GAME: Washington (8-5, 2-0 Pac-12) at Colorado (9-4, 1-0 Pac-12) WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m., Coors Events Center, Boulder, CO. MEETING: 14th (Huskies lead 7-6). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: ROOT Sports. RADIO: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies, who have yet to figure out how to win away from home, going 0-4 (including 0-2 in neutral-site games), go a mile high for their first conference away game against a team that is 7-1 at home and coming off a 40-point win over the University of Utah.
The Huskies lost at St. Louis 77-64 (Nov. 20), at Nevada 76-73 in OT (Dec. 2), and fell to Marquette 79-77 (Dec. 6) and Duke 86-80 (Dec. 10) at Madison Square Garden. In the Buffaloes, the Huskies face a team that will enter the game with a four-game winning streak, including the Utah massacre.
“We’ll find out a lot about our team when Washington comes in,” said Colorado coach Tad Boyle. “If we’re talking about a win then, I’ll say our program is headed in the right direction.”
Colorado features four players who score in double figures, led by 6-5 senior guard Carlon Brown at 12.8, and followed by 6-7 sophomore Andre Roberson at 12.1, 6-5 freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie at 11.5 and 6-9 senior forward Austin Default at 10.3. Dinwiddie is Colorado’s best 3-point shooter, hitting 51.4 percent.
Roberson is also helping ease Colorado’s transition from the Big-12 to the Pac-12 in a big way with a league-best 12.0 rebounds per game (Washington, at 40.2, and Colorado, at 38.5, rank 1-2 in rebounding).
SERIES: Dates to Dec. 30, 1953, when Colorado won 81-60 at the Big Seven Tournament in Kansas City. The teams last met on Jan. 1, 1996, in Seattle, when the Huskies won 76-68. UW is 2-4 all time in games played in Boulder and 5-1 in Seattle. Romar is 1-0 in his coaching career against Colorado, having dropped a decision in 1999 when he coached at Pepperdine. UW’s longest winning streak against Colorado is four games, spanning 1972-78.
LAST GAME (Washington, Dec. 31): Relegated to a reserve role for the start of Pac-12 play, UW guard C.J. Wilcox responded by matching his career high with 24 points, and the Huskies improved to 8-5, 2-0 with a 76-60 win over Oregon. Sent to the bench to make room for Tony Wroten, Wilcox delivered his highest total since scoring 24 against UCLA last season. Wilcox tallied 13 points during a key second-half run after the Ducks trimmed a double-digit deficit down to four. E.J. Singler led Oregon (10-4, 1-1) with 20 points, 13 coming in the first half.
LAST GAME (Colorado, Dec. 31): Colorado held Utah to the lowest point total ever by an opponent in the Coors Events Center, which opened for the 1979-80 season, by drubbing the Utes 73-33. Utah’s total marked its lowest since 1947. The Utes (3-10, 0-1) entered the conference opener averaging 58.8 points.
UW STATS/NOTES: Terrence Ross is Washington’s leading scorer in road games, averaging 17.5 points (four games). Ross is averaging 14.4 ppg overall . . . Abdul Gaddy leads the Pac-12 in assist/turnover ratio (2.9, 66/23), ranks third in assists (5.1) and eighth in minutes (39.1) . . . Center Aziz N’Diaye leads the conference in blocks per game (1.9) and ranks second in rebounds per game (8.2) . . . Darnell Gant remains Washington’s best shooter, hitting 54.1 percent . . . Earlier this week, Tony Wroten earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, becoming the first UW freshman to claim that accolade since Spencer Hawes in December 2006. Wroten is UW’s leading scorer at 16.8, which ranks second in the Pac-12 . . .Washington ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (80.6) and 11th in scoring defense (73.4). UW had been last in that stat until Utah managed only 33 points against Colorado Dec. 29.
COLORADO STATS/NOTES: Colorado leads the conference by holding their opponents to just 39 percent FG shooting . . . The Buffaloes rank second, trailing only the Huskies, with 38.5 rebounds per game and lead the conference with 27.2 defensive rebounds per game . . .Colorado ranks No. 7 in the pac-12 in scoring offense (70.8) and fourth in scoring defense (61.2).
COACHES: Romar is in his 10th season as Washingtons head coach. His 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. He won his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16 when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara.
Tad Boyle: Boyle is in his second season at Colorado and last year directed the Buffaloes to a school-record 24 wins, culminating with a semifinal appearance in the post-season NIT Tournament. Prior to his arrival in Boulder, Boyle resurrected the basketball program at the University of Northern Colorado, where he guided the Bears to a 56-66 record (.459) over a four-season span, including a breakout year in 2009-10, when the Bears went 25-8 (.758) and finished second in the Big Sky Conference.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: The Huskies can’t catch much of a road break — at least Thursday. This time they have to battle the altitude, which is always a physical shock for those unused to playing above 5,000 feet. Then there’s the Buffs’ powerhouse 6-7 forward Andre Roberson, a poor man’s Jon Brockman. This guy will rock the Huskies’ insiders.
Seems Wroten has made a permanent move into the starting lineup, especially with only four turnovers total in the games against Oregon State and Oregon. Kind of a tough break for Wilcox, but the results speak for themselves. Not tht they will speak Thursday. Colorado 68, Washington 60.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: The Huskies have yet to respond effectively enough over a full road game. However, if Romar is to be believed, Washington “grew up” a lot in its most recent road loss, an 86-80 setback to nationally ranked Duke. In that game, the Huskies erased a 19-point lead and made a game of it.
Colorado will be tough to beat at the Coors Events Center, where the Buffaloes are 7-1 and have allowed a TOTAL of 67 points (33 to Utah) in their past two games. I think the Huskies are going to have to wait until Saturday (at Utah) to win for the first time on the road this season. Colorado 72, Washington 68.
COMING UP: After Washington plays at Colorado, the Huskies travel to Utah (Jan. 7) for their first basketball Pac-12 matchup with the Utes. The Huskies return to Alaska Airlines Arena on Jan. 10 to host Seattle University.
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||—||—||L||77-64||3-1|
|11/25/11||vs. Houston Baptist||—||—||W||88-65||4-1|
|12/2/11||at Nevada||—||—||L||76-73 (OT)||4-2|
|12/16/11||vs. UC Santa-Barbara||—||—||W||87-80||5-4|
|12/18/11||vs. South Dakota St.||—||—||L||92-73||5-5|
|12/22/11||vs. Cal-State Northridge||—||—||W||74-50||6-5|
|12/29/11||vs. Oregon State||—||—||W||95-80||7-5|
|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.||—||—||—||—||—|