A contrast in styles

BOISE, ID - Talk about a contrast in opponents. One team basically was formed from players in one city. The other team, you'd need a passport to play for. One team wants to take it up and down the floor at light speed. The other team would like to play a more-disciplined, less-hectic pace. One team plays in a power conference. The other team probably had to make sure there was power in their gym to turn the lights on before gametime. It's what March Madness is all about.

Pacific (27-3) takes their best shot against number-one seed Washington (28-5) Saturday at Taco Bell Arena, and if you're looking for a scouting report on what the Dawgs might face, make sure you send it along to UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. He'll throw anything into the hopper at this stage, as these Tigers aren't like the same ones he faced when at Pepperdine. Back then they one big Tiger by the name of Michael Olowokandi.

"They (Pacific) really don't resemble anyone we've played, maybe Stanford," said Romar Friday. "MAYBE Stanford. They like to play at that type of pace, tempo. But it's like Stanford, but with Oregon State's bigs. That's not a knock on Stanford's bigs, it's just that Pacific's bigs are very versatile and interchangeable, like (Nick) DeWitz, David Lucas and Sasa Cuic are. Those guys are a lot like that."

One thing is clear after seeing the Tigers dismantle Pittsburgh on Thursday - they like to push it into the paint. "(Pacific) is a tough team," UW senior guard Will Conroy said. "They go inside and it's going to be a group effort. (We have to) keep them from dominating us in the post. We'll have to gang rebound. They're big and they have guards who make shots"

"Their role is much different than how we use our guards," Romar said. "They are very efficient and don't play a high-risk game. It's their job to get the ball inside and then play off of that. But (Mike) Webb went 4-4 (from three in the first half), so they can shoot it too. But they play an inside-out game, whereas we count on our guards for a lot more."

The Tigers' leading scorer at 13.2 points per game is forward Christian Maraker, a player Head Coach Bob Thomason said he 'lucked out' on while playing a tour in Europe four years ago. "I happened to ask a coach we were playing against if there were any good players, and he told me about this kid that was coming to play against the American team. He went 7-for-7. We watched the film that night and thought he might end up being a pretty good player."

"They offered me a scholarship," added Maraker. "I went to visit and I liked the school so I signed. They asked me if there were any other players and I told them about Jasko (Korajkic). They came to see him and liked what they saw."

"I keep telling Christian that if he went 0-7 in that game, he wouldn't be with us," joked Thomason.

It didn't hurt that Jasko is Maraker's best friend. The two have adapted well to the style of basketball that's played in the states. "Here it's more physical, there are more athletes," said Maraker. "Over there it's more of a team game. Here there's a lot more one-on-one."

Washington plans on bringing their 'hard hats' instead of their 'cool jackets' on Saturday, according to Romar. "I think we'll be alright," he said. "We always seem to come out and throw the first punch and get up on teams," added junior forward Mike Jensen. "But with a team like Pacific we're going to have to keep the pressure on them the whole game."

After the Huskies' 88-77 win over Montana Thursday a lot has been made on how Washington coasted to their victory. The Grizzlies outscored the Huskies the final 36 minutes of the game after being run out of the gym early on.

But don't expect Taco Bell Arena to be loving the Dawgs Saturday, as was the case up in Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout. Up there, the Huskies used their style of play and disarming personalities to their advantage in winning over crowds. In Boise, the role of persona non grata has been foisted upon them with alarming speed. They may think they are still underdogs, but the expected pro-Pacific crowd are eager to feast on the lowest 1-seed in the tournament.

"We just need to have fun and continue to do the things we've been doing all year to get here," said Washington guard Nate Robinson.

Thomason will take all the help on the road, but the irony is that the Tigers may not really need it. "I think we're one of the few teams that can say we have a better record on the road than at home," he said. It's true; Pacific is 13-1 on the road and 12-1 at the Spanos Center in Stockton.

"They (Pacific) are warriors," said Conroy. "This is one of those games where you throw the ball up and get ready to battle. It's going to be a straight war."

Washington Notes:
General Notes: This is the sixth meeting between Washington and Pacific ... Huskies have won last four ... series dates to 1971 ... first meeting on a neutral floor ... first meeting since 1993 ... no common opponents this season ... Since NCAA Tournament seeding began in 1979, No. 1 seeds are 18-2 against No. 8 seeds in odd-numbered years ... only two schools to pull the upset in the odd-numbered years are Villanova in 1985, which upset top-seed Michigan en route to the national championship ... Kansas State upset Oregon State in 1981 ... by comparison, the No. 8 seeds have had a much better record in even-numbered years, with 10 upsets of top seeds in 22 attempts.

Neutral success: Washington is 8-18 all-time against opponents ranked in the top-25 on a neutral floor ... Huskies are 2-0 this season, defeating No. 19 Alabama 79-76 at the Great Alaska Shootout and No. 8 Arizona 81-72 at the Pac-10 Tournament ... they are 7-0 in games played on a neutral floor this season.

Success breeds success: With a win over Pacific, UW would tie a school record for wins in a season with 29 ... the record dates to 1938 when the Huskies went 29-7.

Punchy Pac-10: Pac-10 teams seeded No. 1 have struggled of late against No. 8 seeds, losing three straight games ...Alabama defeated Stanford in 2004, Wisconsin defeated Arizona and North Carolina defeated Stanford in 2000 ... all-time, Pac-10 schools are 3-4 as a No. 1 vs. a No. 8.

Pacific Notes:
Pac-ing it in: Pacific is 20-78 all-time against current members of the Pac-10, including 0-1 in NCAA Tournament play. They lost to UCLA in the 1967 West Regional ... Pacific has never advanced to the Sweet 16.

Wins by the bunches: Entering Saturday's game with a 27-3 record, Pacific has already bettered its single-season record win total by two.

Stingy Tigers: Pacific is second in the Big West, holding opponents to 40.8 percent shooting from the floor ... Pacific allows 63.6 points per game, third-best in the Big West ... The Tigers will have to contain the Pac-10's best shooting offense in Washington, which makes 48.3 percent of its shots from the field.

Double your pleasure: Pacific is 24-0 when three or more players reach double-figures ... in Thursday's victory over Pittsburgh, the Tigers had four players reach double figures ... Washington saw five players score in double-figures in its win over Montana.

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