Our weekly quick look at Huskies basketball:
Washington (11-7 overall, 2-3 Pac-10) climbed back into the crowded middle of the conference race by sweeping the Oregon schools: a free-flowing 78-70 win over the Ducks, followed by a physical 83-74 win over the Beavers. Jon Brockman contributed double-doubles in both games and several role players stepped up their contributions.
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON
Freshmen Venoy Overton and Matthew Bryan-Amaning seemed to grow up quickly this week, culminating with career-highs for each in the OSU game: 12 points for Bryan-Amaning, and seven assists for Overton. The Huskies also showed their ability to win different types of games, keeping pace with the Ducks and banging with Oregon State.
SOMETHING TO WORK ON
The Huskies continue to rank among the worst free-throw shooting teams, hitting 57 percent against Oregon and 63 percent against OSU. It seems inevitable that giving away that many points will eventually cost them a game in a competitive league. Ryan Appleby's shot returned against UO, but he was 2-for-8 from the field vs. the Beavers.
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THE WEEK AHEAD
The Huskies are 1-5 away from home this season, and this week sends them on what has become one of the toughest road trips in the Pac-10: meeting Arizona State on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday. The surprising Sun Devils have a share of the league lead, while the Wildcats have the same Pac-10 record – and the same desperation – as UW.
Consecutive conference wins have moved the Huskies into a three-way tie for sixth place in the Pac-10. Although it is still early, sixth projects as a crucial spot, perhaps the dividing line in the league standings between the NCAA tournament or the NIT or less. However, UW's 107 RPI is ninth in the league, so a road win this week looms crucial.