Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said Aziz N’Diaye, who was benched last Saturday at Arizona, will return to the staring lineup.
He also said Scott Suggs, who strained his left MCL last week, will miss his second straight game as well as Sunday’s rematch against Washington State. The junior guard still walks with a limp and he appeared at practice with a bag of ice strapped to his knee.
“No one anticipates something is torn or anything like that,” Romar said. “It’s just sprained and it takes time to get back right.”
Senior guard Venoy Overton moved into the starting lineup in the previous game, but Romar was unsure if he’d stay there for tomorrow’s 7 p.m. game against Seattle University.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll practice today and look at the matchups and all of that and then we’ll make a decision.”
HERE’S THE REST OF ROMAR’S PRESS CONFERENCE:
(On C.J. Wilcox’s past two games) “He was really good. He did a lot of things. Eight rebounds against Arizona State. He shot the ball well. He defended. He played with energy. He did a lot of good things. It’s good to see that after him being out and losing his rhythm a little bit. It’s good to see him rebound from that experience.”
(Is there a different focus now that winning the Pac-10 title is improbable?) “It only becomes a different focus if now we start to play a different way. I think the focus on how we approach each game remains the same. We’re out trying to be the best team that we can be. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that’s going to translate into a Pac-10 championship, but that still can’t take away from out goal of being playing to our potential.”
(On the importance of the No. 2 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament) “It makes a difference. My philosophy always is once you get to tournament play of any kind, whatever is thrown your way is thrown you way. You have to deal with it. Whatever seed you are. Whatever opponent you have to play, you’ve got to deal with it. You can’t look back. However, if you have the opportunity to be a 2 seed as opposed to 3 you’re playing an opponent that played a game already. Who knows. That’s an overtime game. That game goes down to the wire. Guys play a lot of minutes. Maybe they’re not as fresh. But they also get the jitters out that first game too.”
(Is it easier to turn the page after Arizona?) “Out of all our games this year, the Texas A&M game was really, really difficult to swallow because there was a lot of things we didn’t do right. The Arizona game – they’re all tough to swallow.”
(Do you know what your margin of error is for an NCAA at-large bid?) “I think we’ve done a lot, but I also in talking to our team just making sure we come ready to play each game. I know it is time to start talking about that, but I think we’re in the position that if we take care of our own business we’ll be fine. We can’t stumble right now. I don’t know if that means one game or two games. I just know we have four games where we don’t leave Seattle before we go to the Pac-10 Tournament. And we need to try to take advantage of that.”
— Romar said Washington can draw from the experience of winning nine straight games to advance to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 last season.
— Romar said Washington planned to work on its defensive rotations during Monday’s practice. He lamented being outrebounded 40-25 at Arizona last Saturday. He said: “Some of that had to do with Aziz playing only nine minutes. Since Aziz had been starting we hadn’t been outrebounded that much. I think one time. I think he makes a difference in that regards. But at the same time in our rotation the guy rebounds because we didn’t rotate well. So we have to do a better job at that.”
(On if playing a great game on national TV may have impressed the NCAA tournament selection committee) “I think so. When you watch that game, that was a great college basketball game. I think when you watch those two teams playing out there, it has to cross your mind that they’re going to be very competitive in postseason play. It’s one thing to read about it, but to actually see it I think that would impress people more.”
(On playing at KeyArena) “We’ll treat our locker room like it’s the hotel. We’ll leave from here. We’ll go over. We’ll have a shootaround. We’ll have our pre-game meal here. And treat it just like a road game. The campus here will be more of our hotel.”
(Any hard feelings after the rough play from Seattle U. last year?) “Not at all. We know each other too well.”
IN CASE YOU DON’T FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER AND MISSED IT:
— The Pac-10 released the times and TV schedule for the last week in the regular season. UCLA plays at Washington 6 p.m. March 3 and it will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2. On March 5, UW hosts USC at 7:30 p.m. on FSN.
— Arizona’s Derrick Williams was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. He’s a three-time winner this season along with UW’s Isaiah Thomas. If the Huskies had won Saturday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning would likely have won his second POW this week.
— The Wildcats also improved to No. 10 in both polls.