Jan. 7, 2010
Follow the Husky Men's Basketball team as GoHuskies.com provides coverage of them on their road trip to Arizona for a Friday night game vs. Arizona State and Sunday game against the Wildcats. Make sure you check out UW hoops on Twitter.com/UWSportsNews.
Sunday, 3:10 p.m. (2:10 p.m. PT) - In under 20 minutes we'll be tipping from the McKale Center. It will be interesting to see if either team can get off to a fast start, as both teams are looking to gain some early confidence. ASU's Rihards Kuksiks is a prime example of what can happen when you get off to a fast start.
In many ways, Arizona is a lot like Washington. Each team boasts only one senior - Pondexter and Nic Wise - and both are the unquestioned leaders. Each team also has a co-star that can dictate a lot of their team's success - for Washington it's Isaiah Thomas and for Arizona its Derrick Williams.
I know this is just the fourth Pac-10 game for each of these squads, but there is a sense from everyone in attendance that this is a crucial game for both team. The winner goes to 2-2 and the loser will fall to 1-3.
We'll see you on the flip side, but please follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/UWSportsNews.
Jefferson donated $3.5 million for the right to have the 20,000-square foot facility carry his name. At the time, the donation was the largest ever by a professional athlete to his alma mater when the facility opened in 2008. It has two full-sized regulation courts, along with four more short courts. It can also be used for volleyball and gives the Wilcats a nice, new toy. Needless to say, it's a beautiful facility.
What happens next door is what is important to the group currently on the court. They are in need of a win bad and are in for a dog-and-cat fight in a hostile environment.
Arizona's style of play is a stark contrast to ASU's. The Wildcats are more offensive minded and will probably try to run up and down the court with the Huskies. I think after Friday's game, the Dawgs will welcome a more familiar style of hoops.
After the conclusion of practice, three different television cameras and several newspaper reporters were on hand to talk to coach Romar and players -- mostly from Tucson. They were really interested in talking to Abdul Gaddy, who committed to Arizona originally before ultimately selecting Washington.
The team returned to the hotel after practice for just a few minutes before heading to the local Claim Jumper for team dinner. An amazing amount of food was consumed before we all headed back to the hotel for the evening. The great thing about The team will review film one more time before lights out.
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. PT) - The Huskies embarked on a very dark and quiet bus ride last night from Tempe to Tucson that had them arrive at the team hotel just after 1:00 a.m. The 90 minute drive gave the players and coaches time to digest what had just happened on the court and perhaps get some sleep.
The loss definitely stung and raised the question by media members to coach Romar and players if this team is in a funk. The response from both coach and players was perhaps. At the same time, the players and coach know that they can get out of it if they get back to the basics that led to wins earlier in the season: hard-nosed all-out defense, sharing the ball and better shooting.
On the agenda today is study tables, recuperation and then practice. We'll have a report from practice later today.
Until then, keep your chins up high and remember that the season is not over. Despite two-straight losses, this Husky team is sticking together and doing exactly that. And these young men need their supporters to do the same.
The team appears focused and ready to go. It was very quiet on the bus and business-like.
More fans are trickling in as we get closer to game time, but I'm hearing there may be 8,000 fans expected in the Wells Fargo Arena that holds 14,000. The students are still on break, so it may be a little quieter from that section, which is located behind the basket that the UW will shoot towards in the second half. As expected there were a few students with signs expressing their love for Venoy Overton, who tussled with Derek Glasser last season.
A little personel news to share: Justin Holiday is not on the trip as he clears up some eligibility issues. Coach Romar told the media this and let them know he expects him back next week for Stanford and California next week.
What does this mean for the team? It means Scott Suggs and Elston Turner will be asked to play a few more minutes off the bench and maybe Clarence Trent. Holiday is the Huskies leading rebounder off the bench and is a jack-of-all-trades collecting steals, assists, blocks and providing tough defense day in and day out.
The buzz before practice was the news that Jim Mora was fired as head coach of the Seahawks. And now, the buzz is Jake Locker is meeting with the media. Needless to say, an interesting day for the UW Football program.
The team is off until pre-game meal at 4:30 and then will depart for the game at 6:45. The late start locally will cause for a late night for the Huskies as they are bussing to Tucson after the game.
We'll check in later...until then, Go Dawgs!
Friday, 11:07 a.m. (10:07 PT) - Night becomes day and we're greeted with beautiful weather in Tempe! The picture to the right is from the hotel. To the right is Hayden Butte (also known as A-Mountain because of ASU's logo A at the top).
Thursday, 11:54 p.m. (10:54 PT) - It's amazing what can happen on the earth while you're up in the air. The team boarded their 6:50 p.m. Alaska Airlines flight with Texas ahead of Alabama 6-0 in the the National Championship game and landed to find Alabama a 37-21 winner over the Longhorns. In addition, the Husky women's hoops team had a 62-56 win over Arizona State, their first win over the Sun Devils since 2004! Props to the ladies...hopefully the guys can follow suit.
The guys gathered their bags and hopped on a quick bus ride to Tempe, where we arrived at a gorgeous hotel with Sun Devils Stadium off in the distance. Waiting for the gang was a snack to take to their rooms before hitting the hay. Wake up call is 9:30 in the morning, followed by film and a 12 pm shoot-around at Wells Fargo Arena.
We'll check back in tomorrow to let you know how things are going down south! Go Dawgs!
The practice will be spent working on the scout for Arizona State. Don't be fooled by the Sun Devils 0-2 conference start. They are a tough, defensive-minded team that will make the Huskies earn every bucket they get. While ASU struggled offensively in L.A., the Huskies know that veterans Derek Glasser, Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks can explode at any moment on the court. Add in the prospects that either ASU will be 0-3 or Washington 1-2 in Pac-10 play by late Friday night, and you better believe that the game is going to be a scrappy affair to the end.
What makes things even crazier in the conference is that we're barely through week one of action and there is only one team, Oregon, sporting an unblemished record. With UCLA's upset at Cal and Stanford's win over USC, it is becoming more and more clear that the only thing you can expect in the conference is the unexpected.
Historically, this is a tough road trip for Washington. Since ASU and Arizona joined the Pac-10 in the 1979, the Huskies have been able to escape with a sweep only four times (2006, 2004, 1984, and 1982). So, if the UW is going to do what many of their fans are hoping, they'll definitely have to buck history.
That's all for now. We'll check in later, probably from Phoenix!