Five things to know about Washington Huskies

For its opening opponent in the NCAA tournament, Georgia drew a school from 2,700 miles away that the Bulldogs have never before faced in basketball. (Nor, for that matter, in football.) Here are five things you should know about the Washington Huskies before Friday's 9:45 p.m. game in Charlotte:

1. High-powered offense.

Only two of the 345 Division I teams have scored more points this season than Washington, which is averaging 83.5 per game. (The higher-scoring teams: VMI and Oakland.) The Huskies scored more than 100 points in six games and more than 90 in five others.

Fast-paced and athletic, they have shot 47.1 percent from the field, have seven players averaging seven points or more and make an average of 8.8 3-point baskets per game, ninth most in the nation.

"It'll be something different for us," Georgia forward Trey Thompkins said Wednesday of the Huskies' pace of play. "Hopefully we can play our game and make it a good one."

2. First to hire and fire Mark Fox.

Despite the distance from the Washington campus to the UGA campus, the college hoops world can seem pretty small. In his first trip to the NCAA tournament as Georgia's coach, his fourth overall as a head coach, Fox faces the first school that hired -- and fired -- him.

For two seasons in the early 1990s, Fox worked at Washington, the first as a graduate assistant and the second as a $12,000-a-year "restricted earnings" assistant coach. "I learned an immense amount about this profession" in those two seasons, Fox said. But after the 1992-93 season, Washington fired its staff, including Fox.

(In 1995, the NCAA lost a class-action lawsuit regarding "restricted earnings" coaches, and Fox received a payment.)

While at Washington, Fox met his wife, Cindy, who worked in the Huskies' marketing department at the time. She is a Washington graduate and grew up in Yakima, Wash., where her parents still live.

3. Tourney credentials.

While Georgia is in the NCAA tournament for the second time in nine years, Washington is in the field for the third consecutive year and the sixth time in eight years -- all under coach Lorenzo Romar, who once was an assistant to Jim Harrick at UCLA. The Huskies have reached the Sweet 16 three times under Romar, including last year.

They return to the Big Dance after an up-and-down season in which they got off to a 7-1 start in the Pac-10, then lost six of their final 10 regular-season conference games, then won the conference tournament. They are 23-10.

4. Big-name player.

Georgia's Travis Leslie recalled Wednesday that once he faced Isaiah Thomas, Washington's star point guard, in a 17-and-under AAU tournament.

"He killed us," Leslie said.

The Pac-10 knows the feeling. Thomas, a 5-foot-9 dynamo, capped a remarkable performance in last week's conference tournament by making a last-second 18-foot fall-away jumper in overtime to give the Huskies a 77-75 championship-game victory over Arizona.

The shot, which has been viewed more than 375,000 times on YouTube, came in the 123rd minute (out of a possible 125) that Thomas played in a three-games-in-three-days stretch. He averaged 10 assists and almost 20 points per game in the tournament.

And about his name: He was named for former NBA star Isiah Thomas after his father lost a friendly wager on a Lakers-Pistons game in the 1989 NBA finals.

5. Not a one-man team.

For all the attention Thomas commands, Washington has other weapons. Among them: Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 senior forward who averages 15.5 points and 8.1 rebounds; Justin Holiday, a 6-6 senior forward who averages 10.8 and 5.4; Aziz N'Diaye, a 7-foot sophomore center from Senegal; and Terrence Ross, a 6-foot-6 freshman shooting guard who scored 17 points in his first career start during the Pac-10 tournament.

"Isaiah [Thomas] is a great player," Fox said, "but they've got a lot more pieces around him that make their team as potent as it is."