BY SPNW Staff 05:43PM 03/26/2012

Huskies Vs. Minnesota In Big Apple Showdown

Washington is appearing in a postseason tournament for the fifth consecutive year. In all, the Huskies are playing in their eighth postseason under Lorenzo Romar.

Washington shooting guard C.J. Wilcox has averaged 17.33 points per game during the Huskies' run through the National Invitation Tournament. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

GAME: Minnesota (23-14, 6-12 Big Ten) vs. Washington (24-10, 14-4 Pac-12). WHEN: Tuesday, 6 p.m., Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY. MEETING: 16th (Huskies lead 9-6). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: ESPN. RADIO: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.

Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies have parlayed a well-deserved NCAA Tournament snub into a National Invitation Tournament semifinal appearance opposite Minnesota at Madison Square Garden. A victory would put the Huskies into position to win their first-ever NIT championship. If they beat the Gophers, the Huskies will play the Stanford-Massachusetts victor.

Washington, winners of three straight after its Pac-12 Tournament ouster by Oregon State March 8, is 9-6 all-time against Minnesota, a No. 6 seed in the NIT, but the teams have not met since 1991, when the Huskies registered a 77-61 win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Minnesota (22-14) scored its biggest victory of the season Jan. 12, when the Gophers traveled to Bloomington, IN., and defeated the No. 8-ranked Hoosiers 77-74.

Lorenzo Romar

The Gophers and Huskies played three common opponents in 2011-12. Minnesota routed South Dakota State 71-55 Nov. 14. A month later, the Jackrabbits, who became an NCAA Tournament team, blasted Washington 92-73 in one of the epic losses in UW basketball history.

Minnesota also defeated Southern Cal 55-40 Dec. 3. UW posted two wins over the Trojans in Pac-12 play.

Minnesota won its season (2-1) series with Northwestern, winning 75-52 Jan. 22, losing 64-53 Feb. 18 and winning again 75-68 in OT during the Big Ten Tournament. Washington shellacked Northwestern 76-55 in the second round of the NIT.

Minnesota has an RPI of 63 after knocking off Middle Tennessee State in the NIT quarterfinals. Washington has a RPI of 50 after three straight NIT wins.

“Minnesota presents another tough challenge for us,” Romar said. “They play really good hard-nosed defense. Tubby Smith is one of the best coaches around. A tough opponent like this is what you would expect to find in the final 4 of the NIT.”

Minnesota is appearing in the NIT for the first time since 2003. Washington will be making its second visit to Madison Square Garden this season. In December, the Huskies lost to Marquette in the Jimmy V Classic and to Duke in the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic.

SERIES: Dates to Dec. 27, 1939, when the Huskies lost the first of three consecutive meetings to the Gophers, 47-41 in Seattle. Between 1950-59, the Huskies scored four consecutive wins over Minnesota. The teams last played Dec. 22, 1990, in a game in which UW’s Mike Hayward scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half, leading the Huskies, coached by Lynn Nance, to a 72-61 win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Doug Meekins aided the UW cause with nine points and 11 rebounds.

LAST GAME (Washington, March 20): Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Tony Wroten 22 and Washington held off a late rally from Pac-12 rival Oregon for a 90-86 victory. Ross made 9 of 18 shots and hit three 3-pointers after scoring a career-high 32 against Northwestern in the second round. Oregon had scored 108 points in its quarterfinal win over Iowa. Washington had its largest lead at 75-65 with 7:22 left, capping a 9-0 run.

LAST GAME (Minnesota, March 21): Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins each tallied 24 points to help Minnesota advance to the semifinals of the NIT with a 78-72 win over Middle Tennessee. Elliott Eliason added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Gophers, while Hollins also had six rebounds and four assists. Marcos Knight led Middle Tennessee (27-7) with 19 points and nine rebounds.

UW IN THE NIT: Washington is making its first appearance in the NIT since 1997 and its sixth overall. The Huskies also played in 1996, 1987, 1982 and 1980 and are 6-5 after defeating Oregon Tuesday. The Huskies have hosted five NIT games and are 4-1 in those contests.

Prior to playing UT Arlington and Northwestern last week, UW last hosted an NIT game March 16, 1987, when the Huskies defeated Boise State 73-68 (UW lost in the third round to Nebraska at Lincoln). In that game, senior guard Greg Hill scored 18 of UW’s 22 points in the final five minutes, including 15 in a row. The only other home NIT game hosted by UW was a 1982 second-rounder the Huskies dropped 69-65 to Texas A&M.

In this NIT, the Huskies reached the semifinals by defeating UT Arlington 82-72, Northwestern 76-55 and Oregon 90-86.

