UW Men Make 11th NCAA Tournament Appearance
March 16, 2004
FRIDAY, MARCH 19 --
(#8 seed) Washington vs. (#9) UAB; appr. 6:40 p.m. PST (9:40 EST)
Husky Sports Radio Network / KHHO (AM 850) & KJR (FM 95.7) in Puget Sound Area
SUNDAY, MARCH 21 --
Winner vs. (#1) Kentucky or Florida A&M; appr. 2:00 p.m. PST (5:00 EST)
The No. 8 seed Washington Huskies (19-11) make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999, their 11th overall, when they meet No. 8 UAB (20-9) on Friday, March 19. The St. Louis Region first-round matchup takes place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Tip-off is approximately 6:40 p.m. Pacific Time (9:40 Eastern) as the game is scheduled to start 30 minutes following the Kentucky-Florida A&M first-round game that tips-off at 4:10 p.m. PST. This is the first ever meeting between Conference USA co-champion UAB and the Pac-10 runner-up Huskies. The UW-UAB winner advances to meet the victor of Kentucky's matchup with the Tuesday play-in winner Florida A&M. The second-round winner moves to the St. Louis Regional at the Edward Jones Dome. Washington turned its season around in miraculous fashion to claim a postseason bid by winning 14 of its last 17 games, including a Mar. 6 victory over No. 1 and previously undefeated Stanford.
Every NCAA Tournament game will be televised live on CBS (KIRO, channel 7 in Seattle). Dick Enberg calls the action with color commentary from Matt Guokas for the first two rounds in Columbus. Lesley Visser provides sideline reports.
All UW men's basketball games are broadcast live on the Husky Sports Radio Network. Friday's game against UAB will be broadcast on KHHO (AM 850) and KJR's FM station (FM 95.7) in the Puget Sound area. Bob Rondeau provides the play-by-play for the 17th season. He is joined by commentator Jason Hamilton.
UW in the NCAA
In its 11th appearance, Washington has a 10-11 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play. The Huskies suffered a 59-58 first-round loss to Miami, Ohio in their last NCAA outing, during the 1999 tournament in New Orleans. The previous season, UW advanced to the 1998 Sweet 16 before having its tournament run ended by a 75-74 loss to Connecticut on a last-second putback by Richard Hamilton. Washington advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1984 and 1998. The Huskies reached the final eight in 1943, 1948 and 1951 before finishing third in 1953 in its only Final Four berth.
UW vs. the Field
The Huskies played five teams this season from the 65-team NCAA field, registering a combined 5-4 record in those games. The Huskies played Arizona (3-0), Eastern Washington (1-0), Gonzaga (0-1), N.C. State (0-1) and Stanford (1-2).
Washington won 14 of its last 17 games after starting the season with a 5-8 mark ... The Huskies' last two NCAA appearances resulted in one-point losses to Connecticut (1998) and Miami, Ohio (1999) ... UW's Lorenzo Romar posted a 3-0 record vs. UAB between 2000-02 while coaching at Saint Louis of Conference USA ... Coach Romar participates in his sixth NCAA Tournament, his second as a head coach. He took Saint Louis in 2000 ... Washington's Lorenzo Romar coached in Conference USA during his three seasons at Saint Louis from 2000-2002. His Billiken squads posted a 3-0 record against UAB ... Seven-time national champion Kentucky is the top seed for the entire tournament ... The Wildcats won the only previous meeting with Washington, a 66-58 decision during the first round of the 1985 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. That game marked the final coaching appearance of legendary Coach Marv Harshman who retired after 14 seasons at UW ... The No. 8 seed is Washington's highest since entering the 1985 NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed. That team lost to 12th-seeded Kentucky.
Like the Phoenix of mythology, the Huskies have risen from the ashes of an 0-5 conference start. Just 41 days after residing in last place Washington vaulted into sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 standings with an 89-84 victory at Arizona on Feb. 26. The 75-62 triumph over No. 1 Stanford (Mar. 6) clinched UW's first second-place finish since 1986. UW won 12 of its final 13 Pac-10 regular-season games, its best streak ever.
Washington is averaging 81.4 points per game, the highest scoring output since the 1972 Huskies finished with a school record 84.8-point average. UW ranks second among Pac-10 teams in scoring and was listed No. 8 last week among NCAA Division I teams at 81.3 points per game. The Huskies have reached the 100-point plateau twice for the first time since the 1980-81 season. The 103-99 overtime decision at Oregon State (Jan. 17) matched the highest total ever for UW in an enemy arena. It equaled a 103-70 win at Washington State on Feb. 1, 1975. The 104-91 win over Eastern Washington (Nov. 29) marked UW's highest point total in 311 games, dating to a 130-67 win over Chico State on Dec. 1, 1992. It was UW's first 100-point effort in 159 games, dating to a 101-86 win at USC on Jan. 29, 1998. The Huskies reached the 90-point plateau 10 times this season, a figure they reached only once last year. This is the most 90-point plus performances for a Washington team since the 1972 squad registered 12.
