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Washington: First Look

Moving on the Huskies. This is another game we have been looking forward to for months. Okay, I actually look forward to watching every Ben Ball game (as opposed to having that feeling of dread, stomach-ache while thinking/watching Bruin football (or Lavin ball back in the day)). But this one is delicious.

Washington, as mentioned previously, was the only team to sweep the Bruins last year. Former Bruin assistant coach Lorenzo Romar has led a much hyped (at least on the West Coast) emergence of the Huskies as a relevant basketball program (which is wonderful for the Pac-10). Coach Romar was in Westwood back when a lot of us here on BN were in college. I will always have fond memories of him bringing us bagels and donuts when we used to camp out for games back in the days of M&M boys (McLean, Murray, Martin, Madkins), O'Bannon brothers, Edney et al [BTW Lavin was relegated to chaperoning the hoopsters when they showed up for pint night at Stratton's].  Sorry for getting on that tangent, but you know college days were special in Westwood. Anyways, back to Washington.

These guys are reeling a bit after stumbling against an inferior and insignificant team [See J. R. Henderson] late last night. But they are still coming in with a 10-2 record, which included a romping over LSU (in Seattle). Here is a quick overview from the Mid Majority report.

They are a very young team (as was evident when they were losing their poise during key stretches last night), highlighted by freshman sensation Spencer Hawes. Here is the skinny on the Huskies from Washington Husky Athletics (WHA) (a great Pac-10 blog which is one of my regular stops):

All eyes are going to be on Center Spencer Hawes who compares favorably with young centers now in the NBA. I don't know how long Spencer will be with us, but hopefully he enjoys school enough to stay around till Brockman graduates. I know it is hard to turn down the money, but players develop better in college than they do on the bench in the NBA. I think early entry has ruined the NBA. Wolfinger having to sit out the season is a tough break, he was coming along nicely and would have given UW a twin tower look at times. Artem Wallace will be counted on to spell both Hawes, and Brockman.

John Brockman returns for his sophomore season as the team captain. Can't remember too many soph's getting that honor. What John lacked in his game last year was quickness, and confidence. He had a good year, no doubt about it, but he had some rough edges that needed to be trimmed off. I think you are going to see a much more polished player this year. Will he emerge as the go to guy inside the paint?

Flanking Brockman will be a plethora of talented swing players who will rotate in, and out throughout the game. Talented frosh like Quincey Pondexter, and sharpshooter Phil Nelson. Don't forget Senior Hans Gasser who put together quality minutes last year, and RS Harvey Perry, and Joel Smith can slide between the small forward and two guard slot which adds to the versatility of the team.

At guard Justin Dentmon return to lead the Huskies at the point, with Ryan Appleby, and Adrian Oliver pushing him for playing time. I can see UW going with three guards at times this year when they really want to speed it up. Harvey Perry, and Joel Smith will vie for time at the two, but Washington's guards are able to play both positions.
As mentioned, that was a season preview. Hawes is starting to live up to the hype (what an incredible shot last night even though it went to waste). He was recovering from a surgery during the off-season. Tightwad Hill (a place a little (rightfully) giddy after its stomping of the Aggies) has been tracking Pac-10 hoops in general the whole season had this scouting report on the Huskies before last night's game, listing them as the 3rd best team in the conference:
5. Washington

Best win: 88-72 over LSU in Seattle. Worst loss: 97-77 at Gonzaga. Schedule: Embarrassing - only two quality opponents (Gonzaga and LSU). The Good: With the emergence of freshman SF Quincy Poindexter, the Dawgs have great scoring balance with four starters in double figures. Spencer Hawes looks to have his sea legs. The Bad: Elite teams shouldn't have 193 turnovers through eleven games (nine of which were against gimpy opponents). The Surprise: The loss to Gonzaga was a complete meltdown and UW showed a lack of composure, which has been unusual under Romar. The Question: Can Justin Dentmon establish control over this team and limit the mistakes that plagued UW in the Gonzaga debacle?
Again, I have to say just IMHO we all ought to look out for the Cougars. Tightwad also has the Cougs listed above in his rating of the Pac-10. I think Cougars are going to give not just the Huskies, but also the Ducks, run for their money for the best Pac-10 team from the Northwest. But, regardless, these wounded canines are going to come out focused this Sunday.

Once again, Mata, Aboya, Luc and co. are going to have their work cut out for them taking on the best front court in America. But what may work for the Bruins this time is that these Huskies like to run. They don't like to grind out like their counterparts from Washington State. I will be surprised if they try to slow down the tempo. That, of course, could play right into the hands of DC.

The key for us, once again, will be to D up, be patient in our offense (again we are looking at you AA, Shipp, and Luc), pass the ball around, take smart shots, and make those FTs.  I feel good about this game. If we come out focused, we should be all right.

More on the Huskies sometime tomorrow.

Enjoy the Friday night.