UW STATS/NOTES: Washington is 1-4 all-time in Madison Square Garden, its only win coming Dec. 30, 1941, when the Huskies routed New York University 72-38 . . . After dropping 90 points on Oregon in the NIT quarterfinals, Washington is scoring 75.9 ppg and allowing 70.1, a scoring margin of +5.7 . . . Washington also has a +5.2 rebound margin (40.0 to 34.8) over its opponents . . . UW has marginally increased its free throw accuracy during the NIT. Huskies are now making 62.3 percent . . . UW makes 6.2 3-pointers per game to 5.9 for its opponents . . . With a career-high 32 points against Northwestern and 24 against Oregon, Terrence Ross has taken over as UW’s scoring leader at 16.3 ppg . . . Tony Wroten is second at 16.2 and C.J. Wilcox third at 14.3.

MINNESOTA STATS/NOTES: Minnesota, 3-2 on neutral courts, is the seventh-highest scoring team in the Big Ten, averaging 68.1 ppg. The Gophers hold foes to 64.4 ppg (6th, Big Ten) . . . Minnesota has a scoring margin of +3.6 . . . Minnesota makes 70.2 percent of its free throws (to UW’s 62.3) . . . The Gophers are marginally better 3-point shooters than the Huskies, making 36.1 percent to UW’s 34.1 . . . Minnesota led the Big Ten in blocked shots at 4.9 per game . . . 6-7 forward Rodney Williams is Minnesota’s leading scorer, averaging 12.1 points, and also its leading rebounder at 5.5 . . . Andre Hollins led the Big Ten in free throw percentage at 91.6 . . . Of Minnesota’s 14 losses this season, 13 came against teams that have appeared in postseason tournaments, including four that made the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen.

COACHES: Romar is in his 10th season as Washington’s head coach. Romar has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times, and won three Pac-10 Tournament titles (2005, 2010, 2011). Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011, when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara. He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach when the Huskies won Jan. 21. Romar was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.

Romar played for the Huskies under head coach Marv Harshman during the 1979-80 seasons (served as team captain his senior year), and then had a five-year NBA career with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). He became a college head coach at Pepperdine in 1997, where he coached for three seasons, then spent three years (1999-02) at St. Louis University before taking the Washington job  in 2002-03.

Tubby Smith: Smith is in his fifth season as head coach of the Golden Gophers, and has coached them to four postseason appearances, including this NIT. In his 20-year career, Smith has claimed a National title (Kentucky in 1997-98), made four Elite Eight appearances, nine Sweet Sixteen appearances and has posted 17 straight 20-win seasons. Smith has served as head coach at Tulsa (1991-95), Georgia (1995-97), Kentucky (1997-07) and Minnesota (2007-12).

University of Washington 2011-12 Schedule/Results

(Rankings Are Current)

Date Opponent UW Rnk Opp Rnk W/L Score Rec.
11/4/11 vs. Seattle Pacific W 77-60 0-0
11/12/11 vs. Georgia State W 91-74 1-0
11/13/11 vs. Florida Atlantic W 77-71 2-0
11/14/11 vs. Portland W 93-63 3-0
11/20/11 at Saint Louis L 77-64 3-1
11/25/11 vs. Houston Baptist W 88-65 4-1
12/2/11 at Nevada L 76-73 (OT) 4-2
12/6/11 @vs. Marquette 9 L 79-77 4-3
12/10/11 #vs. Duke 6 L 86-80 4-4
12/16/11 vs. UC Santa-Barbara W 87-80 5-4
12/18/11 vs. South Dakota St. L 92-73 5-5
12/22/11 vs. Cal-State Northridge W 74-50 6-5
12/29/11 vs. Oregon State W 95-80 7-5
12/31/11 vs. Oregon W 76-60 8-5
1/5/12 at Colorado L 87-69 8-6
1/7/12 at Utah W 57-53 9-6
1/10/12 vs. Seattle U. W 91-83 10-6
1/15/12 vs. Washington St. W 75-65 11-6
1/19/12 vs. California L 69-66 11-7
1/21/12 vs. Stanford W 76-63 12-7
1/26/12 at Arizona St. W 60-54 13-7
1/28/12 at Arizona W 69-67 14-7
2/2/12 vs. UCLA W 71-69 15-7
2/4/12 vs. USC W 69-41 16-7
2/9/12 at Oregon L 82-57 16-8
2/12/12 at Oregon St. W 75-72 17-8
2/16/12 vs. Arizona State W 77-69 18-8
2/18/12 vs. Arizona W 79-70 19-8
2/25/12 at Washington St. W 59-55 20-8
3/1/12 at USC W 80-58 21-8
3/3/12 at UCLA L 75-69 21-9
3/7/12 ^Oregon St. L 86-84 21-10
3/8/12 *UT Arlington W 82-72 22-10
3/14/12 *Northwestern W 76-55 23-10
3/14/12 *Oregon W 90-86 24-10
3/14/12 *Minnesota

@=Jimmy V Classic; #=Carquest Auto Parts Classic; ^=Pac-12 tournament; *=NIT


  • RadioGuy

    LA loses 4-0 and Becks blames the refs?  Oh, and the flight was bumpy, the mint on the hotel pillow wasn’t up to par and they didn’t use Evian in the sideline water bottles…nothing to do with performance on the pitch.

