. Can you name the other three? One of the brothers coaches in the Pac-12? Answer below.

— The Tigers did not travel to Tucson with three starters — forward Eric Thompson, center Sami Eleraky and wing Alec Kobre — while the school conducts an investigation along with the NCAA regarding allegations of academic misconduct. Not a great way to start the season for both teams, actually. Miller and his staff must guard against complacency and loss of focus from Arizona, which at times looked out of sync in last year’s opener against Mount St. Mary’s. …

— Pacific senior guard Alec Kobre played at Santa Rosa Junior College under former Arizona standout Craig McMillan. Kobre helped lead McMillan’s team to the California Community College Athletic Association State Tournament title with a team-high 17 points in the title game victory over San Bernardino Valley in 2014. Kobre earned state tournament Most Valuable Player honors and was also named Honorable Mention All-State in 2013-14.

“Alec took over the leadership spot this year,” McMillan told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat after that season. “He was more than ready. I had confidence Alec would do well, but I never expected him to have the year he did.”

Kobre averaged 6 points a game and shot 38.6 from three-point range last year for Pacific.

— Answer to Fun Fact: The Division I brother combinations are the Drews — Scott (Baylor) and Bryce (Valpariaso); The Verlins – Don (Idaho) and Ron (Pacific); The Hurleys – Bobby (Arizona State) and Dan (Rhode Island); The Jones – Joe (Boston U.) and James (Yale); and The Millers – Archie and Sean.

Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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Matchup: Pacific (0-0) at No. 12 Arizona (0-0)

Location: McKale Center

Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro/Matt Muehlebach)

Radio: 1290-AM (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen), 990-AM (Spanish)

Probable starters for Arizona

G Kadeem Allen (6-3 junior)

G Gabe York (6-3 senior)

F Mark Tollefsen (6-9 senior)

F Ryan Anderson (6-9 senior)

C Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0 senior)

Probable starters for Pacific

G T.J. Wallace (6-3 junior)

G David Taylor (6-3 junior)

F Ray Bowles (6-3 sophomore)

F Ilias Theodorou (6-7 sophomore)

C Jacob Lampkin (6-9 sophomore)




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