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Arizona vs. Washington: Who to watch, what to watch for, and why you should watch

The Wildcats destroyed the Huskies in Tucson, but it'll be much, much harder to win in Seattle

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Arizona Wildcats will take on the Washington Huskies in Seattle. Sure, the last time the Wildcats played the Huskies, it went very well. But it's much harder to win on the road than it is to win at home. With that caveat, let's dive into which Huskies to watch out for, how the game will play out, and why you should watch.

Who to watch

Their two guards, Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray, use the lion’s shares of Washington’s possessions. There is a massive difference, though, in the effectiveness of those two players.

Andrew Andrews is a devastating offensive player. Usually, I don't like high usage guards with low field goal percentages (looking at you, Bryce Alford and Tyrone Wallace-prior-to-this-season). But Andrews is different. He is a good three-point shooter, averaging about 38% from three, and he gets to the free throw line at an absurd rate. He's better than anyone else in the Pac-12 at drawing fouls, and he makes his free throws. He's basically following the James Harden blueprint on offensive efficiency. To top it all off, he does all this (for 20+ points per game) while still averaging nearly five assists. It's insane.

Dejounte Murray also puts up points (just over 15 a game), but he does so much less efficiently. Murray is worse at shooting threes, worse at getting to the line, and worse at shooting free throws than Andrews. He shoots significantly better from inside the arc - his 44% destroys Andrews' 37.7% from two - but still is nowhere near as efficient offensively. The difference in efficiency between these two players is really a case study in why getting to the line and making three pointers are so important for scorers. Given how much better and how much more dangerous Andrews is, the Wildcats would be wise to focus their attention (meaning Kadeem Allen) on Andrews and force Murray to try to carry the Huskies.

What to watch for

This game will be fun. The Huskies have played faster than any other Pac-12 team in conference play, which should make for an exciting game. Though they aren't the most efficient team offensively, they get offensive rebounds to make up for it. They also get to the line about as well as anyone in the conference. Look for the Huskies to push the pace and attack the basket against Arizona.

Though I usually focus on Arizona's opponent in these previews, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Allonzo Trier might be back for this game. He's currently listed as questionable, which probably makes it a coin flip as to whether or not he plays. Importantly, when Arizona destroyed Washington in Tucson, Trier had just broken his hand and did not play. It'll be interesting to see what impact he has on the game if he returns given how much success Arizona had in that particular match-up without him.

Why you should watch

This is one of the more difficult games remaining on Arizona's schedule. Aside from the road games against Utah and Colorado, Arizona's win probability (per KenPom) is lower than it is for any other games this season, with the Wildcats currently 62% to win. This is also a chance for Arizona to show that it can pull off a difficult win. So far this year, the Wildcats don't really have any "bad" losses - all of their losses have been to good teams and they only lost one game at home - but they really have only one or two good wins (at Gonzaga and maybe at Arizona State). Beating Washington on the road would be a "good" win that would not only help the Wildcats make up ground in the Pac-12 standings, but also improve their potential seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats tip off against the Huskies in Seattle at 2:30 p.m. MST on Fox.