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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 28, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Arizona — Keys to the Game

Here’s some info on tomorrow’s game in Arizona.
Records: Washington 15-4, 6-1; Arizona 12-8, 2-5. Where: McKale Center (14,545). Time: 5:30 p.m. TV: FSN NW Radio: KJR-AM
No. 1: Run, run, run — Coach Lorenzo Romar doesn’t give up much during interviews, but this week he gave a peek at the scouting report on the Wildcats when he said the coaching staff spent a lot of time studying UA’s wins against Gonzaga and Kansas. In both games, Arizona held the Zags to 39 percent shooting and KU to 36 percent shooting. The UW is shooting 45.9 in Pac-10 games. A consistent running game helps offensively and wears out the UA’s talented Big Three which leads to the second key to the game.
No. 2: Pound the supporting cast — It’s unlikely the Huskies will shut down Jordan Hill (18.4 ppg, 11.9 rpg), Chase Budinger (17.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Nic Wise (13.2 ppg., 4.6 apg) because they’ve been fairly consistent. They account for 70 percent of the offense and they will get their numbers. No other starter, however, averages more than 4.4 points per game. So the trick is to contain the Big Three and hammer the Wildcats second unit. Watch out for reserve F Jamelle Horne, the Pac-10 Player of the Week Dec. 19, has the potential to have a big night like he did against Kansas when he finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
No. 3: Get to the line — In the win against Gonzaga, Arizona limited the Zags to just 11 free throws. If the Huskies attempt 11 FTs, they’ll lose. They were able to win at Washington State and Oregon State while attempting just 14 and 15 FTs respectively. But Washington needs to stay aggressive offensively and force the tempo. The UW averages a Pac-10 high 30 FTA attempts in conference games, which is largely because they’ve had the benefit of home crowds. Hill and Wise (he’s fouled out twice) have a propensity to collect fouls, which should help the UW’s cause.
No. 4: Start fast — UA interim coach Russ Pennell said this week the Cats “hope to finish the season out strong,” which is an odd sentiment halfway into the season and suggests the team is lacking in confidence. Last Saturday’s 96-90 overtime win against Houston did little to make anyone forget UA’s three-game losing streak in conference play. Arizona is a team teetering on the edge. They’ve been blown out before. UCLA raced out to a 14-5 lead and cruised to a 23-point win two weeks ago.
No. 5: Turnovers— Both teams like a fast pace. Arizona is 7-1 when scoring 70 or more points and Washington is 16-2 in those games. The Cats, however, are the second worst team in the Pac-10 at forcing turnovers and they’re No. 3 (13.1 avg.) in committing turnovers. That’s a losing combination. Washington is recklass with the ball and averages 13.6 TOs, but it leads the conference in forcing turnovers and steals.
Matchup to watch: Jon Brockman vs. Jordan Hill. This should be fun. Both are rebounding monsters, ranking 1 and 2 in the conference respectively. Last season, Brockman got the better of the matchup averaging 19.5 points to Hill’s 13. The battle between Isaiah Thomas and Wise should also provide sparks because Wise is a gritty defender who doesn’t back down from anybody.
Check back later and Bob will give his picks for Thursday’s game.

Comments | Topics: UCLA


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