Washington remains dangerous

Washington has had its highs and lows this season, but Sean Miller still believes the Huskies are dangerous. Read on to see why that is, how Robert Upshaw's absence has hurt Washington, and more.

There are numerous challenges that this week's Washington trip will present and although Arizona will be favored in both games, a sweep will not be easy.

"I think in particular it is tough for Arizona just because it is an incredible distance that we cover when you look at the Pacific Northwest and where we are here in Southern Arizona," Sean Miller said.

"It takes some time to get there, but that’s why winning a conference championship and competing in a conference is so difficult. It’s these type of moments that define what type of season you have.

"It is up to us to be the best we can be and go up there and compete as hard as we can and play as hard as we can against Washington and quickly change and go to Pullman and compete against a hungry, really energetic team that I think Ernie Kent has probably done as well coaching his team as anybody in the country."

Washington often plays a five guard lineup and uses the same style of offense that has given Arizona some fits this season.

"I think it is a difficult game for our team," Miller said. "Guarding the dribble, keeping people in front will be a great challenge. We worked as hard as we possibly could on that Monday and I think we have some guys that can do better than maybe we have shown, whether it was at ASU or earlier at Oregon State.

"It’s about getting better, improving, not being the same defender who gets beat in a straight line. Don’t be the same team that gets beat the same way.

"We are working hard with our players, whether it is individually or collectively as a group, but I think we know that is what Washington has to do to be successful and in many ways that has hurt us at times this year. I think that will be the key to the game, how we guard the dribble."

Arizona catches a bit of a break, as the Huskies are without their best defender Robert Upshaw, who was dismissed from the team.

"It is a hard situation," Miller said. "Lorenzo Romar is one of the classiest people I have ever met, coaches or aside. He is a wonderful man, person. The fact that he is a coach, he is one of the great people and coaches in our business.

"You think about how long he’s been the head coach at Washington, what he has done, the great players he has coached, the teams.

"When he takes somebody under his wing, he is going to take extraordinary care of them and every once in a while your best attempt doesn't work out. I know Robert Upshaw is probably a better person having gone to Washington and been under his watch and I am sure Lorenzo is still working hard to help him move on."

The Huskies have worked on changing the makeup on both sides of the ball, but it is a growing process.

"Upshaw was the leading shot blocker in the nation, so he had a lot to do with Washington’s success," Miller said. "You don’t just relinquish that talent and player and stay the same.

"There has to be a growing process. They reshuffled the deck, they play five guards. They play four guards and one big. They are finding themselves. I am sure they will hit their stride at some point this year, I just hope it’s not against us.

"They do things differently now. They are very quick, they switch a lot both on and off the ball. They play one true post player in Shawn Kemp, who has really improved throughout his career. He is a very good player right now for them. They don’t have a deep bench in terms of front court players, so their talent is with their perimeter."


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