AUDIO: Head coach Lorenzo Romar and senior forward Darnell Gant talk about Washington's chances for a Pac-12 regular season title. Audio available here.
by Curtis Crabtree
The Washington Huskies find themselves in the drivers seat for a second Pac-12 regular season championship in four years with just two games remaining.
The Huskies (20-8, 13-3 Pac-12) are alone atop the conference with two games left after California lost at Colorado on Sunday. Washington now controls their own destiny with games at USC and UCLA this week to wrap up conference play.
If the Huskies can win at USC on Thursday, they will clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 title. With a sweep on the Los Angeles schools they will win the conference outright for just the second time since 1953.
Washington has taken a conference championship of some kind in each of the last three seasons. They won the regular season title in 2009 along with back-to-back Pac-10 tournament titles in 2010 and 2011.
USC has had major struggles throughout the season. They lost the team's leading scorer, Gio Fontan, before the season even started to a knee injury in August. They currently only have six scholarship athletes available and have posted just one conference win and a 6-23 record overall.
A win over the Trojans clinches a share of the Pac-12 title with a matchup agianst UCLA on Saturday to win the conference outright.
C.J. Wilcox underwent an X-ray last week to get an updated look at the stress fracture that has limited him most of the last two months. Romar said Wilcox has definitely improved and is healthier now. He said he believes that Wilcox would be able to play three straight nights at the Pac-12 Tournament next week if necessary.
Wilcox has been limited to just shooting jump shots in practice to lessen the pounding his leg would take. Romar said that while Wilcox will not be able to return to full practice participation, he will be able to particpate in some 5 on 5 periods for a few minutes at a time.
Darnell Gant has started the last two games for the Huskies in place of freshman Desmond Simmons. Gant got the nod on senior day against Arizona and on the road at Washington State on Saturday.
Romar said they would continue to stick with Gant in the starting lineup for the time being.
Hear more from Romar and Gant in the podcasts available at the top of the page.