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BAD BLOOD : Tonight's Featured Matchup, USC's Bibby vs. Arizona's Bibby, Goes Way Beyond Basketball

January 16, 1997|CHRIS DUFRESNE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bibby has not disappointed. The first freshman to start for Arizona since Elliott, Bibby made his debut with a 22-point game in an upset of North Carolina in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

He currently ranks third in the Pac-10 in assists, 6.3 per game, and fourth in steals at 2.6, while averaging 12.7 points.

No one knows how Mike will react playing against his father. He is already famous for his basketball poker face.

"I've never seen him change his demeanor on the court," Olson says.

Conner expects Mike will be nervous.

"He'll be chewing his fingernails, like he always does," Conner says. "But when the game starts, there's just something about him. Between the lines, Mike is a performer. I've never seen anyone like him."

Bibby's poise will be tested. Would anyone in his situation not be tempted to flash a steely glare to the opposing bench after a made basket?

Bibby told the Arizona Daily Star the divorce is hurting his mother.

"I can see it sometimes gets her down," Bibby said. "But she tries not to let us know. I've been around her so long, I know when something is bothering her. Yeah, I think about it [the divorce] a lot."

Asked if she thought Mike loved his father, Virginia hedges.

"That's a sticky question," she says. "Right now, there's so much going on. I'm sure there is some love, but he [Mike] doesn't like him [Henry], I think that might be it. Or like what he represents now. Just what he is now, what he's about now. He is his father, he knows he's his father, but there's a lot I can't go into."

Virginia and Henry have been separated 10 years. She sued Henry for divorce in 1994 but refuses to settle. The case is schedule to be heard next month in Phoenix.

Asked again about his son at his weekly Monday news conference, Henry said, "I'm not going to get into that."

Bibby says tonight is another game, not a personal thing.

Just like every other game you coach against the son who didn't want to play for you with his mother staring daggers at you from the stands.

"I guarantee you, despite what he says, deep down, I know what he wants to do," Virginia says. "I guarantee you, deep down, he wants to beat Mike."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

How Bibby Ranks

\o7 How Mike Bibby ranks in assists and steals per game in the Pacific 10 Conference. The top five:\f7

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PLAYER, SCHOOL AST Knight, Stanford 7.6 McCruder, California 7.2 Bibby, Arizona 6.3 Terry, Arizona 5.5 Cunningham, Oregon State 5.3 PLAYER, SCHOOL STL Terry, Arizona 3.0 Rhodes, USC 2.7 Dollar, UCLA 2.7 Bibby, Arizona 2.6 Knight, Stanford 2.6

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