Reflecting on the harrowing leg injury to Texas A&M’s Derrick Roland a year ago has been the main storyline this week around the Washington Huskies.
Roland snapped his tibia and fibula in Hec Edmundson Pavilion last season during the Huskies’ 73-64 win. It was loud, grotesque and emotional. Roland, who the Texas A&M staff referred to as the soul of the team, has since recovered. He was recently cut from the National Basketball Development League.
But the here and now for Washington is this: Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. tip (ESPN2) against Texas A&M will be a standard-bearer of this club’s progress as much as any of the Maui Invitational games were.
A jumble of numbers lay out Washington’s test:
Texas A&M has won 56 consecutive non-conference games at home.
It is 70-6 at home since 2006-07.
The Aggies are 27th in the country in rebounding, outrebounding opponents by 13.1 per game, good for second in the nation.
Texas A&M is ninth in the country in scoring defense, allowing 55.3 ppg.
This is Washington’s lone non-conference road game, and first true road game of the season. That it comes against a crafty defensive team that rebounds well, two things that are direct counters to what Washington wants to do, presents an even larger challenge.
It is fair to question Texas A&M’s (8-1) schedule. Just two opponents, Boston College, the lone team to beat the Aggies, and Temple, have been worthy. The rest, pastry.
Understanding what the Huskies are will take a step if they can zip through the Aggies. A solid non-conference win would be added to the ledger, something that will benefit the perception of the team and Pac-10 Conference.
Annually, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar answers questions about the first road game this way, saying it again on Tuesday this week: “I’m anxious to see how we’re going to do.”
He’s not the only one.