    Good performance from the Sounders in a well-deserved win, even if it came against a team that might as well have been playing a PDL match with the Washington Crossfire.

    • jimc

      Hmmm was Donovan still on loan?

    • Artthiel

       Becks has a Closing Ceremony to worry about. This time he’s driving a bus with the MLS under it.

  • Obi-jonKenobi

    Apparently Carroll read Art Thiel’s column the other day.  Way to go, Art (and Carroll)!!

    I – as well as every other Seahawk fan – can’t wait to see the experiment of Wilson with the first team.

    No mention of who will run the second team but if it’s Flynn, that would be an excellent side-by-side comparison between Flynn and  Wilson as we get to see Flynn’s ability surrounded by lesser talent playing against a second-string defense.

  • RadioGuy

    Have to admit I hadn’t watched a game yet because I don’t get too excited about the preseason, but I did tune in for a couple of quarters last night.  VERY impressive.  I’d thought the Seahawks might’ve gotten a third-round steal in Wilson because of what he did in one year at Wisconsin on and off the field (I don’t listen to the “too small” worries…a player is a player), but I never expected Wilson to do this well this soon.  It IS the preseason so a lot of this might be taken with a grain of salt, but Wilson surely does look like the real deal.

    A side note:  Would he become the first QB ever to tell Terrell Owens to shut the hell up if/when TO starts shooting his mouth off about him?  I don’t get the impression Wilson is the kind of guy who’ll put up with that. even from a Hall of Fame WR.  Wilson showed very soon after arriving as a transfer in Madison last year that he can make a team “his team” in short order. 

    • Artthiel

       Those who’ve followed him closely will say they’re not surprised. He’s had “it” since grade school. He seems to have won over the locker room to the point where other vets would get in Owens face before Wilson had to speak. But I don’t think Wilson will have to worry about TO after next week.

  • osoviejo

     Art, after watching Wilson’s post-game press conference, I think you should sit him down and show him the classic Hank Stram “keep matriculating the ball down the field” clip from NFL Films.  It was pretty funny to see him use the line (in a Kansas City Chiefs post-game, no less) but it’s clear he has no idea where it comes from (or what ‘matriculate’ means).

    These kids today.

    • Artthiel

       If that’s his only flaw, I’ll see you in New Orleans for the Seahawks’ second Super Bowl.

  • Hammtime

    Excited but trying not to get too excited :)  Wilson looked d**n good last night. I want to see more!

    • Artthiel

      Carroll will see to that.

  • Bayviewherb

    Jackson and Flynn will have to flip a coin to see who rides tge bench this year.

    • RadioGuy

      Yeah, Flynn might’ve Wally Pipped himself out of a starting job by sitting out last night.

      • Artthiel

         Marshawn Lynch better get over his back problems or he’ll find himself Wilsonned by Robert Turbin.

    • Artthiel

       Then again, why not trade Flynn? Just sayin’.

  • PokeyPuffy

    Wilson has such awesome footwork!  Like a boxer or really good point guard in bball, he is always setting him self up for his next move.  Not sure how he sees defenders so well without seemingly moving his head around like other QB’s do.

    Best part of all this:  here it is late August and the term “game manager” hasn’t been used in weeks!!!!

    • Artthiel

       Not only are his feet fast, he has a quick release. That’s how he compensates for shortness. The only time height is a factor is when the bodies back up into his face. If Wilson gets the ball off a half-second faster, the crowding becomes less of an impediment. Notice how he doesn’t have to set himself before h throws. He has big hands and big arms that make for a fast trigger.

  • Jtkxyz

    Art, in light of all the post-orgasmic glow from Seattle fans over Wilson’s performance last night, I have to ask you as an insider, Do you see a weakness in Wilson’s game?  The only reason why I ask is because you mentioned in your last Seahawk’s related post that you thought Wilson would struggle against the ones.  Are we justified in going completely gaga over him, or do people in the know think he has weakness to address before he can become a legitimate NFL QB? 

    • Artthiel

       I think I wrote that the Seahawks need to find out if he will struggle against ones.   But to your point: Carroll was worried that Wilson would tend to run before a pass play gets fully developed. He’s a good runner, but NFL defenses will account for it if he bails too often. Wilson came through. He ran only twice, and the 59 yards proved the wisdom of his choices.

      The other concern is reading sophisticated defenses. KC ran a lot of stuff, and the entire offense handled it well. Inevitably, he will misread things he’s never seen, but Carroll is so impressed with his quick uptakes that they will live with the mistakes, knowing it will happen once and Wilson will have solved for it.

  • Artthiel

     Sure. Any time. Next I’ll talk McGinn into funding the Lander St. overpass in SoDo.

  • Artthiel

     It was unpleasantly loud for the visitors, but they come from a town that does neither futbol nor football.

  • Artthiel

     Wow, Blah. Don’t hold back your feelings. Go ahead and tell us what you think! But yeah, that was way too much influence to exert on a title game.