Washington had five double-figure scorers in six of the last seven games. UW boasts a balanced offense with five players averaging double-figure points. The last time five Huskies finished a season in double figures was the 1975 campaign. Seven different players have led UW in scoring during a game and five have turned in a 20-point performance.
The pivotal point in Washington's season came Jan. 17 in Corvallis, Ore. The Huskies were 0-5 in Pac-10 play and trailed Oregon State 70-54 with six minutes remaining. They rallied with Nate Robinson hitting a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and won 103-99 in overtime. That ignited a string of five consecutive victories that ended Feb. 7 at UCLA. The five-game winning streak was the longest for the Huskies since 1999.
The UAB Series
> Friday marks the first ever meeting between Washington and UAB.
> The Huskies have a 15-18 all-time record against current members of Conference USA, including a 79-64 loss this season at Houston. The Huskies have played Cincinnati (1-3), DePaul (2-2), Houston (4-2), Louisville (1-1), Marquette (0-2), Memphis (1-1) and Saint Louis (6-7).
> The teams have one common opponent this season. UW lost 79-64 on Dec. 20 at Houston while the Blazers defeated Houston 64-42 at home on Jan. 10.
> In his second year at UAB, Mike Anderson has never coached against the Huskies.
> Second-year Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has a 3-0 record against UAB, all three wins coming between 2000-02 when he was the head coach at Conference USA rival Saint Louis.
Party Like it's 1999
Turn the clock back five years to 1999. That was the last time Washington had a winning season and participated in the NCAA Tournament. That's also the last time the Huskies performed some feats they have accomplished this season. UW has clinched its first winning record (19-11) since the 1999 squad went 17-12. UW registered its first five-game winning streak since 1999, including a Jan. 29 upset of No. 9 Arizona. The last time UW had beaten a top-10 ranked foe was on Feb. 4, 1999 with a 90-84 win over No. 10 Arizona. The Huskies beat Arizona State (Jan. 31) to complete their first weekly sweep against a pair of Pac-10 travel partners since 1999. UW sold out its final two home games, the first back-to-back sellouts since the 1999 campaign.
Thirteen is not an unlucky number for the Huskies who have registered five of this season's victories by exactly 13 points. Washington upset No. 1 Stanford (Mar. 6) by a 75-62 tally and won 96-83 over No. 9 Arizona (Jan. 29), 75-62 at Washington State (Jan. 24), 104-91 over Eastern Washington (Nov. 29) and 91-78 over UC Riverside (Nov. 24).
Did You Know?
The state of Washington has three schools participating in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. The Huskies from Seattle are joined by Gonzaga (Spokane) and Eastern Washington (Cheney) in the 2004 field. The only division I school in the state that isn't in this year's tournament is Washington State (Pullman). Only twice before have two teams from the state competed the same year: 1999 (Gonzaga, UW), 1953 (Seattle University, UW).
When the Huskies shoot well, they usually win. The opposite is also true. Washington has a perfect 12-0 record in games during which it shot 50 percent or higher. UW is 7-11 when its field goal mark is below 50 percent. The Huskies have a 15-1 record when their field goal percentage is superior or equal to its opponent, the only setback coming Feb. 22 at North Carolina State. UW is 4-10 when being outshot from the field. The Huskies shot 50 percent or higher in nine of their last 17 games and just three times in the first 13 games.
Streaky Washington (3 wins ... 3 losses ... 2 wins ... 5 losses ... 5 wins ... 1 loss ... 3 wins ... 1 loss ... 6 wins ... 1 loss) won 14 of its last 17 games immediately following a five-game losing streak. The Huskies lost their opening five Pac-10 games before embarking on their first five-game winning streak since the 1999 season. Included in that stretch were three consecutive road victories that matched UW's longest such streak ever since Pac-10 play began in 1979. The 1998 UW team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 was the last to string three Pac-10 road wins together. The Huskies also tied a school record with a streak of seven straight Pac-10 regular-seaon victories.
