Arizona will face the Washington Huskies Saturday afternoon (2:30 AZ time/Fox) before heading back to Tucson to play in McKale in five of their last seven games. After beating Washington State 79-64 , Arizona is looking for a regular season sweep of the Washington schools. Washington is coming off an overtime win against ASU. The Wildcats sit at 18-5 (6-4 in conference) while the Huskies are 15-7 (7-3 in conference).
When these two teams first played in Tucson, Arizona dropped 99 points on UW. After going into the half with a three point lead, the Wildcats absolutely throttled the Huskies in the second half, outscoring them by 29 points. In that game, Arizona was able to hold the frontrunner for Conference Player of the Year, Andrew Andrews, to 9 points on 3/11 shooting.
Andrews is averaging 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Kadeem Allen, who battled through being under the weather Wednesday night against WSU, will have his hands full defensively. Outside of Andrews, the Huskies have a very strong freshman core, consisting of Noah Dickerson, Marquese Chriss, and Dejounte Murray. Those three are combing to contribute 36 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Murray had a career high 34 points Wednesday against ASU.
Behind what will be one of the biggest home games of the year for UW, expect for a raucous crowd in the small confines of Hec Edmundson Pavilion and its supposed capacity of 10,000.
Washington, despite its length and athleticism, is not a particularly talented defensive side, giving up about 84 points per game in conference play (compared to about 75 for Arizona). For Arizona, keeping Andrews in check and holding the Huskies to under 75 points will be the focus defensively. Arizona is averaging about 81 points per game offensively and has only lost once in Pac-12 play when scoring 75 points.
After missing the past 7 games for Arizona, Allonzo Trier may be available for Arizona Saturday, according to sources who spoke with Sean Miller. Trier returning would be a huge boost for the Wildcats, especially given his prowess as a shooter, where Arizona has struggled of late. In the first matchup between these teams, all five Arizona starters scored in double digits, with Ryan Anderson and Zeus combining for 37 points and 22 rebounds. With Anderson coming off a career high in scoring (31 points) and 12 rebounds Wednesday, look for him to keep up the momentum against a team that struggles to rebound (Arizona outrebounded UW 43-26 in Tucson).
Proving to itself that it can win away from McKale is the biggest priority for Arizona at the moment, outside of getting and keeping key players healthy. Come NCAA Tournament time, the Wildcats will need to believe they can win while not playing in front of 15,000 Arizona fans. Winning on the road in a packed house can help give the team that confidence heading into March.