You’re not necessarily supposed to know this, but Washington is playing Portland today in a secret, closed-door scrimmage at Chiles Center.
Fans and media can’t attend due to NCAA rules that also prohibit coaches and players from talking specifically about the scrimmage.
The Pilots should provide a good test for the the Huskies, which is integrating eight newcomers with seven returners. The eight newcomers include transfers Perris Blackwell and Gilles Dierickx, who were with the team last year. Another newcomer is junior-college transfer Mike Anderson, transfer Robert Upshaw, who isn’t eligible this season, and walk-on Connor Smith.
Coach Lorenzo Romar has settled on a lineup – he declines to announce the starters – and wants to see players respond under game-like situations. He also wants to take a look at the rotation and plans to experiment with pairings on Saturday.
After a foul-fest intrasquad scrimmage last Saturday, Romar said the Huskies need to show a better understanding of the new defensive rules, which prohibit hand-checking and limit charge calls.
Both teams will likely play a 20-minute half and 10-minute periods that stress zone defense, press defense and late-game situations.
Romar placed a fair amount of importance on today’s performance.
“This is going to give us a great opportunity to see where we’re at,” he said.
Washington was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 in a preseason media poll.
Portland, which was picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll of league coaches in the 10-team West Coast Conference, is also facing low expectations after an 11-21 record last season and a 4-11 mark in the WCC. The Pilots return five starters including senior forward Ryan Nicholas and 6-11 center Thomas van der Mars.
Forward Kevin Bailey, who was second in scoring for Portland last season, led the Pilots with 19 points in a 92-77 win over Division II Concordia-Irvine last Saturday.
The Huskies have beaten the Pilots in eight of the past nine games. However, five years ago Washington opened the 2008-09 season at Portland and suffered an embarrassing 80-74 that spoiled Isaiah Thomas’ collegiate debut. The game proved to be an early wake-up call for a UW team that finished 26-9 and advanced to the NCAA tournament.