Washington has started five different lineups. The current unit opened 15 of the last 16 games, missing only the final home game in which senior Curtis Allen started in place of Nate Robinson. The current group features four sophomores (Mike Jensen, Bobby Jones, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy) and one junior (Will Conroy). Last year, the Huskies implemented nine unique lineups and Will Conroy was the only player to start every game. Conroy did not start this year's season opener against Portland State, stopping a streak of 34 consecutive starting assignments. Brandon Roy and Mike Jensen are the only two Huskies to start all 30 games.
The road had been unkind to Washington ... until this season. The Huskies have a 6-7 overall record away from home, with a 5-4 conference ledger that marks their first winning Pac-10 road record since 1986 (6-3). The Huskies posted only one Pac-10 road win in each of the previous three seasons: at Oregon (2001), at Oregon State (2002) and at USC (2003). They had a 3-29 record in their previous 32 conference road contests before finishing this season with victories in five of their last six away contests. Last week's two wins at the Arizona schools marked UW's first sweep of a road trip since 1998 and the first sweep at Arizona and ASU since 1984. The 89-84 win at No. 17 Arizona stopped a streak of 24 straight UW road losses against ranked teams. The Arizona trip capped a trying 10-day span from Feb. 20-29 during which the Huskies traveled over 7,500 miles. That journey included a trip to 13th-ranked North Carolina State which rallied to edge UW 77-72 on Feb. 22 in Raleigh. UW matched its longest Pac-10 road winning streak with wins at Oregon State, Washington State and USC. UW had five previous three-game road winning streaks since Pac-10 play began in 1979.
Sophomore Bobby Jones ranks second among Huskies in rebounds with 4.9 per game, a figure that ranks 19th among Pac-10 players. He ranks fourth among conference competitors with a team-leading field goal accuracy of 57.3 percent. Jones ranks third among UW players with 34 steals. He amassed a career-high 22 points, on 10-for-13 shooting, at North Carolina State (Feb. 22). Jones tallied 10 or more points in 20 games this season after reaching double figures just five times all last season. A defensive specialist last season, Jones started the final 15 games in 2003 and ranked No. 7 on the team with 5.7 points per game. He nearly doubled that total to 11.2 points this year.
There is no 'y' in his first name, but he is known for hitting the trey. Junior Tre Simmons led all Washington scorers seven times, tying Brandon Roy for the team lead. Simmons ranks eighth among Pac-10 players in 3-point percentage, hitting 41 percent (46-114) of his attempts beyond the arc. He amassed 12 treys in the last four games, including five during a Pac-10 Tournament semifinal win over Arizona. Simmons broke open a one-point game in the second half of the 75-62 win over No. 1 Stanford with three straight 3-pointers. Simmons hit at least one 3-pointer in nine of the last 10 games and has 13 multiple-trey outings this year. He poured in a career-high 22 points at Arizona (Feb. 26), including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Brandon Roy is a rising star in his first full collegiate season. He was named to the National Basketball Writer's Association all-district team on March 8. The 6-6 swingman received the March 1 Pac-10 Player of the Week award after leading UW to a sweep in the state of Arizona. The last time the Huskies had a road sweep in Arizona was during January of 1984, six months before Roy was born. He leads the team in points (13.1) and rebounds (5.2), figures that rank No. 13 and No. 17 among Pac-10 players. Roy ranks second on UW in both assists (95) and steals (37). He amassed a career-high 30 points in 29 minutes at UCLA (Feb. 7), eclipsing his previous high of 22 points registered against UC Riverside (Nov. 24). At Houston on Dec. 20 Roy became the first player in UW history to lead the team in the five major statistics during a single game. Roy amassed 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. Roy was a consensus top-50 national recruit among the prep class of 2002, but was not declared eligible by the NCAA until Jan. 16, 2003. He played 13 games with two starts last season, averaging 6.1 points per game. He averaged 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds during the final four games of 2003. Roy applied for the 2002 NBA Draft out of high school, but did not attend any pre-draft camps and withdrew his application prior to the draft. He is the fourth product of Seattle's Garfield High School on the current UW roster.
Nate the Great
High-flying Nate Robinson raised his game to a higher level during conference play and was voted to the first-team All-Pac-10 team. He won the Feb. 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week award after leading UW to a home sweep of the Arizona schools. Robinson scored a career-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and five steals during UW's 96-83 upset of ninth-ranked Arizona (Jan. 29). The 5-9 guard led UW with a 14.6-point scoring average in conference games, an increase of 6.6 points from his average of 8.0 points against non-conference competition. Robinson posted double-figure points in 13 of 17 Pac-10 regular-season games after posting only three double-digit efforts in nine non-conference outings. Robinson tallied 23 of his 25 points after halftime at Oregon State (Jan. 17), including a 3-pointer inside the final second that forced overtime in UW's 103-99 win. He ranks thid among Pac-10 players in free throw percentage (85.1%), third in steals (53) and 16th in scoring (12.7).
