Arizona Basketball

Notebook: Washington at Arizona Wildcats

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— Arizona and Washington have something in common: They were both taken to the brink by UCLA and USC, only Washington overcame both of them at home while the Wildcats succumbed to the very end against the Bruins and Trojans on the road. Lorenzo Romar’s team went to double-overtime before beating UCLA on New Year’s Day. They rallied from 22 points down to beat USC less than 48 hours later. Last weekend, the Huskies needed overtime to get past rival Washington State on the road. Welcome to the Pac-12, 2015-16 version, the most balanced since Arizona and ASU joined the league in 1978-79.

— The conference sent a high of six teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014, but ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently projects eight Pac-12 schools in the NCAA Tournament and CBS’s Jerry Palm has seven teams in the field. At the start of this year, Lunardi had nine teams in the NCAA Tournament. Despite this, Arizona is the only team ranked in the Top 25. The most important rankings are the power ratings and the Pac-12 has 11 teams in the top 100 rated by Ken Pomeroy at Kenpom.com. Each game, even against lowest-rated Washington State, will be a battle this year. The Cougars beat UCLA and almost beat Washington.

— The Seattle Times published a story this week titled “Lorenzo Romar admits Arizona has dominated series against UW recently“. Arizona has won the past four games. The Wildcats ran away with an 86-62 rout at Alaska Airlines Arena. “They’ve been better,” Romar said. “The last few years Arizona has been one of the top teams in America. The last few years we’ve been outclassed. We weren’t at their level the last few years.” There was a point and time Arizona and Washington was the hottest rivalry in what was then the Pac-10, in the early to mid 2000’s. During the Lute Olson leave-of-absense and Arizona’s interim coach stage, Washington was 11-7 against the Wildcats.

— Two of the three senior coaches in the Pac-12 will match wits tonight with Romar coaching against Miller. Romar is the dean of the league’s coaches at 14 years followed by Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins (eight years) and Miller (seven years). Washington has bucked the trend of schools getting rid of coaches on a whim because his teams have double-digit losses in six straight seasons. In Romar’s 20 years as a head coach at Pepperdine, St. Louis and Washington, his teams have endured 15 double-digit loss seasons.

— Washington’s Andrew Andrews becomes the latest perimeter threat to give Miller great concern tonight. Andrews is the only guard in one of the Power Five conferences to average more 20 points and record four points-rebounds double-doubles this season. Additionally, he’s one of just two players nationally to do so joining Rodney Pryor from Robert Morris (20.2 points – 4 double-doubles). Andrews leads the conference with 21.6 points a game. He also ranks No. 14 in the league in rebounds (6.5 a game) and No. 7 in assists (4.3). In a season in which Miller has criticized his defense for being its worst since his first season, that’s not encouraging going against a potential Pac-12 player of the year in Andrews.

— Add Romar: Entering last week’s game, before Arizona getting swept at UCLA and USC (albeit in last-second losses), Miller was mentioned as a conference coach of the year favorite for how the Wildcats have evolved minus four starters from last season. Washington’s promising 3-0 start puts Romar in contention because of one solid fact: The Huskies entered the season with only 28.1 percent of its scoring production returning from last season, ranking last in the Pac-12 with that statistic. Romar is working with a revamped roster featuring 10 newcomers. Starting point guard Nigel Williams-Goss bolted to Gonzaga thinking he was leaving a sinking ship. But Romar attracted a top 10 recruiting class. The roster overhaul featured the most newcomers and fewest returners since Romar took over in 2002-03.

— Washington’s roster is the youngest in the Pac-12 with eight players starting the season at 19 and four of which are currently 18. Additionally, with 80 percent of the team listed as freshmen or sophomores. Freshman Dejounte Murray has been a dominant presence for the Huskies since he started his first game and is currently averaging 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Only LSU sensation Ben Simmons is putting up similar numbers as he is averaging 20.1 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

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NO. 18 ARIZONA (13-3, 1-2) VS.
Washington (11-4, 3-0)

Tip Time: 7:01 p.m. MST
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Aaron Goldsmith/Casey Jacobsen)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

THE SERIES
Overall: Arizona leads 48-28
In Tucson: Arizona leads 29-7
Current Streak: Arizona won 4
Sean Miller vs. Washington: 6-5
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 86-62, on Feb. 13, 2015

WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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PRODUCTIVITY REPORT
ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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Previous result:
USC 103, ARIZONA 101 (4 OT)
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ARIZONA’S TOP SCORING CENTERS
Rank: Overall school ranking.
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HOW ARE THEY DOING?
Present RPI ranking of non-conference opponents Arizona has played according to KenPom.com. The Wildcats’ rating is No. 16.
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PAC-12 POMEROY RATINGS
Present RPI ranking of Pac-12 teams according to KenPom.com.
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THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS CAREER
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LONGEST McKALE WIN STREAKS
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
*-John Wooden Legacy in Fullerton/Anaheim (Calif.)
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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