GAME: Northern Illinois (2-8 overall, 0-0 Mid-American) at Washington (6-4 overall, 0-0, Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. TYPE: Non-conference. MEETING: 1st. STREAKS: UW W 2; Northern Illinois L 3. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Mark Montgomery, Northern Illinois; Lorenzo Romar, Washington. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: KKNW 1150 (moved to accommodate Husky football game).
What are the odds of this? Washington’s next two opponents — Northern Illinois Saturday and UConn Dec. 29 — are both are nicknamed “Huskies.” While it will take a major effort by Washington to knock off UConn (UW is 0-3 all-time against UConn) in Hartford, CT., UW should enter that game well fed after feasting on the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Not only is underclassman-dominated Northern Illinois (third least-experienced team in Division 1) 2-8 with a bunch of double-digit losses, it fell to Seattle U. 75-48. Washington beat the Redhawks 87-74 at KeyArena two weeks ago.
NIU has played in the state of Washington just once, Dec. 27, 1965, when the Huskies lost to Seattle Pacific, 104-85.
To some degree, NIU’s lack of success so far can be attributed to inexperience. Freshmen have played 62.7 percent of the team’s minutes while sophomores have added 20.3 percent. Ten of the 15 players making up the roster are underclassmen. Also notable about NIU:
- Abdel Nader is averaging 14.0 points per game in three contests since returning from a suspension. Nader is averaging 27.1 points per 40 minutes played. He’s the player who will most concern Washington.
- Akeem Springs is averaging 11.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game since moving into the starting lineup in the last three games. Springs is shooting 50.0 percent, including 54.5 percent from 3-point range, during that time.
- Antone Christian returned against DePaul (Dec. 16) after missing six games due to injury. In his second game back at Seattle (Dec. 19), Christian scored a season-high 11 points in 10 minutes.
- NIU shoots seven percent better from the field and nearly six percent better from the free-throw line in the second half. The Huskies are shooting 34.9 percent from the field and 59.4 percent from the line in the first 20 minutes and 41.9 percent from the field and 65.1 percent from the line in the second.
Washington, which should beat Northern Illinois easily, has won three in a row for the first time this season, five of its last six and is coming off a 75-62 romp over Cal Poly that elated Romar.
“I think our guys put out the best defensive effort of the year in terms of our concentration and focus,” said Romar. “Executing our defensive game plan, I thought our guys did a really good job.”
Romar also liked the fact that the Huskies started aggressively, which they haven’t always done this season. That was partly due, Romar indicated, to having a full rotation available — all 10 scholarship players available for the first time this season.
“You could see some good things,” Romar said. “We take the Seattle U game, the first 12 minutes of Jackson State and now this game, now there is a pattern going the other way. It’s a positive way. I think this makes us head in the right direction. Are we there yet? No. But what we did, the way we went about our business is more like what we would want from our team.”
SERIES: UW Huskies have never faced Northern Illinois, but are 5-1 against members of the Mid-American Conference. Washington last played a MAC team in 1980 (Toledo). The NIU Huskies are 0-3 all-time against members of the Pac-12 Conference with a pair of losses to Arizona and a defeat to Utah. None of those three contests took place while the school was a member of the Pac-12, Saturday’s contest will be NIU’s first against a school that was a member of the Pac-12 at the time of the contest.
UW STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 7-4. Home: 5-3. Road: 1-0. Neutral: 1-1. Vs. Pac-12: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 North: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-0. Vs. Non-Conference: 7-4. Points: 802 (72.9). Field Goal Pct.: 47.5. 3-Pt. FG Pct.: 37.8. Free Throw Pct.: 67.8. Rebounds: 392 (35.6). Assists: 134 (12.2). Turnovers: 144 (13.1). Steals: 44 (4.0). Blocks: 54 (4.9). Points Against: 761 (69.2). Opp. FG Pct.: 42.2. Opp. 3-Pt. FG Pct.: 37.3. Opp FT Pct.: 62.8. Opp. Rebounds: 364 (33.1) : Opp. Assists: 144 (13.1). Opp. Turnovers: 132 (12.0). Opp. Steals: 77 (7.0). Opp. Blocks: 30 (2.7). Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): Ranked 89th.
