(1090 The Fan) — As Washington prepares to embark on Pac-12 conference play with a road trip that takes them to the Arizona schools over the next five days, head coach Lorenzo Romar knows his team has a daunting challenge ahead of it.

“Boy there’s some doozies out there,” Romar said of the road trips Pac-12 teams face this year within the conference. “Man, those are some killers…not a whole lot of weak links.”

Before the Huskies get to face the No. 1-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Saturday, they face an 11-2 Arizona State team that can shoot well and boasts one of the quicker point guards in the league in sophomore Jahii Carson. Carson is averaging 19.3 points and 5.3 assists per game so far this season.

Washington (8-5) also faces the challenge of guarding Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 big man averaging 12.5 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game for the Sun Devils.

“I think every team has said something about what they are going to take away, starting probably with Jahii (Carson), but it doesn’t work out very well for most. We have some things we are working on as a team to try to limit their productivity,” said coach Romar.

One thing that could prove beneficial for the Huskies as they enter Pac-12 play is the return of junior forward Desmond Simmons, who at 6-foot-7 provides a bigger defender against some of the big lineups that Washington will see in the Pac-12 this year.

According to Romar, Simmons is close to being able to play without any type of limitations on his minutes.

“I think Desmond (Simmons) at this point…we’re probably there,” said Romar. “As the game presents itself, he could get more minutes.”

And while Washington has endured its defensive struggles so far this season, one area of consistency has been the play of senior guard C.J. Wilcox, who is averaging a team best 20.5 points-per-game.

“He is healthy and practicing every day,” said Romar, pointing what has allowed his star guard to be so consistent this year. “The thing I think affected him the last two years, he would go weeks and not practice, just play in games. I don’t care who it is, that’s just hard to do.

“He’s playing with a lot of confidence, he’s playing with kind of a ‘been there, done that, I know how this thing works’ attitude,” added Romar.

Last year the Huskies started out their Pac-12 season 4-0 on the road, before fading down the stretch. This year it won’t be so easy with two tough tests right out of the gate.

-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan

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