Greetings from 10,000 feet from my Alaska Airlines flight to Phoenix. After leaving rainy Tacoma, I'm headed to 77 degree weather and this ....
In today's TNT, I wrote about the Huskies' going back out on the road again. Right now, they are 1-5 away from Alaska Airlines Arena. Of those six games, the close loss to Marquette and the one win against Utah were probably the two best games the Huskies played. The rest of those games featured frustrating inconsistency both offensively and defensively.
But head coach Lorenzo Romar believes they have figured out the equation for road success in the 57-54 win over Utah on Jan. 7.
A cynic might say that a win over possibly one of the worst Utah teams in school history, which was 3-11 and 0-2 in the Pac-12 at the time, is hardly evidence of a major step forward in road success.
But UW coach Lorenzo Romar thinks progress has been made.
“Our understanding of what we need to do on the road to be successful is better than it was the last time we hit the road,” he said.
And the skeptics?
“People look that game as, ‘You only beat Utah by (four),’ ” Romar said. “I saw it as totally different. I saw it as we transitioned from playing one way on the road to another. And I liked the way our transition went.”
Interestingly, part of that sense of optimism came from the lack of transition against the Utes.
Washington scored just 57 points and had zero fastbreak points. The perceived knock on Romar-coached teams is the inability to play in possession-by-possession games, where easy transition buckets are not an option.
“The score was irrelevant,” Romar said. “We moved the ball. The ball went from side to side more. We were more patient. That’s one of the things we have to do on the road, along with defend. We have to defend.”
Only three games tonight in the Pac-12, and obviously the WSU-Arizona game is probably the best game of the three.
Washington State at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. FSN
Senior shooting guard Faisal Aden, who was named the Pac-12 player of the week, after playing perhaps his two best games of the year. But will he start tonight? Christian Caple also has this blog post which features a Q and A with Aden and a myriad of links.
Arizona is still looking for a player step and make plays in the clutch because Derrick Williams isn't walking back through that door.
Colorado at USC, 7:30 p.m. usctrojans.com
The Buffs first road trip in the Pac-12 didn't go so well. They left 3-0 and returned 3-2. But this will be a sort of home game at the Galen Center with three key players hailing from the Los Angeles area. It also helps that USC is terrible.
The Trojans have lose eight straight games and sophomore Garrett Jackson admitted that he hadn't lost that many games in his entire high school career.
Utah at UCLA, 7:30 p.m. Prime Ticket
The Bruins are still hoping that Josh Smith can find some consistency. Haven't we heard this at least a dozen times this season? From Chris Foster's story ...
"None of us envisioned that this is where we'd be at," Smith said. "We were ranked 17th, we were the preseason pick to win the Pac-12, there was a lot of hype around us. We haven't lived up to the hype."
The same could be said about Smith — and he does.
"I wanted to be first-team all conference," Smith said. "I thought that was a goal I could attain."
Smith paused and laughed weakly. "It's not looking like that," he said. "But right now, I'm not playing for myself. I'm playing for the team."ESPN LA's Peter Yoon has video of Ben Howland and Jerime Anderson talking about Smith.
Bill Oram has this blog post on playing at the LA Sports Arena. Oram also has this post on 7-foot-3 center David Wallace, who has been out all season, deciding to redshirt and returning for next season.
Mike Montgomery expects Richard Solomon to be eligible to play next season.