The biggest game of the season is upon us, and unfortunately it does not feel all that big.
A few months back, when UW boasted an undefeated non-conference record and a top-15 ranking, I cautiously looked forward to this date. If the team was still playing at a high level in February, I reasoned, the Arizona game would let us know just how high that level could be.
I knew UW's schedule had been relatively weak and that the Pac-12 is not exactly loaded with top teams, so I looked towards February 13th as a sort of high-level reality check.
That reality check came far earlier than I ever anticipated. Actually, one could argue that this season has been made up of a serious of reality checks. The Stony Brook loss preventing an undefeated non-conference record, the losing streak to start conference play, Upshaw's mid-season dismissal.
Yet Friday the 13th has arrived and the HecEd crowd will be draped all in black, hoping some cursed luck followed the Wildcats all the way from Tuscon.
Some supernatural assistance certainly wouldn't hurt, given that a Washington team down to a single healthy Pac-12 quality big man will be facing an Arizona squad that boasts four starters standing 6-7 or taller.
Scoring on such size and length should be an issue for the Huskies, especially considering their lack of a perimeter threat aside from Donaven Dorsey.
The biggest challenge of all may be avoiding turnovers. NWG, Andrews, and Anderson all turn the ball over at unacceptable rates, while forcing steals is one of Arizona's greatest strengths.
My pessimism is obvious, but it's worth remembering that Arizona has now lost twice on the road to inferior Pac-12 teams (Oregon State, Arizona State). Stranger things have happened than an upset like this.
You can read my full preview and prediction here.
As always, enjoy the game and Go Dawgs!