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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Smack talk

Sports-loving folk make it a point to weigh outside variables in predicting wins or losses.

Home or away, crowd noise and smack talk — getting into the other team’s head — all come up. Such is surely the case in Arizona’s Thursday matchup at Washington, pitting the never-shy UW guard Isaiah Thomas against rising star Derrick Williams.

But the court will always be 94-by-50, 10 players will always be on the floor and, when it comes down to it, the better team will win.

Arizona forward Solomon Hill said the Wildcats don’t react to opposing team’s jabber, nor the tension of the opposing crowd.

“”I don’t really think it’s positive or negative,”” he said. “”I think it’s more just where guys’ minds on the team are. If it’s a close game, if they’re talking trash, it never gets to us.””

So smack talk all you want, Derrick Williams and Isaiah Thomas. You’ve both earned it, and it might as well serve as fuel for your Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year resumes. The duo, along with Washington State’s Klay Thompson, who the Wildcats face Saturday, are pulling away from the pack, and are keys to their schools’ respective destinies this year.

“”@TheNicWise we gettin these dubs this weekend!!”” Williams told former Wildcat Nic Wise over Twitter.

“”@TheNicWise hahaha u knw what happens when u play at Hec ED,”” Washington’s Thomas responded, referring to the Huskies’ home, Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

“”So tell them Yung boys not to talk so much.””

And what about the home-court advantage for the Huskies?

To predict a Huskies victory because they have a wild crowd is a cop-out. When sophomores Momo Jones and Kevin Parrom were asked a few weeks ago if they liked playing away from home, both said they did — shutting up the home crowd is fun.

“”When the fans talk, we love it,”” Hill said Tuesday. “”Especially this year.””

A recent article in Sports Illustrated pointed to some key statistics to show that home-court advantage is because of officiating, not much else.

Myths disproved in the article include travel schedules — such as Arizona’s long Washington trip — hurting the away team, and crowds aiding the home team. The rowdy fans did, however, affect the calls by the officials in the home team’s favor, the article said.

“”Referees still call fouls and penalties; and they are still human beings, none of them immune from human psychology.””

Simply put, Arizona will win if they’re the better team Thursday, and the same can be said for the Huskies. None of the extracurricular stuff matters — the talk is all fun and games.

Asked who on the Wildcats talked the best smack, Hill first pointed to the always-emotional Jones.

Then he backtracked.

“”Actually, I say Derrick (Williams),”” Hill said. “”When he gets going … it’s kind of hard to stop Derrick on the court, so it feels like he can say anything he wants to other guys.””

But in the end, the most important thing for Arizona is what Williams might be able to say after this monster of a road trip.

“”We won.””

— Kevin Zimmerman is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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