Well, we begin the cycle back through the Pac-12 season. And the Huskies find themselves 9-2 and atop the conference standings. The last time they had this hot of a start in conference play? That would be the 2004-05 season when Nate Robinson, Bobby Jones, Brandon Roy and Will Conroy were suiting up.
From my preview story
“It was more of (a) well-oiled machine by now,” Romar said of the 2004-05 team. “It had hit its stride by now.”
And the current team?
“Even though we’ve won five in a row, we have not hit our stride yet,” Romar said. “Hopefully we can, but there is a difference between then and now.”
One similarity: Both teams have assignments in the Willamette Valley after the 9-2 start. Washington will face an improving Oregon team tonight at 8 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. The Ducks have a 7-4 mark in the Pacific-12 Conference, tied for third.
The 2005 Huskies got 24 points from Robinson and 18 from Roy in a 95-88 overtime win at Oregon to improve to 10-2. For the 2012 Huskies to do the same, they will need to play considerably better than they did in last week’s home wins over UCLA and USC.
“You would think, ‘Well, you are 9-2. You are a full game ahead with seven games left. You should feel like you are in the driver’s seat,’ ” Romar said. “I don’t feel like that at all. Maybe because we’ve been digging ourselves out of a hole all season long, I still feel like we are digging ourselves out of a hole.”
Washington handling Oregon, 76-60, at Alaska Airlines Arena on New Year’s Eve means little to Romar.
“I’m telling you (we) are a much better team now,” Romar said. “… Whatever we did against them before, we can throw that out the window.”Here's the Statsheet.com preview
Here's Tim Booth's game preview for the AP
Here's the game preview from SportspressNW
Here's Scott Johnson's game preview from the Everett Herald
From the Oregon perspective ...
Lindsay Schnell of the Oregonian writes that the Ducks must win at home.
From her story ...
The Ducks (16-7, 7-4) have been good on the road this season -- their four conference wins away from home are tied with Arizona for most in the league -- but puzzling at home. Some days they show up, boosted by a full and loud student cheering section. Other games they disappear, crippled by poor shot selection and careless turnovers.
Oregon boasts an 11-3 record at home in 2011-12, but many of those wins have come against inferior opponents. They are 3-2 in conference play at home, falling apart in the second half to a good Cal team and turning over the ball too many times in a loss to Oregon State.
"We're not giving fans much to cheer about," Loyd said. "We're not playing hard, not flying around like we do on the road. We're more focused on the road and we've got to do a better job of that."
Altman can't pinpoint the problem.
"If I had the answers we'd address it," he said. "Girls have something to do with everything, playing in front of friends, you know I don't know. But we haven't been as sharp at home as I hoped we would be."Bob Clark of the Register Guard wrote about the challenge the Huskies present