By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — The purpose of Washington’s new defensive scheme, implemented during nonconference play, is simple at its core: prevent dribble penetration that leads to easy baskets.
Those kind of baskets killed UW earlier this season, but have been largely diminished by a new defensive style that coach Lorenzo Romar’s players seem to be embracing more and more each week.
Now, a new challenge. With the No. 15-ranked Colorado Buffaloes visiting Hec Edmundson Pavilion today (noon, FOX Sports 1), the Huskies’ defense will be facing a backcourt duo that, as Romar likes to say, “puts the heat on you.”
That heat comes from Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, the Buffaloes’ starting guards who lead the team in scoring and are a big reason why Colorado attempts more free throws than nearly every team in the country.
“They have a really, really dynamic pair of guards out there on the floor,” Romar said. “They can really score the ball. They’re potent offensively, but they’re very sound defensively. They’re a well-coached team with talent. That’s a tough challenge.”
It is, and that’s why the Buffaloes (14-2, 3-0 in conference play) might be the premier challenger to No. 1-ranked Arizona for the Pac-12 championship. Washington is 10-6, 2-1.
Dinwiddie and Booker form one of the best offensive backcourts in the Pac-12. Dinwiddie (15.2 points per game), at 6-foot-6, is a difficult matchup, evidenced by his 116 free-throw attempts in 16 games this season. He’s made 99 of them. He also shoots 41.2 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
“Spencer’s just really solid,” UW guard C.J. Wilcox said, “and Askia, he hits a lot of tough shots and plays well in big games. So we’re going to have to keep him in check on Sunday.”
Especially in dribble-drive situations.
“I just think their scheme, I think they take advantage of their strengths, and they have some players that are hard to defend one-on-one,” Romar said.