The Washington Huskies started Pac-12 play with three consecutive road wins, a feat they last accomplished in 1912. UW now launches its home conference season against Colorado.
GAME: Colorado (11-5 overall, 1-3 Pac-12) at Washington (11-5 overall, 3-0, Pac-12). WHEN: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle. TYPE: Conference. MEETING: 15th (series tied 7-7). STREAKS: UW W 3; Colorado L 1. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Tad Boyle, Colorado; Lorenzo Romar, Washington. TV: Pac-22 Networks. RADIO: KJR 950 AM
Perfect in Pac-12 play (3-0), the Washington Huskies begin a two-game home stand by meeting defending conference tournament champion Colorado, which will make its first Seattle appearance as a member of the league. The Buffaloes are 1-3 in conference play, but two of the defeats were administered by No. 7 Arizona (92-83) and No. 24 UCLA (78-75).
Washington has won nine of its past 11 games after starting the season 3-3 and will try to start the conference season 4-0 for just the fourth time since 1982 (also 1982, 1984, 2011).
The Huskies still don’t have much of an offense, other than guard C.J. Wilcox, ranking seventh in the Pac-12 at 69.8 points per game, lowest in Lorenzo Romar’s tenure as head coach. But Washington has significantly improved its defense. In non-conference play, the Huskies allowed 67.6 points per game. In three Pac-12 games, UW is yielding just 56.7, best in the league.
“It’s kind of attitude we have now on the floor, aggressive and tough minded,” said Romar. “It just clicked in and it coincided with guys coming back from injuries. I think guys also understand their roles better.”
No player has picked it up defensively more than C.J. Wilcox, the current Pac-12 Player of the Week and also the UW’s leading scorer (19.0). In wins at California and Stanford last weekend, Wilcox not only scored a combined 46 points, he had three blocked shots and a steal.
Wilcox, a guard, leads Washington in blocked shots with 22 (Aziz N’Diaye has 21). UW hasn’t had a guard lead the team since Brandon Roy in 2005-06. Roy had 26 that season, just four more Wilcox has with more than half the season remaining.
Washington faces a club with two of the best sophomore guards in the country, 6-foot-1 Askia Booker (14.9 ppg) and 6-foot-6 Spencer Dinwiddie (14.4). The Buffaloes also feature the league’s No. 15 scorer, Josh Scott (13.4), and its leading rebounder, Andre Roberson (11.8). Roberson is also ranked No. 3 in the Pac-12 in steals at 2.06 per game.
Booker and Dinwiddie combined for 25 points last year against the Huskies in Boulder and Roberson had 12 rebounds.
“Colorado is very good defensively and has as many or more weapons than Stanford,” Romar said. “This is going to be a tough challenge for us. Colorado is probably the best 1-3 conference team in the country.”
Despite UW’s 3-0 start, Romar said neither he, nor his players, are satisfied.
“This isn’t good enough to win the league,” Romar added. “We still have to get better. We have to try to improve and not rest on the fact that we won our first three.”
SERIES: Dates to Dec. 30, 1953, when the Huskies lost to the Buffaloes 81-60 in the Big Seven Tournament in Kansas City. Washington has lost two of the past three meetings, including an 87-69 decision last year shortly after Colorado became a member of the Pac-12. In that game, Washington shot just 37 percent. Tony Wroten with 21 and Terrence Ross with 13 were the only Huskies in double figures.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (322-206 overall, 229-116 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
COLORADO NOTES: Colorado ranks 6th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (73.3), 10th in scoring defense (66.9), 7th in scoring margin (+5.4), 5th in FG percentage (45.9), 10th in FT percentage (65.7), 3rd in 3-FG percentage (36.8) and 7th in rebound margin (+4.1) . . . Colorado opened the season with a six-game winning streak before losing at Wyoming Dec. 19. The Buffaloes won four of their next five before losing a pair at Arizona and Arizona State to open the conference season. Colorado defeated USC 66-60 Jan. 10 and is coming off a 78-75 loss to UCLA . . . Colorado has played the most games (11) decided under 10 points in the conference and has a 7-4 record.
COLORADO HEAD COACH: Tad Boyle is in his third year as head coach and has taken the Buffaloes to two postseason appearances, the 2010-11 NIT and the 2011-12 NCAA Tournament. The Buffs earned their NCAA Tournament appearance by winning the Pac-12 tournament, earning him NCAA District Coach of the Year honors. Prior to joining Colorado, Boyle spent four years as head coach at Northern Colorado.
COMING UP: The Huskies face Utah Saturday before heading to Oregon to face the Ducks and Beavers.
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||7-4|
|12/22/12||vs. N. Illinois||—||—||W||67-57||8-4|
|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