The Arizona Wildcats (27-6) look for their first Pac-10 Tournament crown since 2002 when they play the Washington Huskies (22-10) at 4:00 P.M. Arizona time. The Huskies are playing for their second consecutive Pac-10 Tournament title after running the table in 2010.
How did they get here?
Arizona was the number 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, and advanced by defeating 9th-seed Oregon State 78-69 in the quarterfinals and 4th-seeded USC 67-62 in the semifinals.
Washington was the third seeded team, and beat Washington State 89-87 in the quarterfinals and Oregon 69-51 in the semifinals. The Huskies had an easy road to the finals, playing the 6th and 7th-seeded teams in the conference. UCLA, the 2nd-seeded team in the conference, was upset by the Ducks on Thursday.
Who won the season series?
Arizona and Washington split their season series in 2011, with both teams winning on their home court. Washington defeated UA 85-68 on January 20, dealing Arizona its second Pac-10 loss of the season. The Wildcats returned the favor on February 19, securing a huge 87-86 victory over the Huskies. This game was close from start to finish, and Derrick Williams sealed the victory with a huge block in the lane with just seconds to play.
Who are the players to watch?
Arizona is led by Williams, who has averaged 19 points per game this season. He's averaging 21 ppg in the Pac-10 Tournament, and is the heart and soul of the Wildcats team. Not only does he scoop up loose rebounds with authority, he's also shooting 35-for-57 from beyond the arc this season (good for a 61.4%).
Washington is paced by a few stars, namely point guard Isaiah Thomas and center Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Both players average around 16 points a game and are good counterpoints for each other. Bryan-Amaning has improved a great deal over last season, when he only scored 8.8 ppg. A senior, he only has a few games left in his career, while Thomas is only a junior.
Washington guard Venoy Overton has been suspended for the entire Pac-10 Tournament for allegedly supplying alcohol to minors. He's under investigation by local police and may not suit up for the NCAA Tournament either. His scrappy play will be missed by the Huskies.
For more coverage of the Pac-10 Tournament and the Arizona Wildcats, check out AZ Desert Swarm.