Washington basketball secured a road win against Arizona on Saturday, now they face them again in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament
After a huge, 69-63 win in Tucson on Saturday night, Washington basketball has to see the talented Arizona Wildcats yet again to open up the Pac-12 Tournament. Led by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Zeke Nnaji, the fifth-seeded Wildcats will be looking for revenge.
The biggest key to the matchup will be whether or not Chase Jeter suits up for Arizona. The redshirt senior was suspended for the last weekend of the regular season due to a violation of team rules, and it’s unclear whether he’ll suit up for the opening round of the tournament or not.
The Wildcats were extremely vulnerable in the paint without him, and Isaiah Stewart had his way in the second meeting of the season between the two teams, accounting for 16 points and seven rebounds, compared to just nine points and 11 rebounds in the first matchup.
On offense, the biggest key for the Huskies is going to be reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Jaden McDaniels. McDaniels played one of his best all-around games of the season in Tucson, and if he can be a spark plug off the bench yet again, Washington’s offense is going to be very tough to contain.
Another player to watch is Nahziah Carter. The junior guard has stepped up big as of late, and if the Huskies want any shot at winning the Pac-12 Tournament, he’s going to have to have a huge week in Las Vegas. Carter tied his career-high in points scored after dropping 23 against Arizona State, and going 5/8 from three-point range. If he can continue to shoot the ball reliably from long range, the Huskies are going to be a tough team to beat.
A few issues that have plagued Washington all season long are turnovers and three-point shooting, and they might have an answer to both those problems. When it comes to turnovers, it’s a long shot, but there’s a possibility that starting point guard Quade Green might be named academically eligible this week. The school’s winter quarter is coming to an end, and if he was able to raise his GPA, Green would be eligible to play. He had a 5/2 assist to turnover ratio when he was on the floor, and also showed that he’s a reliable scorer to end droughts without a bucket, which has been a big issue for the Huskies in a lot of their losses.
As for three-point shooting, the Huskies have a not-so-secret weapon in freshman RaeQuan Battle. Mike Hopkins has expressed his confidence in Battle to shoot from anywhere on the floor at any time, and while he’s only played sparingly over the last few weeks, Battle could be an X-factor on the offensive end of the floor.