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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pac-10 turf at stake

    Pac-10 turf at stake

    The regular season culminates Saturday afternoon with the Wildcats’ biggest game of the season. Aside from Pac-10 tournament seeding implications, Senior Day, or the “”Red Out,”” the No. 14 Washington Huskies have quickly become the Wildcats’ top rival.

    The similarities are endless, from senior superstar guards Hassan Adams and Brandon Roy, to blowouts of ASU (Washington 91, ASU 64 yesterday) to the run-and-gun philosophies of head coaches Lute Olson and Lorenzo Romar.

    To add to the squabble even more, standout freshman forward Marcus Williams a Washington native spurned the Huskies (23-5, 12-5 Pacific 10 Conference) in favor of Arizona (18-10, 11-6) and said he had this game marked down on his calendar since his career began.

    “”I think this game will be all about emotion,”” Williams said.

    The Huskies have won their last six games on the back of Roy, who has won three straight Pac-10 Player of the Week Awards, tied for the Pac-10 record, and is tied for first in the conference at 19.9 points per game.

    “”Brandon Roy has had a unbelievable year and there is no question in my mind that he is the Pac-10 Player of the Year when you look at everything he’s done for them on the boards, on the assists, on the scoring,”” Olson said.

    Roy’s streak of nine consecutive games with 20 points, the longest in Washington history ended yesterday when he scored 13 points.

    “”Brandon has put them on their back,”” Williams said.

    The Huskies, unlike Washington State, will push the ball up the court and play full-court basketball. Ranked fifth in the nation in scoring at 82.9 points per game, Washington has reached the 90-point plateau nine times this season, including a thrilling 96-95 double overtime loss to the Wildcats on New Year’s Eve.

    “”They’re running pretty well. You have to contain their tempo,”” junior forward Ivan

    Radenovic said. “”You have to stop their running game, Brandon Roy and their outside shooting.””

    Alongside Roy, senior forwards Jamaal Williams and Bobby Jones each score in double figures and freshman forward Jon Brockman leads the team in rebounding at 7.0 rebounds per game.

    Washington plays a 2-3 matchup zone defensively that suffocated the Wildcats in the first half of the teams’ first game, as the Huskies got out to a 13-point lead.

    “”People have to be ready to shoot and attack and not settle for jumpers and just be real aggressive,”” Williams said.

    If Arizona beats Washington, it would move ahead of the Huskies and California (11-6 Pac-10) for second place in the Pac-10 based on tiebreaker scenarios (See graphic, right, for complete scenario breakdown). Arizona has had a tough time recently against Washington losing five of their last seven games.

    “”They play hard, all out the whole game 40 minutes,”” junior point guard Mustafa Shakur said. “”Just like us, that’s the toughest thing about them. They’re talented, but they play hard. They’re not going to come out and play lackadaisical.””

    For players and fans alike, Saturday should be a highlight-filled afternoon.

    “”I don’t know if we can keep people out that don’t have red on, but I’m hoping that everyone will take that challenge and greet the Huskies with a sea of red out there,”” said Olson, who will wear a red blazer on the sidelines.

    “”That’s going to be a fun game to play in and a fun game to watch and a fun game to coach in,”” he added.

    Arizona has had many rivals in the past, but recently Washington has pushed those rivals aside by winning on the court. For Williams and his teammates, rivalry pride will be at stake.

    “”I feel that this is our basketball rivalry as of right now,”” he said. “”I don’t know if we dislike them or just don’t want to lose to a team like Washington.””

    “”It’s going to be epic,”” he added.

    What can happen

    Based on tomorrow’s results Arizona could be as high as a No. 2 seed and as low as a No. 5 seed, as well as everything in between, in next week’s Pacific 10 Conference tournament in Los Angeles. Here’s how it shakes out:

  • Arizona will get a No. 2 seed if: Arizona beats Washington (Arizona in two-, three- or four-way tie for second depending on what California and Stanford do and wins all tiebreakers among the teams based on head-to-head records between the teams involved with the tie).
  • Arizona will get a No. 3 seed if: Washington beats Arizona, Southern California beats California and UCLA beats Stanford (Arizona in three-way tie for third and wins three-way tiebreaker by having the best head-to-head record against the other three teams).
  • Arizona will get a No. 4 seed if: Washington beats Arizona, California beats Southern California and UCLA beats Stanford (Arizona ties Stanford for fourth and wins tiebreaker by winning the season series).
  • Arizona will get a No. 5 seed if: Washington beats Arizona, California beats Southern California and Stanford beats UCLA (Arizona alone in fifth) OR if Washington beats Arizona, Southern California beats California and Stanford beats UCLA (Arizona ties California for fourth and loses tiebreaker due to inferior record against UCLA, the conference’s top team).
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