Washington (14-12) will probably have to finish with a winning record in order to receive an invitation to the NIT. The Huskies play at Arizona and Arizona State this week.
GAME: Washington (14-12 overall, 6-7, Pac-12) at Arizona (21-4 overall, 9-4 Pac-12). WHEN: Wednesday, 8 p.m., McHale Center, Tucson. TYPE: Conference. MEETING: 74th (Arizona leads 45-28). STREAKS: UW W 1; Arizona L 2. RANKINGS: Arizona 12 AP, 12 USA Today. COACHES: Lorenzo Romar, Washington; Sean Miller, Arizona. TV: ESPN2. RADIO: KJR 950 AM
Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies wrap up the road portion of their regular-season schedule this week with a pair of games in Arizona. A victory against either the Wildcats Wednesday or the Sun Devils Saturday would significantly boost UW’s chances of receiving an invitation to the NIT and extending a mostly disappointing season for the Huskies (14-12).
Washington has won five of its past seven meetings against Arizona, but is just 7-27 all-time in Tucson. The most recent UW victory there occurred Jan. 18, 2012, when Tony Wroten Jr. blocked Josiah Turner’s layup at the buzzer to preserve a 69-67 win, Washington’s first on the Wildcats’ court since 2006.
Washington has not won back-to-back contests in Tucson since Marv Harshman-coached teams won three in a row from 1982-84, and has not defeated a ranked Arizona team in Tucson since 2004. The Huskies, who lost to Arizona in Alaska Airlines Arena 57-53 Jan. 31, will be trying to avoid a season sweep by the Wildcats, something they have done just twice against Romar-coached teams (2003, 2007).
The numbers are not only stacked against Washington Wednesday, but date to the recent past. The Huskies are 0-4 against ranked teams this season (0-2 at home, 0-1 on the road, 0-1 on a neutral court) and have dropped eight straight to ranked foes. In all, Washington has lost 12 of its last 13 to ranked opponents dating to 2010. UW’s last victory over a ranked team on the road was in 2009 when Washington defeated No. 14 Arizona State 73-70 in overtime.
The Huskies, who defeated an unimpressive Oregon State team by 10 points in Seattle Sunday, have lost seven of their past nine after starting conference play 4-0.
The key individual matchup likely will be C.J. Wilcox vs. Arizona’s Nick Johnson. In their first meeting this season, Johnson led the Wildcats with 15 points, including five in the final two minutes, hounded Wilcox into foul trouble and held Washington’s leading scorer to 11 points, nine below his average in conference play.
Mark Lyons leads Arizona with a 15.3 average and Solomon Hill averages 13.7 with Johnson at 11.8.
“I think Arizona has more pieces in place than they’ve ever had,” Romar told reporters this week. “They have four perimeter players who are tough as nails. They get after it. Nick Johnson is only a sophomore and is playing beyond his years. They have really good size, they’re long, and they’re tough.”
Washington is 5-8 against the RPI Top 100, but 2-7 against the RPI Top 50 and 0-4 against AP ranked teams (Arizona is ranked 10th in RPI and 12th by The Associated Press). While the Huskies have two quality wins against RPI No. 22 Colorado and No. 45 Saint Louis, they also have four bad losses to RPI 166 Oregon State, RPI 161 Utah, RPI 125 Nevada, and RPI 178 Albany.
“I’m not looking to next year,” Romar said. “We want to get consistent down the stretch this season.”
SERIES: Dates to Dec. 29, 1964, when Arizona defeated the Huskies 77-63 in the Los Angeles Classic. Washington has won three of the past four against the Wildcats, but lost the last one 57-53. Washington roared out to an 11-point lead, but couldn’t sustain it as the Wildcats held leading scorer C.J. Wilcox to 4-for-16 shooting. Scott Suggs added 11 points and Aziz N’Diaye had 11 rebounds. Nick Johnson led the Wildcats with 15 points.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (325-212 overall, 232-122 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
ARIZONA NOTES: The Wildcats began the season with a 16-game winning streak, which included a victory in the Diamond Head Classic, before losing to Oregon 70-66 in Eugene Jan. 10. Arizona won two more before dropping an 84-73 decision to UCLA. Arizona reeled off four more wins, lost two and is coming off a 68-64 victory at Utah. The Wildcats blew a 13-point lead coming down the stretch but held on for the victory. Mark Lyons scored 18 points . . . Arizona ranks 2nd in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (73.6), 4th in scoring defense (63.0), 1st in scoring margin (+10.6), 2nd in free throw percentage (74.4), 4th in 3-point percentage (35.6), 1st in defensive rebounds (30.3) and second in rebound margin (+6.5).
ARIZONA HEAD COACH: Sean Miller is in his fourth year as head coach of the Wildcats and is nearing his third 20-win season. Under Miller’s direction, the Wildcats went 30-8 two years ago and 23-12 last season. Miller began his head coaching career at Xavier in 2004-05 and coached there for five seasons, compiling a record of 120-47. He made four NCAA Tournament appearances. Miller is a 1992 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
COMING UP: After playing at Arizona State Saturday, the Huskies return to Alaska Airlines Arena to close out the regular season with games against Washington State March 3, USC March 6 and UCLA March 9.
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.||—||—||L||74-66||12-7|
|2/16/13||vs. Oregon St.||—||—||W||72-62||14-12|
|4/6/13||#Final 4 Semi||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/8/13||#Final 4 Champ.||—||—||—||—||—|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=NCAA Tournament