Huskies Set To Play Arizona On Senior Night

Washington. Arizona. A re-match of last season’s Pac-12 championship game that Gus Johnson so eloquently commentated on (if you are ever feeling down, watch this. Watch it a lot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEGP6nBiub8). If Arizona wins, they find themselves in a heated battle for first place. If they lose, they are essentially eliminated from the Pac-12 regular season race. The Huskies need to win to keep pace with California at the top of the league. Let’s just say there is A LOT at stake. To keep the momentum going, Saturday is Senior Night for one of Washington’s most decorated players to come through this program in Darnell Gant. The game will also mark beloved senior Brendan Sherrer’s last game in Hec Ed as Husky. As icing on the cake, Isaiah Thomas, Mr. Cold Blooded himself, began his stay in the Sacramento Kings’ starting lineup on Friday night. So yeah, this game is a pretty damn big deal.

 

The Basics

Noon. PST. ROOT. Alaska Airlines Arena.


Washington Huskies (18-8; 11-3)
Arizona Wildcats (19-8, 10-4)

G

Abdul Gaddy

6’3

G

Nick Johnson

6’2

G

Tony Wroten

6’5

G

Josiah Turner

6’3

G/F

Terrence Ross

6’6

G

Kyle Fogg

6’3

F

Desmond Simmons

6’7

F

Solomon Hill

6’6

C

Aziz N’Diaye

7’0

C

Jesse Perry

6’7

MORE AFTER THE JUMP!

Breaking Down The Wildcats

Arizona has won five games in a row following their heartbreaking home loss at the hands of the Huskies. UA took down California, Stanford and Wazzu on the road, no easy task, as well as sweeping Colorado and Utah at home. The Wildcats have averaged 70.2 points per game during that span while only giving up just 61.4. Senior guard Kyle Fogg has led the way for Arizona, averaging 17 points per game over that span.

The Wildcats have a small starting lineup and are not afraid to show it. UA gets scrappy on the boards, losing the rebounding battle against a much taller UW team by 3 in the last meeting. Arizona ranks fourth in the conference with 39 rebounds per game.

UA makes up for their lack of depth with productivity from certain individuals off the bench. Brendon Lavender scored 17 points off the bench against Washington State on Thursday to lead Arizona to a four-point win. Angelo Chol is the other main option off the bench for the Wildcats, averaging nearly 12 minutes per game.

Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry outshined Arizona’s supposed stellar guard play in the last game between the two teams, combining for 41 points and 23 rebounds on 12-24 shooting. Hill went 9-10 from the field and finished with 28 points and 11 boards.

 

The Starting Five: Keys to the Game

The First Ten Minutes: Arizona is coming into the game on a five game winning streak and desperately looking for revenge following the Dawgs’ two-point win in Tuscon. UW played a strong first thirty minutes of basketball against ASU before losing intensity and allowing the Sun Devils to sneak back into the game. The Huskies can and will get buried early if they come out flat.

Pace: Washington was able to control the pace against ASU on Thursday and Arizona will most likely be willing to run alongside the Dawgs. UW has decided that they will control the pace only when playing at home and luckily, the game on Saturday is in Seattle. If this game gets fast, it is absolutely necessary for the Huskies to go against their trend of giving up easy baskets in transition.

Controlling Arizona’s “Bigs”: If Solomon Hill didn’t have a career game last time out against UW, Tony Wroten wouldn’t have needed to salvage the game with a thunderous block at the buzzer. Hill and Perry were the two most active Wildcats on offense in that game. N’Diaye picked up 12 points himself against the smaller big men, but lost the battle overall. Look to see Romar have sets with including a combination of Gant, Simmons and/or Kemp Jr. to contain the Wildcats’ agile big men.

Guards With Star Power: Both teams have three guards that are incredibly talented basketball players. The Huskies won this battle in Tuscon behind a combined 48-point effort by their three-headed monster of Ross, Wilcox and Wroten. Don’t look for Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner and Kyle Fogg to go down so easily this time.

The Power of Gus Johnson: I am convinced that Gus Johnson has never called a non-exciting game once in his career as a broadcaster. Expect nothing else on Saturday afternoon. Gus Johnson will make any and every game exciting, so please, watch this game. I can promise you it will be exhilarating. It’s the Law of Gus Johnson.

 

Prediction

I am very worried about a slow start from the Dawgs because of both Thursday’s finish and the noon start time (tired players, hung-over Dawg Pack, etc). That said, it’s senior night. The players will get up for this game. The Huskies guards are better than Arizona’s and I don’t see Solomon Hill going off again. UW prevails in a tight one, 76-69.

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