- PAC-12 RANKINGS: Scoring Offense — 6th (72.9). Scoring Defense — 12th (69.2). Scoring Margin –10th (+3.7). FG Pct. — 3rd (47.5). FT Pct. –9th (67.8). 3-Pt FG Pct. — 4th (37.8). Rebound Margin — 10th (+1.5). Blocked Shots — 3rd (4.9). Assists — 10th (12.2). Steals — 12th (4.0). Turnover Margin — 8th (-1.10).
- C.J. Wilcox (19.4) ranks 3rd in Pac-12 scoring and Abdul Gaddy is 17th at 13.4. Wilcox ranks 2nd with 2.6 3-pointers per game. Wilcox ranks 8th in 3-point percentage at 41.4. Wilcox is the only Husky to have scored 10 or more points in all 11 games.
- Wilcox has scored 20 or more points in six of his past seven games. Terrence Ross was the last Husky to score 20 or more in four straight. Brandon Roy scored 20-plus in nine straight during the 2006 season, the last streak over four games.
- Desmond Simmons ranks 11th (80.6) in free throw percentage and has 59 rebounds over the last five games. His tear has raised his season average to 8.6 and ranks him 5th in the Pac-12. His 18 against Fullerton were the most by a Husky since Jon Brockman pulled down 18 March 21, 2009 vs. Purdue in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
- Senior Aziz N’Diaye ranks 4th in Pac-12 rebounding at 9.5 per game. N’Diaye, who also ranks 1st in offensive rebounds (3.7), is 3rd in field-goal percentage (62.2) and T13 in blocked shots (1.3), along with Wilcox.
- Washington’s 14-point halftime rally vs. Cal-State Fullerton was the team’s largest comeback at the half since Dec. 29, 2007 at LSU. The Huskies trailed in that game 41-27 and won 74-65.
- Senior Scott Suggs is averaging nearly 20.0 ppg over the last three contests. His totals of 19, 24 and 17 represent three of the four highest-scoring totals he has had in 91 career games.
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (318-205 overall, 225-117 UW) is coming off a year in which the Huskies won the Pac-12 regular-season title. Romar has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times and won three Pac-10 Tournament titles (2005, 2010, 2011). Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011. He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach on Jan. 21, 2012. Romar was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Romar played for the Huskies under head coach Marv Harshman during the 1979-80 seasons (served as team captain his senior year), and had a five-year NBA career with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). He became a college head coach at Pepperdine in 1997, where he coached for three seasons, then spent three years (1999-02) at St. Louis University before taking the Washington job in 2002-03.
2012-13 Washington Statistics
NORTHERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Northern Illinois has defeated Judson (72-54) and SIU-Edwardsville (65-54) and lost to Nebraska-Omaha (77-64), Valpairiso (69-46), Loyola (53-46), UIC (58-46), Dayton (60-43), Milwaukee (80-73), DePaul (69-54) and Seattle U. (75-48) . . .NIU was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason conference media poll. Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, followed by Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, NIU and Central Michigan.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HEAD COACH: Mark Montgomery is in his second year as head coach at Northern Illinois. A Michigan native, Montgomery came to Northern Illinois after serving four years as an assistant coach at Central Michigan. He also had a 10-year stint as an assistant at Michigan State. Montgomery won four letters in basketball at Michigan State from 1988-92.
COMING UP: The Huskies travel to Hartford, CT., Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies Dec. 29. That will conclude the non-conference portion of Washington’s schedule. UW opens its Pac-12 season Jan. 5 at Washington State.
University of Washington 2012-13 Schedule
(Rankings From Associated Press)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/11/12||@vs. W. Washington||—||—||W||88-78||0-0|
|11/17/12||*vs. Seton Hall||—||—||W||84-73||2-1|
|11/18/12||*vs. Ohio St.||—||4||L||77-66||2-2|
|11/24/12||vs. Colo. St.||—||—||L||73-55||2-3|
|11/28/12||vs. Saint Louis||—||—||W||66-61||3-3|
|12/13/12||at Seattle U.||—||—||W||87-74||5-4|
|12/15/12||vs. Jackson St.||—||—||W||75-67||6-4|
|12/20/12||vs. Cal Poly||—||—||W||75-62||—|
|12/22/12||vs. N. Illinois||—||—||—||—||—|
|1/23/13||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/13||vs. Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/6/13||#Final 4 Semi||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/8/13||#Final 4 Champ.||—||—||—||—||—|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=NCAA Tournament