Hoop Thoughts

The Cats get a tough test tonight when they venture into Seattle for a game against Washington. It is their first conference road game, against a good team, in a hostile environment.

Match-up Problems
The Wildcats struggled against the Stanford frontline, primarily freshmen Brook and Robin Lopez. The twin seven footers were elite level prospects. Robin was rated the 21st overall prospect, while Brook was tabbed as Scout.com's 11th best player. Despite the great rankings, neither player was averaging double figures in scoring, but they combined to score 31 points and grab 16 rebounds against the Wildcats wing oriented line-up. Now they get Washington who has an even better, albeit not as tall, front line. They have super freshman Spencer Hawes, who is a seven-footer as well, and 6-7 Jon Brockman. While Brockman is not as tall or athletic as the Lopez twins, he is much stronger and more productive. The 250-pound Brockman is a load on the inside, but a load with some very nice offensive moves. What makes the Huskies a difficult match-up is the fact that they have some athleticism and talent on the wing, something the Cardinal was lacking. Quincy Pondexter is a 6-7, athletic SF who can shoot and slash. Justin Dentmon is one of the better PG's in the Pac-10 and has given Arizona trouble, while Ryan Appleby can flat out stoke it.

What also hurts Arizona is that the Huskies MUST win this game. They are 0-2 in the Pac-10, and a third loss, especially to a front runner like Arizona, would all but end Washington's chances at winning the league. Expect the Huskies to be focused and motivated.

What Washington lacks is experience. They start two sophomores and two freshmen and have played like a very young team. They make mistakes and don't always take care of the ball. While the Dawgs pose a match-up problem for the Cats, the Cats could be a match-up problem for the Huskies. UW likes to run, but has not seen a team as athletic as the Wildcats. The Cats may not be as big up front, but they are bigger in the backcourt and will try to use their size outside to defend the perimeter.

The Cats and Huskies battle frequently on the recruiting trail, especially since Lorenzo Romar came to Seattle. The Huskies courted current Wildcat Marcus Williams and was also involved in future Wildcats Jerryd Bayless and Jamelle Horne.

Conversely, the Cats were involved in current Washington players Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes and Quincy Pondexter.

Expect the battles to continue. Both teams are pursuing a number of players in the 2008 class. Larry Drew, Jrue Holiday, Drew Gordon, Clarence Trent and Matt Simpkins are among the prep stars that the two schools are pursuing.

Recruiting Pt. 2 Freshmen Chase Budinger and Quincy Pondexter will go head-to-head on the court in Seattle and sort of went head-to-head on the recruiting trail. The Cats pursued both players and at one time it seemed the Pondexter would have committed to the Cats if they made a bigger push. Instead they made a run at Budinger and Pondexter chose the Huskies, while Budinger was still debating his list of schools.

To make things even more interesting, both Quincy's father and uncle played for Lute Olson at Long Beach State.

Pac-10 Player of the Week
The conference's top award went to Ivan Radenovic but it could have gone to any one of three Wildcat players. Lute Olson mentioned Mustafa Shakur, while Frank Burlison of Scout.com and the Long Beach Press Telegram tabbed Marcus Williams as one of the nation's top performers for the week.

Not a bad problem to have.

Everyone is aware that Wildcat sophomore Marcus Williams is from Seattle and making his second return to the Emerald City. So far, so good as Williams and the Cats upended the Huskies in Seattle last year.

So far the Cats are 1-0 in homecoming games. The Cats beat San Diego State in the return of Chase Budinger to his hometown. They also won home games against Houston, the hometown team for a few Wildcats.

Wacky Pac
Just when you thought you had things figured out in this league…Stanford looked very good on the Arizona road trip and many thought they had a chance to finish top-five in the league. Conversely, Cal looked like they were going to really struggle without the injured Devon Hardin. So what does Cal do? Beat the Cardinal on Wednesday night.

Don't Forget Wazzu
The Husky/Arizona game gets the hype, but the Wildcats have a second game on the road trip. It is WSU, not Washington, who has gotten to the better start. The Cougars are 1-1 in conference and 12-2 overall. They gave UCLA all they could handle and upended USC on the road. They have also beaten Gonzaga, something Washington was not able to do.

WSU is proving that sleeping on the Cougars is a mistake.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories