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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies. E-mail Bob.

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December 30, 2005

Early showdown

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:34 PM

Here are a few thoughts as Washington prepares for its first big conference game of the year Saturday against Arizona:

It's just the second game of the year and much can change between now and March, as the Huskies - who went from an 0-5 start to a 12-6 finish two years ago - know very well.
Still, this is an important game in the regular season race. Conventional wisdom is that the league champ will probably have just three or four losses - Arizona coach Lute Olson said exactly that when he met with media here Friday.

And the winner of Saturday's game will obviously have a huge early leg up on the other.

In that context, however, it's a bigger game for UW since it's a home game.

The two schools essentially shared power in the conference a year ago, with Arizona winning the regular season title and Washington then beating UA in the conference tournament championship game.

UW senior Brandon Roy said UW's biggest goal this season is to win the regular season title.

"That's at the top of my list," he said. "That's like one of the last little things that's still lurking. We want it bad and we think we have the team to do it."

A win in this one is a good way to start.

The game will also feature two of the top contenders for conference player of the year in Roy and Arizona guard Hassan Adams.

Adams leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 19.8 per game and Roy is third at 17.7 after his 35-point outburst against ASU Thursday.

Also in the mix for that award are UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar and Cal forward Leon Powe, who would be the leading scorer in the Pac-10 at better than 20 per game if he had played in enough games to qualify. He has played in six of 10 and players must appear in 75 percent of a team's games to qualify.

Bobby Jones is likely to start off guarding Adams, but Roy said he figures he'll get some changes to defend Adams as well.
And Roy admits making an impression to stay in the Player of the Year hunt is important to him.

"I read something where they were picking Farmer to be Pac-10 Player of the Year, and Hassan," Roy said.

"They both played really good non-league schedules. But that upset me a little bit. I was like ‘Hold on, I think I'm still in the running for that.' And I think that coming to play Hassan, and Farmer in a couple of weeks, I'm just going to go out there and give them my best shot and I'm sure they will be doing the same."

Olson said Chris Rodgers would probably have the primary responsibility for guarding Roy.

Olson noted that Arizona is forcing roughly 23 turnovers a game while the Huskies have shown a great ability to hold on to the ball as evidenced by losing just three turnovers - a school record - against ASU Thursday.
"A real key for us is whether we can disrupt their play," Olson said.

Want to see some real die-hard Husky fans?

Check out the students who began camping out at 9:30 a.m. Friday for the best seats to Saturday's game. Considering the way it's raining, and that the students basically are waiting just to move up a few feet or make sure they are in the middle - they all already have their tickets - those are some real devoted fans.

Roy admitted he got a kick out of seeing the 35 by his name on the ESPN crawl after the ASU game.

"I froze it on my TV and rewound it," he said.

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