Jan. 2, 2007
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- No. 7 Arizona's challenge this week is to get the rebounds and run, which may be easier said than done against Washington.
The Wildcats (11-1) have been hot, winning 11 straight since a season-opening loss to Virginia. To keep that streak going, Arizona will have to do a better job on the boards at Washington on Thursday.
"We definitely have to get to the boards and block them out, especially their big guys," Arizona's Ivan Radenovic said.
Arizona struggled last week against Stanford and 7-foot-tall twins Robin and Brook Lopez. The Wildcats were out-rebounded 36-27.
"Brockman and Hawes are the guys who can get a lot of boards," Radenovic said. "We need to block them out, get the rebounds and then we should be able to get a lot of fast break points."
Washington leads the Pac-10 in rebounding at nearly 44 boards per game.
The Huskies tend to send all five players to the boards, which leaves the other side of the court empty if the rebounds are not retrieved. UCLA took advantage of fast break possibilities on Sunday for a 96-74 victory in Pauley Pavilion.
Arizona is crafting a similar game plan.
"In the past, Washington has been able to send five guys there and were quick enough to get back and recover defensively," Arizona coach Lute Olson said Monday. "It is obvious that one of our primary goals is to make sure we rebound and put pressure on getting them back. I look for it to be an up-tempo game."
The faster the pace, the better for the Wildcats.
Arizona continues to strive on creating turnovers defensively and getting up the court quickly. The Wildcats are averaging 86.8 points per game, while not scoring any fewer than 68 points against San Diego State all season.
Arizona, third best in rebounding the Pac-10, must have the ball first to get its fast-paced scoring attack on track.
"We have to be aggressive on the boards and not let them get inside. We don't want to be put in a situation of having to double team," Radenovic said. "If we can front them we will be in better shape."