Washington vs. Arizona: Stopping C.J. Wilcox key for Wildcats against faltering Huskies

USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats aren't whiting out McKale Center for a game against the Washington Huskies; mother nature is taking care of that.

Time: 9 p.m. MST

TV: ESPN 2

McKale Center withheld from pulling the third whiteout against the Washington Huskies in a row. Mostly it's because Lorenzo Romar's team is struggling, having lost seven of its last nine games.

The blizzard (of sorts) in Tucson brings up this whiteout talk once again as the Arizona Wildcats host UW on Wednesday night. The mood for the Wildcats deserves such hype, especially if they need any extra juice to avoid a letdown following a not-so-appealing victory against the Utah Utes on Sunday.

Washington (14-12, 6-7 Pac-12) has only beaten ASU and Oregon State in the last nine games, and the Huskies' success is quite dependent on their top scorer, C.J. Wilcox. It isn't a fluke that the junior guard was pivotal in both of the last two wins, scoring 24 points against Oregon State this past weekend and posting a season-high seven assists against the Sun Devils when the Arizona schools visited the Pacific Northwest.

A volume shooter who averages 17.6 points per game, Wilcox needs to at least be involved, as the ASU victory showed. When he's struggled to score, as he did against the Sun Devils on 2-of-11 shooting, there needs to be something extra for the Huskies. That's been hard to come by this season.

Inconsistency across the roster has Romar's team stumbling after losing Terrence Ross to the NBA. About the only positive step forward has come from big man Shawn Kemp Jr., who first entered the starting lineup against the Wildcats in their Jan. 31 win at Washington and has only gotten better since.

Meanwhile, Arizona has taken few steps forward since that meeting.

Mark Lyons has been up-and-down within a single game, Solomon Hill has discovered that he'll have off-nights, and the younger players like Nick Johnson and the freshmen big men have sometimes disappeared. Defensive slips are the obvious cause of the Wildcats' most recent losses, however.

And like Washington, there aren't talented bench players to step in when the Arizona starters are struggling.

Sean Miller will probably keep Kevin Parrom in the starting lineup, a decision that last game gave Brandon Ashley a push once relegated to the bench. UA's coach might also allow Angelo Chol and Gabe York more opportunities to determine if they can contribute here or there.

It's not a whiteout, and the opponent doesn't matter so much this time around. But considering the importance of a home game when there are plenty of problems to solve, it might as well be.

Mark Lyons and Sean Miller comfortable with one another

ESPN's Dana O'Neil chronicles Sean Miller's relationship with point guard Mark Lyons through the years, why Lyons transfered from Xavier to Arizona, and pulls a football analogy from Miller about Lyons' mindset as a scoring point guard.

"It's not always pretty, but the analogy I would use is to these running quarterbacks in college and the NFL," Miller told O'Neil. "Part of the gift of a good offensive coordinator is to not try and make him something he isn't, but give him things he can do and try to teach him some of the things he needs to get better at. That's what we're doing with Mark."

Channing Frye on life

The Oregonian caught up with former Arizona Wildcat Channing Frye as he sits out this NBA season with an enlarged heart to write this nice feature. Frye is taking in some Arizona hoops games while seeking his degree in May, but he's also '95 percent' certain he'll be back on the Phoenix Suns next season.

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