The first meeting against Arizona was... not good. The Wildcats shot 50% from the field, and got offensive rebounds on nearly half of their misses. Simply put: the Huskies got their tails kicked on defense. They also played without Justin Holiday, who would have been the man to draw the matchup on Jamelle Horne, who torched the Huskies for 22 points including 5 three pointers. Holiday is also one of the team's best defensive rebounders, and would have helped in that aspect. However, having Holiday alone wouldn't have been the difference of 17 points; the team as a whole wasn't motivated defensively and dug themselves a hole.
Fortunately for UW, this game is at home and Justin Holiday is eligible. This year at home the Dawgs have had no trouble coming out firing on both sides of the ball, and even if they start slowly (as they did against WSU) they don't let up in Hec Ed, and can pull away in the second half.
The biggest story over the past few games has been the play of Venoy Overton. The once reckless point guard who was always playing at top speed and giving away turnovers as often as he created them has taken huge strides since conference play has started. In fact, he is leading all Pac-10 players in assist:turnover ratio since conference play has started. His point and assist numbers the past 3 games: 18/0, 20/8, 6/7. He has learned that his quickness and speed of play is most effective when it's his top gear, and not his only gear. Watch him play tonight, and you'll likely see him do something he hasn't done in the past, and that's slow down.
To win against the Wildcats the Huskies need to play with the same energy they showed in the second half of the WSU game when they were shutting the Cougars down when WSU had the ball and turning the rebounds into transition opportunities. That tired WSU out and the game became a layup drill for UW.
They're all big from here on out, especially at home. Kenpom gives UW a 71% chance of victory (which I think is a little low - we're better than he says we are at home, an worse than he says we are on the road) and gives a score prediction of 80-73. I'm guessing it'll be higher scoring than that, something like 87-75.