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Washington at Arizona preview
(10) Washington (16-2) at (11) Arizona (16-3)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 27th, 8:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKale Center (14,545) -- Tucson, Arizona. Television: Fox Sports Net. Home Record: Washington 11-0, Arizona 10-0. Away Record: Washington 2-2, Arizona 4-2. Neutral Record: Washington 3-0, Arizona 2-1. Conference Record: Washington 6-1, Arizona 6-1. Series Record: Arizona leads, 36-18.
GAME NOTES: The top spot in the Pac-10 standings is up for grabs in the desert, as the 10th-ranked Washington Huskies make the trek south to battle the 11th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in a crucial league matchup from the McKale Center this evening. The Huskies are 6-1 in league play and have won three straight games, including a 66-48 pasting of instate rival Washington State over the weekend. The Wildcats boast an identical 6-1 conference mark, and bring a four-game win streak into this game. Lute Olson's squad won a pair of games in the state of Oregon last week, including a 92-83 shootout at Oregon State last Saturday. This marks the 55th all-time meeting between these two foes, with Arizona doubling up on Washington, 36-18. UA has won eight of the last 11 meetings with Washington, but it is the Huskies who have won the last three, including a 90-85 decision in the Pac-10 Tournament a year ago. Arizona is 20-5 all-time against UW in Tucson.
The Huskies come into this game as the Pac-10's top offensive team. Washington is netting almost 90 points per game (second nationally at 88.1 ppg), getting it done on nearly 50 percent shooting (.498). Long range bombing has not been a problem either for this team, as Washington is delivering on 41.6 percent from three-point range. The scoring pool is deep in Seattle this year, with five players averaging double figures. Tre Simmons leads the charge with 16.8 ppg, but is closely followed by Nate Robinson's 16.7 ppg. Both can shoot from behind the arc, combining for 67 of the team's 116 treys to date. Brandon Roy continues the scoring deluge with 12.7 ppg, while Bobby Jones (11.6 ppg) and Jamaal Williams (11.3 ppg) contribute as well. Against Washington State, the Huskies were bothered by WSU's stifling defensive pressure and as a result, shot just .359 from the floor. Robinson led three Huskies in double figures with 13 points. Williams and Joel Smith came off the bench to tally 10 points each.
The Wildcats are not the offensive juggernaut that they have been in recent years, so turning this one into a shootout may not be the best thing for the hometown team. Arizona can certainly generate offense (77.5 ppg), but the team is getting it done on a mediocre .437 shooting. Still, with a sniper like Salim Stoudamire on the floor, anything can happen. The veteran guard leads the team in scoring at 16.8 ppg and is one of the nation's premiere long range threats, converting a mind-boggling 56.9 percent of his three-point attempts (58-of-102). Center Channing Frye (14.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is one of the Pac-10's best big men, while forward Hassan Adams (12.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, team- high 40 steals) is as versatile as they come. In the big win over the Beavers last weekend, Stoudamire led the way with 25 points. Frye poured in 20 points, while Adams and fellow forward Ivan Radenovic chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Wildcats are awfully tough to beat at home and while the Huskies have shown the ability to beat Arizona of late, the team has shown a weakness on the road (2-2). If Stoudamire starts off fast, the Wildcats should be able to hold on for the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 76, Washington 75