Sophomore Nate Robinson and his 40-inch vertical leap will concentrate on basketball this season after having a huge impact last year on both the hardwood and the gridiron. In 2003, Robinson garnered Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honors in basketball after leading UW with a 13.0-point scoring average. He had eight points in 23 minutes Jan. 2, 2003 against UCLA after starting two days earlier in UW's 34-24 loss to Purdue in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31. Robinson registered 17 double-figure outings and topped all UW scorers a team-high 11 times in his 23 games. The 5-9 leaper was spectacular in his second collegiate outing, amassing 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 18 minutes at Santa Clara (Dec. 7). He followed that up with another 19-point effort, against Eastern Washington (Dec. 14). Robinson suited up, but did not play in the Nov. 24, 2002 season opener, one day after grabbing a critical interception for the Husky football team that upset No. 3 Washington State 29-26 in Pullman. Robinson was a prep All-American in both football and basketball. He started at cornerback in the final six Husky football games of 2002 and recorded two interceptions. Robinson averaged 17.2 yards on six kick-off returns. He entered UW on a football scholarship, but switched to basketball prior to this season. He was the 2002 Washington Class AAA state basketball player of the year after averaging 17.9 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals for state champion Rainier Beach of Seattle. His father, Jacque Robinson, was a standout running back on the UW football team and ranks seventh among all-time Huskies with 2,300 career yards. Jacque is the only player to earn MVP honors in both the Rose (1982) and Orange (1985) Bowls.
UW's reserves outscored the Arizona bench 40-6 Friday. For the season, the Husky reserves outscored their counterparts 832-605 ... UW is outscoring opponents in the second half by a combined 1301-1199 tally ... Coach Lorenzo Romar has a winning record (29-28) in two seasons at Washington after starting out with a 15-25 mark as of Jan. 17, 2004 ... The Huskies have rallied from double-digit deficits in five victories this season: at Oregon State (16), vs. Arizona (11), at USC (11), vs. Oregon (13) and vs. UCLA (11) ... Five Huskies registered double-figure points in six of the last seven games. UW has eight games this season with five double-figure scorers ... The Huskies were credited with a remarkable 27 assists on their 33 field goals at Arizona (Feb. 26) ... UW swept a road series in Arizona for the first time since 1984, before Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy were born ... Bobby Jones' career-high 22-point output at North Carolina State (Feb. 22) made him the fifth Husky to reach the 20-point plateau in a game this season ... Washington's loss at N.C. State was its first in the 14 games this season when they led at halftime ... UW overcame five halftime deficits to win games ... The team that leads at halftime has a 25-6 record in Husky games ... Brandon Roy tallied 30 points at UCLA (Feb. 7) and Nate Robinson had 31 vs. Arizona (Jan. 29), marking the first season two Huskies had 30-point games in six years. In 1998, Todd MacCulloch and Deon Luton were the last 30-point duo.
High School Reunion
Every time the Huskies take the floor it amounts to a reunion of alums from Seattle's Garfield High School. Four former prep teammates are listed on the Washington roster; juniors Will Conroy and Tre Simmons along with sophomores Brandon Roy and Anthony Washington. The quartet of former Bulldogs has combined to score 1,165 of UW's 2,443 points, an average of 38.8 points per game. They have accounted for 48 percent of the Huskies' total offensive output. A Garfield grad has led or tied the team in scoring during 19 games this season. Roy (13.1) and Conroy (12.1) are UW's No. 1 and No. 3 scorers. Their Garfield team also featured current USC guard Roydell Smiley and Isaiah Stanback a red-shirt freshman who plays on the Husky football team.
The most improved player in the Pac-10 last season was point guard Will Conroy, now a junior at Washington. His 12.7-point sophomore scoring average was 10.2 better than his freshman average of 2.5 points, the largest improvement by any Pac-10 player in 2003. Conroy currently ranks third among all Husky scorers with 12.1 points per game. Conroy is UW's top playmaker. He has distributed 139 assists, an average of 4.6 per game that ranks fifth among Pac-10 players. He is tied for second among single-season UW playmakers. Conroy has registered the 23rd 100-assist season in Husky history. He had 108 assists last season and is the sixth Husky to post back-to-back 100-assist seasons, the first since Jaime Booker in 1996 and 1997. Conroy's assist/turnover ratio of 1.78 (139 assists/78 turnovers) is the eighth best among Pac-10 players.
