UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Behind the wafting smoke, casino lights and shuffling cards is the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The 10,000-seat facility was built as an adjunct portion of the rising Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in southeast Connecticut on the banks of the Thames River.
As thousands mill around the casino swilling booze and gambling, Washington hopes to cash in on its chance this weekend after taking a step toward the future Friday, reeling in a commitment from a four-star recruit, point guard Nigel Williams-Goss.
The Huskies filed onto the plane Thursday with plenty of baggage two games into the season. The positive feel of a solid win against Loyola (Md.) to start the season last Sunday was undone by a surprise loss to Albany two days later. Washington faces Seton Hall (2-0) of the Big East at 4:30 p.m. today in what the Huskies hope will be an immediate chance to get back on track at the Hall of Fame Tip-off tournament.
It won’t be easy. Fifth-year senior Scott Suggs did not participate in a shootaround Friday after suffering a concussion early in the first half Tuesday against Albany.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said Thursday that Suggs was “day to day” and would be reassessed after the team had a laborious flight across the country during which it had to stop to refuel before arriving in Hartford, Conn., late Thursday.
The possible loss of Suggs adds to Washington’s challenge against the Pirates, who were 21-13 last season and ended the season with a second-round loss in the National Invitation Tournament.
Seton Hall is long on defense and Fuquan Edwin is one of the more dangerous players in the country that many have not heard of. Edwin, a 6-foot-6 guard, leads Seton Hall in scoring at 19.5 points per game and adds seven rebounds. In addition, he led the country in steals per game last season. He already has one six-steal game this season.
The present delivers Seton Hall, and, if Washington can win, a matchup with fourth-ranked Ohio State on Sunday. The future will bring 6-foot-4 Williams-Goss to Montlake. He signed his national letter of intent Friday to play basketball at Washington starting in the 2013-14 season.
Williams-Goss is a heady, scoring point guard out of the powerful basketball program at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., which won the high school national championship last season. He’s Washington’s second commitment during the early signing period, which runs from Nov. 14-21. Guard Darin Johnson from Sacramento, Calif., signed his letter of intent Wednesday. Williams-Goss and Johnson are expected to help offset the losses of Abdul Gaddy and Suggs next season.
“(Williams-Goss) understands what it takes to win and is a great leader,” Romar said in a press release. “Guys like him don’t come around very often.”
Neither do chances like this weekend. Washington is exiled to ESPN3 (Web only) today, but Sunday could be a national TV game on ESPN2 against one of the top teams in the country. The Huskies will have to handle the Pirates to get there.
SETON HALL (2-0) VS. WASHINGTON (1-1)
4:30 p.m., Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.
WEBCAST: ESPN3. Radio: 950-AM, 102.9-FM
All-time series: This is the first meeting.
Seton Hall (2-0)
Tom Mayaan G188.8.131.520.050.0
Desmond SimmonsF184.108.40.206 37.575.0
Aziz N’DiayeF11.513.50.0 57.143.8
Scouting report: The Huskies arrive in Connecticut for their first road game this season with an early series of issues. With Scott Suggs unlikely to play, the Huskies will have to rely on the group that was unable to get it done Tuesday against Albany at home. Seton Hall is not accurate, but is a forceful rebounding team, which pushes right into one of Washington’s main email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas firstname.lastname@example.org