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Husky Men's Basketball

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January 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Friday notes

UCLA just concluded its practice at Hec Ed, while the Huskies are about to start theirs in preparation for what looms as the biggest regular-season game for Washington in three years. Tipoff is now about 22 hours away.
Not that UW coach Lorenzo Romar wants to get too caught up in any of the hype.
“If we were playing New Jersey Tech we would approach it the same way,” Romar said. “We really would.”
That said, he admits that “our players aren’t living in a cave” and understand what could happen with a UW win tomorrow — sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 and a likely Top 25 ranking.
“Our guys are aware of it, but it’s not something we continue to remind them about,” Romar said.
What players on both sides are also aware of is UW’s unlikely four-game winning streak against UCLA at Hec Ed.
The streak dates to the 2004-05 season, the first of two straight Sweet 16s for the Huskies. The first two years that UW won here made sense. But wins the last two years for UW over UCLA were upsets that were basically the highlights of the season for the Huskies.
“I don’t know if I can (explain it),” Romar said. “I’m not going to sit here and say we’ve got their number. It’s not like that at all.”
Here are a few other notes and quotes from today’s media session:
— Romar said Jon Brockman’s 0-for-8 game from the floor was due in large part to USC’s defensive strategy to pack in the middle, with triangle-and-two and box-and-one defenses, as well as the presence of Trojans big man Taj Gibson, one of the best defenders in the country. But he also said again that Brockman is not 100 percent while dealing with a sprained ankle suffered last month. Romar said Brockman needs 2-3 weeks of rest to recover fully but that “he doesn’t want to do that and I don’t know if we could afford it.”
— Romar, however, also said he isn’t worried about Brockman, saying “Jon is going to be fine.” He pointed out that USC held Arizona State’s James Harden to four points last week using the same strategy and said that if that kind of game can happen to Harden, it can happen to anyone.
— USC’s defensive strategy was also a reason Isaiah Thomas was held to one point in the first half. Thomas broke loose for 16 in the secondn half, in part after USC’s foul trouble caused it to go away from its zone defenses. But Romar also praised the maturity of Thomas saying that ‘I don’t think he forced one shot” in the first half.
— When teams play the way USC did, he said, it opens things up for others, and he said again it’s a sign of UW’s greater depth this year that the Huskies were able to take advantage. “That’s what happens in that scenario, others stepped up,” he said.
— The game will be the first collegiate matchup for brothers Justin Holiday of UW and Jrue Holiday of UCLA. The two have apparently never really faced each other in an organized game. Romar joked that the first thing that would happen is that they will each get a flagrant foul guarding the other, if the games are anything like their backyard battles. “I imagine that will be interesting,” Romar said of the Holiday matchup.
— Romar said Justin Holiday could be used to guard Jrue but it will also simply be a matter of finding the right matchup at the right time. That led to a discussion of Holiday’s defensive value to UW, and Romar said that if this were like football, Holiday would never be off the field on defense.
— Romar was asked again about the officiating and tried to steer clear as much as he could. But he said that the way the game was called showed UW’s greater versatility this year. “We’re more of a veteran team this year and we just understand how to play through it,” he said.
— UW played a lot of 1-3-1 zone and trapping last night and Romar also said that’s a sign of Washington’s versatility, saying the Huskies have more “interchangeable parts” to be able to play more varied defenses this season.
All for now.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA

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