Washington hoopsters get another potential walkover game against 2-8 North Illinois of the MAC Saturday, the first of two opponents named Huskies.
GAME: Northern Illinois (2-8 overall, 0-0 Mid-American) at Washington (6-4 overall, 0-0, Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. TYPE: Non-conference. MEETING: 1st. STREAKS: UW W 2; Northern Illinois L 3. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Mark Montgomery, Northern Illinois; Lorenzo Romar, Washington. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: KKNW 1150 (moved to accommodate Husky football game).
What are the odds of this? Washington’s next two opponents — Northern Illinois Saturday and UConn Dec. 29 — are both are nicknamed “Huskies.” While it will take a major effort by Washington to knock off UConn (UW is 0-3 all-time against UConn) in Hartford, CT., UW should enter that game well fed after feasting on the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Not only is underclassman-dominated Northern Illinois (third least-experienced team in Division 1) 2-8 with a bunch of double-digit losses, it fell to Seattle U. 75-48. Washington beat the Redhawks 87-74 at KeyArena two weeks ago.
NIU has played in the state of Washington just once, Dec. 27, 1965, when the Huskies lost to Seattle Pacific, 104-85.
To some degree, NIU’s lack of success so far can be attributed to inexperience. Freshmen have played 62.7 percent of the team’s minutes while sophomores have added 20.3 percent. Ten of the 15 players making up the roster are underclassmen. Also notable about NIU:
Washington, which should beat Northern Illinois easily, has won three in a row for the first time this season, five of its last six and is coming off a 75-62 romp over Cal Poly that elated Romar.
“I think our guys put out the best defensive effort of the year in terms of our concentration and focus,” said Romar. “Executing our defensive game plan, I thought our guys did a really good job.”
Romar also liked the fact that the Huskies started aggressively, which they haven’t always done this season. That was partly due, Romar indicated, to having a full rotation available — all 10 scholarship players available for the first time this season.
“You could see some good things,” Romar said. “We take the Seattle U game, the first 12 minutes of Jackson State and now this game, now there is a pattern going the other way. It’s a positive way. I think this makes us head in the right direction. Are we there yet? No. But what we did, the way we went about our business is more like what we would want from our team.”
SERIES: UW Huskies have never faced Northern Illinois, but are 5-1 against members of the Mid-American Conference. Washington last played a MAC team in 1980 (Toledo). The NIU Huskies are 0-3 all-time against members of the Pac-12 Conference with a pair of losses to Arizona and a defeat to Utah. None of those three contests took place while the school was a member of the Pac-12, Saturday’s contest will be NIU’s first against a school that was a member of the Pac-12 at the time of the contest.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (318-205 overall, 225-117 UW) is coming off a year in which the Huskies won the Pac-12 regular-season title. 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. He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach on Jan. 21, 2012. 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 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.
2012-13 Washington Statistics
NORTHERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Northern Illinois has defeated Judson (72-54) and SIU-Edwardsville (65-54) and lost to Nebraska-Omaha (77-64), Valpairiso (69-46), Loyola (53-46), UIC (58-46), Dayton (60-43), Milwaukee (80-73), DePaul (69-54) and Seattle U. (75-48) . . .NIU was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason conference media poll. Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, followed by Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, NIU and Central Michigan.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HEAD COACH: Mark Montgomery is in his second year as head coach at Northern Illinois. A Michigan native, Montgomery came to Northern Illinois after serving four years as an assistant coach at Central Michigan. He also had a 10-year stint as an assistant at Michigan State. Montgomery won four letters in basketball at Michigan State from 1988-92.
COMING UP: The Huskies travel to Hartford, CT., Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies Dec. 29. That will conclude the non-conference portion of Washington’s schedule. UW opens its Pac-12 season Jan. 5 at Washington State.
University of Washington 2012-13 Schedule
(Rankings From Associated Press)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/11/12||@vs. W. Washington||—||—||W||88-78||0-0|
|11/17/12||*vs. Seton Hall||—||—||W||84-73||2-1|
|11/18/12||*vs. Ohio St.||—||4||L||77-66||2-2|
|11/24/12||vs. Colo. St.||—||—||L||73-55||2-3|
|11/28/12||vs. Saint Louis||—||—||W||66-61||3-3|
|12/13/12||at Seattle U.||—||—||W||87-74||5-4|
|12/15/12||vs. Jackson St.||—||—||W||75-67||6-4|
|12/20/12||vs. Cal Poly||—||—||W||75-62||—|
|12/22/12||vs. N. Illinois||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/23/13||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/13||vs. Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/6/13||#Final 4 Semi||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/8/13||#Final 4 Champ.||—||—||—||—||—|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=NCAA Tournament