A few weeks ago, you would have thought that the matchup with No. 7 Duke would be the most difficult game on the Huskies' sojourn to New York City. But suddenly a tough game with No. 11 Marquette might be even tougher for Washington. It's not as though the Huskies have been world-beaters on the road. But head coach Lorenzo Romar won't look at it cynically.
“If the glass is half empty, then you’d say, ‘Wow what are we doing with all of these road games,’ ” Romar said via conference call from Manhattan.
Even on his worst day, however, Romar couldn’t be pessimistic for more than about 30 seconds. Which leads him to look at the game against ultra-talented Marquette and a looming game with No 7 Duke on Saturday as challenges.
“If my glass is half full, which it always is, I look at it as great, great preparation for going into our conference,” he said. “I already feel like we made progress from the first road game to the second. And we’ll see what happens against Marquette. I feel like with this team it will help us down the road.”
Washington needs to see improvement, or the Huskies could be in trouble in front of a national TV audience. Marquette is the best team Washington has played this season. Some observers think the Golden Eagles might be better than Duke.
Coach Buzz Williams and his team went into Madison, Wis., on Saturday and handled the then No. 9-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, snapping a 23-game home winning streak. The Golden Eagles did so without starting point guard Junior Cadougan, who was suspended.
“If you play Wisconsin anywhere, that’s a difficult game to win,” Romar said. “If you play them at their home floor … it’s almost impossible to win.”From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, head coach Buzz Willliams wants to build off the huge win last week against Wisconsin
"We're going to play 18 regular Big East competitions," said Williams. "In the last three years we've always played three Big East competitions in New York and every year we've played at least one game in the NCAA Tournament. So we're for sure going to play 22 or 23 more like (the Wisconsin game), and half of them are going to be on the road. So I think it's really healthy.
"The only way you can grow up is when people are standing dead on top of your neck and you have to figure out a way to breathe. That's life. That's not basketball. That's just a microcosm of life. It's not going to be easy and so what's the best way to grow up? The best way to grow up is to have someone hit you in the mouth and see if you can respond.
"That's what happens at the Kohl Center. They hit you in the mouth and how are you going to handle that?"
As the 11th-ranked Golden Eagles prepared to leave for New York on Monday afternoon, they expressed the confidence they had gained from Saturday's victory.The Golden Eagles got big contributions from other players in the win ...
And despite all the personnel struggles, Marquette (7-0) still left the Kohl Center victorious Saturday, on the back of contributions from unexpected sources.
“We just got good players. If one goes down we’ve got somebody else. We just got people that can step in,” freshman guard Todd Mayo said. “Even though we were missing Junior (Cadougan), it felt normal.”
Freshman guard Derrick Wilson earned his first collegiate start with Cadougan out. He didn’t score a point or assist on a basket in a career-high 20 minutes, but his contributions were felt in other ways — like helping force preseason All-American senior guard Jordan Taylor into a career-high five turnovers.
“Derrick knows his role: play defense. And he does a great job doing that,” Johnson-Odom said. “He knows we don’t need him to score or do anything that he can’t do. And when he plays (defense) like that, it’s going to be hard for a lot of guards to run what they want to run.”