Hoops Preview - Arizona

For the first time this season, Washington will play a home game against a ranked opponent. On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PST, No. 25 Arizona will take their show to Hec Edmundson Pavilion in what is expected to be one of the first real showdown games of Pac-10 play. The game will be aired nationally on Fox Sports Net and also through the IMG Radio Network, which means KJR-950AM in Seattle.

The Wildcats, who are 15-3, 4-1, have suffered their only losses this season to No. 2 Kansas, No. 9 Brigham Young, and Oregon State. All three losses were on the road.

The biggest thing Arizona has going for them is their star forward Derrick Williams. The 6-foot-8, 241-pound sophomore is averaging 19.7 points per game on 66 percent shooting from the field. He is also 77 percent from the line and 71 percent from three. The La Mirada, Calif. native also presents a factor on the boards, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game

UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar called Williams one of the toughest covers the team will face are year, and compared him to former Arizona State forward Ike Diogu. Like Diogu, Williams poses many problems for any team that he faces, and still can be an effective presence even if he doesn't take a ton of shots from the field. The biggest reason for that is he gets to the foul line. He ranks No. 1 nationally in both free-throws made and attempted, averaging 7.4 made and 9.7 attempted per game. Managing their fouls in the front court will be a big point of emphasis for the Huskies on Thursday.

After Williams, there is no true standout players, but there are several role players that do their jobs. Solomon Hill, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, is averaging 8.5 points on 53 percent shooting from the field, 77 percent from the free-throw line and 48 percent from three. The Los Angeles native is also averaging 4.7 rebounds per game. He is a guy that isn't afraid to take an opponent one-on-one.

Kyle Fogg will play a key role from his guard spot. The 6-foot-3 junior is averaging 7.8 points on just 37 percent shooting from the field. A native of Brea, Calif., Fogg is also averaging 2.6 assists and one steal per game.

Starting across from Fogg at guard will be Lamont Jones. The 6-foot sophomore is putting up 7.6 points on 43 percent shooting from the field. He is averaging 2.4 assists and will be starting at point guard for the Wildcats.

Other contributors for Arizona are Jamelle Horne, Kevin Parrom, Jesse Perry, Jordin Mayes, Brendon Lavender and Kyryl Natyazhko.

As a team, Arizona is averaging 77.7 points per game, which is No. 32 nationally. The Wildcats also rank No. 14 in field goal percentage (48.7 percent), No. 20 in free-throw percentage (75.7 percent), and No. 31 in three-point percent (38.9 percent). They are also No. 10 in points per possession with 1.16 points per offensive trip. Arizona has forced 11 opponent players to foul out.

On the defensive end, Arizona is one of the top rebounding teams in the nation. The Wildcats limit their opponents to 28.6 rebounds per game, good enough for No. 3 in the NCAA, and 18.7 defensive rebounds per contest, which is No. 1 in the country.

After this big game for the No. 20 Huskies (13-4, 5-1), Washington will begin to prepare for the Arizona State Sun Devils (9-8, 1-4), who comes into Seattle on Saturday at 1 p.m. PST. This game will also be nationally televised on Fox Sports Net.


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