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UW Basketball: Luke Sikma And The Portland Pilots Try To Handle Huskies Defense

Let's be honest here - after handling Texas Tech on Saturday, the most interesting thing about the Washington Huskies third consecutive home game against the Portland Pilots tonight (7 p.m. PST on FSN NW) is probably that ex-Sonic Jack Sikma's son is coming to town as a member of the visiting team.

Not to sound too cocky, but other than that we can probably expect more of the same - it will be too early to answer any of the vital questions that will affect this team in the long-term unless they suffer an upset tonight.

That said, forward Luke Sikma isn't exactly some Sonics nostalgia sideshow either - he's arguably been the Pilots' best player this season.

Key players:

Luke Sikma, F (6-foot-8, 235, Sr.)

Where Sikma will be most important tonight is probably on the boards - one of Portland's biggest strengths this season has been rebounding and Sikma is currently ranking ninth in the nation with 7.88 defensive rebounds per game. He's no slouch on the offensive end either and averages 11.66 total rebounds per game, which is seventh in the nation.

The Pilots definitely have other post players who can contend physically with the Huskies' bigs, but if they want to maintain an advantage on the glass, Sikma will clearly be an important part of that effort.

Jared Stohl, G (6-foot-2, 165, Sr.)

Stohl is both the team's top scorer averaging 15 points per game and its most efficient scorer. And while a large part of that scoring efficiency comes from Stohl's 52.5 percent 3-point shooting, his ability to get to the line and make free throws at a 96.3 percent clip (he is 26-for-27 on the year) is equally important to him putting points on the board so efficiently.

Obviously, his presence on the court demands attention around the arc and that the Huskies have defensive-minded guards who can accomplish that.

Key statistical battleground: turnovers

At 7-2, Portland has shown that they can win games while turning it over more than their opponents, including a game against UC Davis in which they turned it over 17 times. Although they normally overcome that with a combination of strong shooting and rebounding, if the Huskies defense contains Stohl as a scorer and keeps Sikma off the glass Portland could be in for a long night of turning the ball over against a typically aggressive Huskies defense.