If the Huskies beat Arizona at noon Saturday, they will be assured of at least a share of this season's Pac-10 regular season championship. (Here's my preview story.) However, several Huskies said today that that's not the accomplishment they want to celebrate. They want the outright title, and that's when they celebrate.
"We want it all by ourselves. We're not going to be satisfied with just a piece. We want to make history. We want to be the first Washington team to win it outright."
No, we're going to be greedy. We have to be greedy. We're not trying to share it; we're trying to win it outright. We can celebrate a little bit (after the game) if things go well. But we have to stay focused and realize that our job's not done.
Coach Lorenzo Romar agreed, although he did allow himself a rare look ahead to what a Pac-10 title would mean to this team and this program:
"I think it's pretty special for me to see our players experience that. There have been a lot of great great players that have gone on – the Fab Five at Michigan – never got to experience a conference championship. They got to experience a little more than that, but it's just something that doesn't come around for everyone. You recruit players and you talk about what your aspirations are as a program. This is what we're capable of doing if we get you, that type of this. And this kind of validates what you talked about, if you're able to do that. Obviously I think it brings credibility to your program, but in the Pac-10, you win the Pac-10 championship and you're likely to get a decent seed in the NCAA tournament, I would think There are a number of positives that come out of this, if it were to happen. It's so close, but it seems so far away."
He's right about that. Beating Arizona today won't be easy, and neither will WSU next week. (Although it is possible that game will be moot. That could happen, to cite perhaps the most likely example, if UW wins today while WSU beats ASU and Cal beats UCLA, and then Cal loses at Arizona on Thursday.)
A scouting report on the Wildcats:
ARIZONA (18-10 OVERALL, 8-7 PAC-10)
AT NO. 21 WASHINGTON (21-7, 12-4)
Noon Saturday, Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Series: Arizona leads, 42-23, including a 106-97 victory in the Jan. 29 meeting in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats also lead 16-14 in Seattle.
Statistical leaders: For Arizona, F Jordan Hill, 17.9 ppg and 11 rpg; F Chase Budinger, 3.4 apg. For UW, G Justin Dentmon, 15.8 ppg; F Jon Brockman, 11.3 rpg; G Isaiah Thomas, 2.6 apg.
Scouting report: UW would clinch at least a share of the Pac-10 regular season title with a win today. … Arizona is 3-3 against ranked opponents this season. Oddly, the school is 4-0 all-time against teams ranked No. 21. … Washington leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense (79.2 ppg) and rebound margin (plus-8.9 rpg). Arizona is fifth in the conference in scoring offense (71.4), but the Wildcats scortched UW for a season-high 106 points in the previous meeting. Over the last five meetings in Seattle, the teams have combined to average 174.4 points per game – more than 87 points per team. … Dentmon has moved into the UW scoring lead, one-tenth of a point ahead of Thomas.
Next: 8 p.m. Tuesday, vs. Seattle University, Hec Edmundson Pavilion: FSN.