The Washington Huskies (12-8 overall, 4-3 conference) begin another pivotal weekend of Pac-12 play by welcoming the eighth ranked Arizona Wildcats to Alaska Airlines Arena tonight. Arizona (17-2, 5-2) felt life breathed into their conference hopes with Oregon's loss to Stanford last night, and Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar expects the Wildcats' best shot tonight.
"We need to play at our highest level," said Coach Romar, who is 13-10 against the Wildcats in 11 seasons as UW's coach. "And we need our crowd to be at its highest level.
Arizona is led in scoring by a pair of seniors. Guard Mark Lyons sets the pace with 14.9 ppg, with forward Solomon Hill just a tick behind at 13.5 points per outing. Sophomore guard Nick Johnson is the only other Wildcat in double figures with a scoring average of 13.3.
Arizona is a strong rebounding team, albeit without the big banger that dominates on the glass. The Cats average 38 boards per game (compared to Washington's 36) and have no fewer than four players averaging between five and six rebounds a game.
Washington will counter with a wave of guards who can light up the night in any given game. C.J. Wilcox (19.0/ppg) is the Huskies bell cow but Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, and Andrew Andrews have all made their presence known in conference play. Senior center Aziz N'Diaye cleans the glass for Washington, averaging 9.2 boards per outing.
Las Vegas lists Arizona as a 4 1/2 point favorite. Washington is glad to be back home and should give the Cats a run but 4 1/2 might be a little light. Take Arizona, give the points and spend your winnings on a partial season ticket for the Seattle Mariners. After all, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than three weeks.