GAME: Georgia State (0-0) at Washington. WHEN: Saturday, 2 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. MEETING: First. RANKINGS. Both teams unranked. LINE: Washington by 15. TV/RADIO: No TV; KJR-950-AM.
Coming off a 24-11 season in which Washington won the Pac-10 tournament (for the second year in a row) and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies open their 2011-12 season against the Panthers, hoping that they have added enough to offset the losses of Isaiah Thomas, F Matthew Bryan-Amaning and F Justin Holiday.
The Huskies have two early highlights on their schedule. On Dec. 6, as part of the Jimmy V Classic, they will take on Marquette at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Four days later, as part of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic, the Huskies play No. 6 Duke, also at Madison Square Garden.
Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies will attempt to make the NCAA Tournament for a fourth consecutive year. It would be the longest string of NCAA Tournament appearances in school history.
But Romar has a lot of issues to resolve before next March. He has an inexperienced front line with just two returning veterans, senior Darnell Gant and junior Aziz N’Diaye. He has an overload at guard, with five capable starters.
Finally, there is the issue of chemistry. Romar will be integrating eight new players, including six scholarship freshmen, into his system.
COACHES: Lorenzo Romar enters his 10th season as head coach. Romar Huskies won 166 games since 2004-05, most in any seven-year span in school history. Romar signed a 10-year contract extension last April.
Ron Hunter is in his first year as head coach of the Panthers. He spent 17 seasons at IUPUI (formed as a partnership in 1969 between Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis), where his teams won 25 or more games in two of the past four seasons.
LAST GAME: Washington played a non-counting game against Seattle Pacific at Alaska Airlines Arena Nov. 4, defeating the Falcons, 77-60. C.J. Wilcox, with five 3-pointers, scored 19 points and Abdul Gaddy, who missed most of 2010-11 with a torn ACL, scored 15 points with four rebounds and four assists.
Georgia State (Atlanta), a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, won two exhibition games against Southern Poly and Ogelthorpe. The Panthers went 12-19 in 2010-11.
GAME NOTES: Against Seattle Pacific, Romar went with a starting lineup that included one senior, a junior, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman: F Desmond Simmons (RS-FR), F Darnell Gant (SR), G Abdul Gaddy (JR), G C.J. Wilcox (SO) and G Terrence Ross (SO.
RANKINGS: Picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 race by the league’s media members, Washington has yet to crack the national rankings . The media poll, with first-place votes and total points: 1. UCLA, 14 — 421; 2. California, 13 — 405; 3. Arizona, 11 — 404; 4. Washington, 0 — 355; 5. Oregon, 0 — 282; 6. Stanford, 0 — 255; 7. USC, 0 — 194; 8. Oregon State, 0 — 188; 9. Arizona State, 0 — 148; 10. Colorado, 0 — 119; 10. Washington State, 0 — 119; 12. Utah, 0 — 74.
STATS: Romar and the legendary Hec Edmundson are the only UW basketball coaches to lead a team to four seasons with 25 or more wins.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: With so many unproven players, Romar goes into the first non-conference game hoping to distribute many minutes to many players.
Georgia State is a Division I school in the Colonial Athletic Association, but has a new coach and is coming off a 12-19 season.
Should be a cakewalk for the Huskies. First game this season for Aziz N’Diaye, the 7-foot center who sat out the Seattle Pacific exhibition game with a concussion.
With all the inexperience around him, the big guy has a bigger role this season. Time to start dominating. Washington 85, Ga State 63.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: Washington typically opens by playing in a tournament, and almost always finds itself matched against unfamiliar opponents: 2007 — Nicholls State (102-74); 2008 — New Jersey Tech (88-47); 2009 — Cleveland State (78-63) and Florida International (74-51); 2010 — Wright State (74-69) and Belmont (96-78).
Most of these games have been blowouts in Washington’s favor, which should also be the case against Georgia State and Florida Atlantic.
An exception to “playing the patsy” rule in a preseason tournament occurred last year when Washington took part in the Maui Classic and dropped a pair to Kentucky and Michigan State. Enough of that. The Huskies open their 2011-12 schedule by playing a pair of teams they will handle easily.
COMING UP: Washington plays at the University of St. Louis (where Romar used to coach) Nov. 20, vs. Houston Baptist Nov. 25, and at Nevada Dec. 2. The Huskies then leave for New York, where they will play No. 22 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 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||—||—||—||—||—|
|11/13/11||vs. Florida Atlantic||—||—||—||—||—|
|11/20/11||at St. 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.||—||—||—||—||—|