March 18, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. - The University of Washington men's basketball team arrived in Portland Tuesday evening for this weekend's NCAA Tournament with just one thing on everyone's mind - victory over first round opponent Mississippi State.
The Huskies got off to a bit of a late start Tuesday afternoon after their final home practice due to a change to Jon Brockman's final exam schedule. Once the team hit the floor, it went through a focused and, at times, spirited practice session. After a Porter's BBQ lunch, the team was greeted by about 75 athletics staff members and local television cameras as it boarded a Gray Line bus to start the 180-mile trip down Interstate 5.
Three hours later, the team arrived at The Benson, it's team hotel in Portland, checked-in then walked a few blocks to have dinner at nearby P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Then, it was a brief rest, a film session and a restful night to prepare for Wednesday's official practice day.
"The trip was pretty uneventful," said senior forward Jon Brockman. "I think almost everyone slept the entire ride. I was out as soon as we hit the road and I woke just before we arrived.
"I think everyone is really excited to get this tournament underway. The three of us who played in the tournament a few years ago (Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Artem Wallace) know how special of an experience it is but we aren't satisfied with just getting here. We know, and I think the younger guys do as well, that this is a business trip. We are working hard and doing everything we can to be ready to play on Thursday afternoon against a really good Mississippi State team. I can tell you we aren't taking anything lightly or taking anyone for granted. We are ready to go."
The team will watch more film and conduct a normal practice session at Portland State this morning before heading to The Rose Garden for media interviews and a 40-minute open practice session. Tonight's schedule includes a team dinner, more film and an early bedtime.