Cal/Stanford Preview

The Husky men's basketball team will try to rebound this weekend after dropping two games in the desert. The Huskies will face the Cal Bears on Thursday night at 7 PM at Bank of America Arena and the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday at 4 PM. Both teams swept the Oregon schools at home last weekend and both teams bring in impressive records.

Last weekend the Huskies traveled to the desert where success has been rare in the past. A 32-point loss Thursday to Arizona State was not evident of the effort shown by the Huskies earlier in the season. Players admitted after the game that the team might have given up hope late in the second half. Those comments disappointed head coach Lorenzo Romar.

"That was not us, that was not the Huskies. We were down at half time and cut it to six early. After that it was over. That hasn't been a trait of our team this year the way we finished that game at Arizona State," he said. "We didn't flow in our motion. We had trouble making that extra pass and hitting the open man."

Saturday was a much better effort by the Huskies as they faced a team many consider the most talented in the country. "We had a lot of positives on Saturday, it was a much better effort," said Romar. "We didn't finish that game well, but I thought for three quarters of that game we did a good job. I sense after the ASU game we realized that we have to be a blue collar team to be successful…We came back and showed a better effort against UA."

The spark may have been Bobby Jones who earned his first start of the year and is likely to get his second on Thursday. "Bobby is a glue guy. He defends multiple positions. Despite being slight of build or undersized at times he does a good job on the boards. He's probably the best at forcing turnovers in our press," said Romar.

Thursday's opponent, Cal, is currently second in the conference at 3-0 trailing the #2 ranked Arizona Wildcats by only half a game. Last weekend Cal handled previously #10 ranked Oregon 88-72 Thursday at Haas Pavilion and followed it up with a 78-73 win over much improved Oregon State on Saturday.

At 10-2 Cal's only losses have come at the hands of ranked Georgia at the John Wooden Classic and ranked Kansas on December 28th. Their win over Stanford at home rounds out their perfect conference record. " Cal plays great good position defense. A true Cal team is difficult to penetrate against. They usually have good size," Romar said.

One of those sizeable opponents is Amit Tamir. 6-11 Tamir is averaging 16.8 points per contest and 6.7 rebounds, but sprained his knee on Saturday. Whether he plays is still unknown, but that won't change preparations for the Huskies. "We have to approach as if he's playing." Tamir is part of the big three that includes Pac-10 player of the week Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers. Wethers is a 6-5 guard scoring 14.3 a game, but Romar doesn't believe it will be a problem for his smaller guards. "Will is stronger guy and he does a good job on defense on guys up to 6-6." Shipp is scoring 20.6ppg including 35 in his last game versus Oregon State. Redshirt freshman Erik Bond from Seattle Prep is making his first appearance at Hec-Ed as a Cal Bear. Bond is a former teammate of Husky forward Jeffrey Day.

"The trip last week was more learning about ourselves," said the head coach. This week brings consecutive solid opponents into the Husky's home arena. Saturday Stanford and the Huskies will face off in a game the Huskies have not had recent success in. The Cardinal has won the last ten games against the Huskies, including the last five meetings in Seattle. In those five games in Seattle, the Cardinal has won by an average margin of 25.2 points. They are 11-4 overall and 2-1 in conference sweeping the Oregon schools and losing to Cal on the road the first week of the Pac-10 season.

Stanford hopes to bring Justin Davis and his league leading 9.4 rebounds up to Washington, but it remains to be seen if his MCL sprain in his left knee has healed in time. One player that Stanford will bring is Tyler Besecker. The 6-6 Junior from Mercer Island High School has not player big minutes and has only scored 3 points on the year. 6-1 guard Julius Barnes leads the Cardinal in scoring at 14.1 per game. 6-8 swingman Josh Childress is close behind at 13.5.

Though Stanford does not bring the same size into Hec-Ed there are elements that coach Romar must still take into consideration. "They run their guards off of a lot of screens. You have to be prepared to get through a lot of screens by big people. That's if you're 5-6 or 6-6," Said Romar regarding his undersized guards.

Both bay area schools come into Washington riding high. Though they are not ranked they will both provide stiff tests for the Huskies to measure themselves by as they continue into the Pac-10 season.

Notes: Lorenzo Romar has all but closed the door on the possibility of Charles Fredrick playing basketball for the Huskies this year. "Right now, I would say probably not, but that could change," he said. As the season progresses it will be more and more difficult for the standout wide receiver to add himself to the team. Fans may want to consider this weekend a "deadline".

With the UCLA coaching situation so volatile Romar was asked if he would ever be interested in returning to the school where he was an assistant coach on a national championship team. He responded. "I'm where I want to be for the rest of my coaching career." Top Stories