Producing Point Guards
UW point guards Will Conroy (Garfield HS) and Nate Robinson (Rainier Beach HS) both hail from the city of Seattle. The Emerald City has produced some jewels on the hardwood, a legacy of point guards that is highlighted by former Arizona standout Jason Terry and Michigan's Jamal Crawford. Three Pac-10 schools may start Seattle natives at the point this season, including Aaron Brooks (Franklin HS) at Oregon and Rodrick Stewart (Rainier Beach HS) at USC along with the UW duo. Other prominent point guards from the state of Washington include Gonzaga's John Stockton (Spokane) and Dan Dickau (Prairie), Oregon's Luke Ridnour (Blaine) and current Florida freshman Ryan Appleby (Stanwood).
Last UW Game
#2 Stanford 77, UW 66 (Mar. 13, 2004/Los Angeles)
Matt Lottich had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and second-ranked Stanford defeated Washington 77-66 at Staples Center to win its first Pac-10 tournament title. A week ago, Washington spoiled Stanford's bid for a perfect season with a 75-62 victory in Seattle. The loss knocked the Cardinal from the No. 1 ranking. The Huskies (19-11) outscored Stanford 9-6 to start the second half and get within three points after trailing by six at the break. Then Stanford (29-1) ran off eight unanswered points for a 59-48 lead. Jason Haas drove the lane, Joe Kirchofer and Lottich scored inside baskets and Kirchofer scored again for Stanford's largest lead of the game. UW never got closer than five points after that. The Cardinal controlled the boards 42-33 and held a 48-26 scoring edge in the paint. Childress added 14 points and nine rebounds. Justin Davis had 13 points and Kirchofer had 11 points and eight rebounds. Nate Robinson led the Huskies with 16 points and five assists. Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen added 11 points each. The Huskies made 12 of their first 17 shots before cooling to 40 percent shooting for the game. The Cardinal trailed by six points about six minutes into the game. Stanford took its first lead of the game on a 12-0 run capped by Lottich's 3-pointer that made it 38-31 with 3:14 remaining. Davis scored five points in the spurt, while UW committed four turnovers. The Huskies outscored Stanford 8-7 to end the half trailing 45-39.
Quicksilver guard Curtis Allen is the lone senior on the Washington roster. He ranks second among all-time Huskies with 151 career 3-pointers. The record is 212 treys by Deon Luton (1997-2000). Allen hit six treys at Wyoming (Dec. 6). He has amassed 967 points during his career and needs 33 more to become the 28th player in UW history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Allen's current career free throw mark of 86.7 percent (202-233) is the best in school history. He ranks fifth among all-time Pac-10 players. Former UCLA standout Rod Foster (1980-83) leads at 88.0 percent.
Washington registered its third consecutive winning non-conference record, posting a 5-4 mark outside of Pac-10 play. Two of UW's losses came against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press poll, No. 3 (Gonzaga) and No. 15 (N.C. State). Last year the Huskies finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 5-4 record following a 6-5 ledger in 2001.
Wait 'til Next Year
A pair of Huskies are not competing in games this year, waiting until next season until they are eligible. Jamaal Williams, a 6-5 forward with a powerful inside presence, is red-shirting this season after transferring from New Mexico. He averaged 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2003 for the Lobos, including a 25-point, 15-rebound performance at UNLV on Feb. 23. Walk-on Matt Fletcher joined the team in the fall as a transfer from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The Maize (Kansas) High School product played at Butler County Junior College in 2002.
The University of Washington is serving as host to first- and second-round action of the 2004 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Games will be played, Thursday, March 18 and Saturday, March 20 at KeyArena in Seattle. The NCAA announced Feb. 6 that the two rounds at the Seattle site were sold out.
The Kentucky Series
> Kentucky won the only previous meeting with Washington, a 66-58 decision on March 14, 1985 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City.
> Kenny Walker paced the Wildcats in the first meeting with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Detlef Schrempf and Paul Fortier tied for team-high honors for Washington with 16 points.
> The loss to Kentucky marked the final game for legendary Washington coach Marv Harshman who concluded his 14-year Husky career with a 246-146 record.
> Seventh-year Wildcat coach Tubby Smith has never coached against the Huskies.
> Second-year UW coach Lorenzo Romar has never coached against Kentucky.
The Florida A&M Series
> Washington and Florida A&M have never met in men's basketball.
> Third-year Florida A&M coach Mike Gillespie Sr. has never coached against UW.
> Second-year UW coach Lorenzo Romar has never coached against the Rattlers.