GAME: Washington (3-0) at Saint Louis (2-0). WHEN: Sunday, 9 a.m., Chaifetz Arena. MEETING: 14th (Saint Louis leads 7-6). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. LINE: Washington by 15. TV/RADIO: CBS Sports Network / KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
University of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar returns to a familiar haunt Sunday morning when his Huskies (3-0) play their first road game, against the Saint Louis Billikens. Romar coached the Billikens from 1999-02, leaving to take the Washington job.
This will be Romar’s first meeting against his former school, for which he produced a 51-44 record. During Romar’s time as SLU’s head coach, he defeated the Huskies twice: 69-61 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Dec. 5, 2000, and 71-70 on Dec. 29, 2001 in St. Louis.
The teams enter the game with perfect records. While Washington opened by sweeping Georgia State, Florida Atlantic and Portland in the World Vision Classic, Saint Louis routed Tennessee State 71-37 (home) and hammered Southern Illinois 61-42 (road).
Under the direction of Coach Rick Majerus, Saint Louis tied for ninth in the Atlantic 10 Conference (the Billikens joined the A-10 in 2005) last season with a 12-19 overall/6-10 conference mark. The Billikens return their top seven scorers from last season, including leading scorer Michael McCall, who averaged 10.4 points per game. Through two games, 6-foot-6 forward Brian Conklin is leading Saint Louis at 12.5.
The Atlantic 10 media picked the Billikens to finish third in the conference race.
If Romar sticks with the starting lineup that he used in the first three games, he’ll go with senior F Darnell Gant, junior C Aziz N’Diaye, junior G Abdul Gaddy, and sophomore Gs Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox. In the three-day World Vision Classic, redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons and true freshman Tony Wroten were the first Huskies off the bench.
RIVALRY: The Washington-Saint Louis rivalry dates to Dec. 19, 1951, when the fourth-ranked Huskies defeated No. 8 Saint Louis 58-53. In that game, Mike McCutcheon scored only five points, but had three of them in the final minute, enabling the Huskies to hold off the Billikens. Bob Houbregs led Washington with 16 points and Doug McClary had 15. The Billikens have won their past two meetings with Washington, 69-61 in 2001, and 71-70 in 2002. Washington has not defeated Saint Louis since the 1999 season (69-60).
LAST MEETING: On Dec. 29, 2001, the Billikens scored a 71-70 victory over Washington in St. Louis.
LAST GAME: Terrence Ross knocked down 13 of his 24 points in the first half, and Washington relied on big runs at the end of the first half and beginning of the second to blast Portland 93-63 in the final game of the World Vision Basketball Classic at Alaska Airlines Arena. C.J. Wilcox scored 17 against Portland and Abdul Gaddy had 15 points, five assists and five rebounds. Wilcox was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 19.3 points over the three games. Ross and Gaddy each made the All-Tournament team.
RANKINGS: Washington has yet to receive a national ranking. The Associated Press had UW at No. 28 in its latest (Nov. 14) poll. Saint Louis has not drawn any votes in either the AP or ESPN/Coaches poll.
COACHES: Lorenzo Romar is in his 10th season as Washington’s head coach. Romar’s Huskies have won 166 games since 2004-05 (entering the 2011-12 season), most in any seven-year span in school history. Romar signed a 10-year contract extension last April.
RICK MAJERUS: Prior to becoming head coach at Saint Louis in 2007, Majerus coached at Marquette University (19831986), Ball State University (19871989), and the University of Utah (19892004). Majerus has had 13 20-win seasons during his career, including six at Utah, where he twice won 30 games, 1990-91 (30-4) and 1997-98 (30-4). His teams have made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
STATS / NOTES: Romar and Majerus have faced each other just once in their coaching histories. Majerus’ University of Utah Utes won over Romar’s SLU team during the 2000 season . . . Majerus is 1-0 all time against Washington . . . Romar needs two more victories to reach 200 for his Washington career . . . Five Washington players are averaging double figures with Wilcox leading the way at 19.3 and a sixth, N’Diaye at 9.3 . . . Six Huskies are averaging more than four rebounds per game, with a seventh, Simmons, just under at 3.7 rebounds per game . . . The Saint Louis game marks just the third true road contest during the month of November under Romar. Washington lost the previous two, 82-61 at UNLV on Nov. 30, 2002, and 80-74 at Portland on Nov. 15, 2008 . . . Two Huskies, freshman guard Andrew Andrews and freshman forward Jernard Jarreau, are redshirting.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: The game return Romar to where he once coached and Scott Suggs to where he grew up. But Suggs will be in streets as he recovers from a toe fracture. That shouldn’t amount to any more of a problem than Washington had with his absence against the first three opponents. Washington flashed a lot of talent, particularly against Portland Sunday, when Ross, Abdul and Wroten opened eyes.
The Billikens were 12-19 last season and aren’t expected to be of the Huskies’ caliber, although they have begun 2-0. This should be another tune-up game as Washington prepares to meet the big boys in Madison Square Garden early next month. Washington 81, St. Louis 63.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: I don’t think the game is going to be quite the UW runaway that Art thinks it is. The Billikens not only won their first two games by large margins, but one of them (Southern Illinois) was on the road. And, although Saint Louis is, like Washington, unranked, they received some consideration from Sports Illustrated in its preseason poll.
Although these Huskies are not those Huskies, Washington traditionally does not play well in preseason road games in November. In fact, Washington has never won a non-conference road game in November.
Not that it can’t happen, and I think it will this time. But the score will be close: Washington 75, Saint Louis 62.
COMING UP: After playing Saint Louis, Washington returns to Alaska Airlines Arena to face Houston Baptist Nov. 25. The Huskies then play at Nevada Dec. 2. The Huskies next leave for New York, where they will play Marquette in the Jimmy V Classic Dec. 6, and Duke in the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic Dec. 10. Both games will be played in Madison Square Garden and televised nationally. Washington opens Pac-12 play Dec. 29 by hosting Oregon State.
University of Washington 2011-12 Schedule/Results
(Rankings Are Current)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/4/11||vs. Seattle Pacific||—||—||W||77-60||0-0|
|11/12/11||vs. Georgia State||—||—||W||91-74||1-0|
|11/13/11||vs. Florida Atlantic||—||—||W||77-71||2-0|
|11/20/11||at Saint Louis||—||—||—||—||—|
|11/25/11||vs. Houston Baptist||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/16/11||vs. UC Santa-Barbara||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/18/11||vs. South Dakota St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/22/11||vs. Cal-State Northridge||—||—||—||—||—|
|12/29/11||vs. Oregon State||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/10/12||vs. Seattle U.||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/15/12||vs. Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/26/12||at Arizona St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/12/12||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/12||vs. Arizona State||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/25/12||at Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|