Tipoff: 7:30 tonight, Beasley Coliseum, Pullman
TV: Fox Sports Northwest
Records: Arizona 15-4 overall, 4-2 Pac-10; Washington State 14-5 overall, 4-3 Pac-10.
Players: Arizona has been paced by the play of brawny 6-foot-8 forward Derrick Williams, one of the few marquee players in the Pac-10. The spring-heeled sophomore is averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game and gets to line often (139 for 181). Williams is the only Wildcat to average double figures. Washington State has a potential conference player of its own in guard Klay Thompson, whose gaudy numbers include 22-point, 5.4-rebound and 4.3-assist averages. Junior post DeAngelo Casto provides the Cougars with 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Game themes: The 25th-ranked Wildcats, who fell to No. 20 Washington 86-65 in Seattle on Thursday, come to the Palouse to face a club that’s won four of its last five conference games, including its dispatching of Arizona State on Thursday. WSU can put itself ahead of most teams in the conference fray with a win over Arizona before its home date with Washington next Sunday. The Cougars will look to hound the Wildcats’ backcourt to eliminate Williams’ touches and keep him from getting to the line. Getting Williams to the charity stripe has almost been a certainty for Arizona, but he attempted just seven foul shots in the loss to Washington.
Aden expected back: Faisal Aden, WSU’s second-leading scorer at 14.6 a game, is expected to play tonight after sitting out Thursday against ASU with a sore knee. According to coach Ken Bone, Aden has battled sporadic knee problems all season. Interestingly, when WSU is shorthanded, it’s 7-0 (2-0 Pac-10). The Cougs were 6-0 without Reggie Moore between his early wrist problem and short-lived suspension and are 1-0 without Aden.
The Casto factor: Fresh off a career-high 25 points, Casto faces a team he put 35 points and 19 rebounds on in two games last season including a game-winner in Tucson. The Cougs swept the series last year.
Remember this? Williams’ dunk on WSU as the No. 1 play on SportsCenter last season.