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November 10, 2011Coming off a 77-60 exhibition win over Seattle Pacific last week, the Washington Huskies hope to carry that momentum into the weekend. Washington is hosting the World Vision Classic for three straight days, beginning Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The Huskies tip off their 2011-12 regular season against Georgia State at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by Houston Baptist Sunday and Portland Monday.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar expects a fast-paced game against Georgia State.
"New coach. Some of the same players," Romar said. "This will be one of the few teams that we will play that really will try to play up-tempo."
Georgia State is coming off an 11-18 season, but the Panthers' record is not indicative of their actual skill. In an exhibition game last Saturday, they outran Division 3 Oglethorpe University, 90-49. Although they simmered down in the second half, Georgia State shot 58.7 percent from the field in the first half. Nine players on Georgia State's squad are upperclassmen.
Thus, Romar will need to change the mindset of his team on defense compared to last Friday against Seattle Pacific.
"Seattle Pacific was very methodical in their approach," Romar said. "Georgia State, they want to push it more and get up and down the court like we do."
He added that the focus this game on defense is "nailing" transition defense. Georgia State shot 9 for 25 from the 3-point line in its exhibition game. Romar hopes to keep it that way on Saturday.
As many opponents have in the past, including Oregon State, Georgia State will likely play zone defense. Romar doesn't see this as an issue since he does have weapons to depend on to combat the zone.
"Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten can really pass in the zone. And they're big so they can see over the zone and see through the zone," Romar said. "We feel like any combination of those guys out there on the floor should be able do very good against the zone."
With tournaments early in the season, Romar believes the pressure of executing in three consecutive days against three different opponents can help solve kinks in the offense and defense as well as develop his team into a cohesive unit.
Romar was pleased to see former players Brandon Roy, Isaiah Thomas and Nate Robinson in the audience during last week's exhibition game: "I saw those guys sitting up there during the time out and did a double check," he said. "I froze for a second. They were right there supporting us. That was pretty good."
Romar also did talk about the issues surrounding Penn State's football program. In his own philosophy, Romar believes being a head coach is a privilege and has incredible responsibilities: "As long as anyone is under your watch, working or being a student-athlete, you've got to try and do the right thing."
Center Aziz N'Diaye's condition is improving from his concussion. He is expected to play against Georgia State.
Guard Terrence Ross was named to the Naismith Preseason Watch List. He's listed with preseason All-Americans Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin and Harrison Barnes of North Carolina.