YOU Speak Out – Fan Answers to Part I of the UW Husky Hoops Fan Poll

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Thanks to everyone who weighed in on Part I of our Husky Hoops Fan Poll. When I started this site, one of the things I aimed to do was bring fans of the team together to share their thoughts and, hopefully, engage in some vigorous debate. Don’t forget to vote in Part II, which is open right now! /

Here’s how you answered the questions, and then, my thoughts on the same questions:

How many Pac-10 wins will the Huskies have this season?

58% of you said “12-14”

32% of you said “15+”

11% of you said “9-11”

My thoughts: First off, I think 32% of you are bat crazy! The Pac-10 might be 10% weaker, but we’ve lost more than 10% of our fire power from last season: Fifteen wins is a pipe dream.

At this point, I think this will be an 11- or 12-win team, which likely won’t be good enough for the Pac-10 crown since no one has taken the title with less than fourteen wins in more than 10 years. When I look at what we’re adding and what we’re losing, I just can’t see us being better than last season.

Where will the Huskies finish in the Pac-10 this season?

58% of you said “first”

28% of you said “second”

14% of you said “third or fourth”

My thoughts: I’m going to guess we’re looking at a hard fought second-place finish. I think Cal might win the league by a comfortable margin, with us behind them, narrowly edging out UCLA who will use their strong freshman class to reload quickly from the losses of Collison, Shipp, and Aboya.

Who will be the Huskies’ stiffest competition when trying to repeat as Pac-10 champions?

83% of you said “Cal”

11% of you said “UCLA”

6% of you said “Other”

My thoughts: I’ll be very surprised if Cal isn’t the toughest team we play in the Pac-10 this season.

In what areas will the Huskies improve this season?

71% of you said “Three-Point shooting”

59% of you said “Ball handling”

50% of you said “Free Throw shooting”

35% of you said “Field Goal percentage”

26% of you said “Defense”

12% of you said “Rebounding”

My thoughts: We’re not going to be a heck of a lot better than our 33.7% mark from behind the arc. The Dawgs were ninth in the Pac-10 last year with Justin Dentmon hitting and attempting more than anyone else, connecting at a 41.2% clip. The two guys who shot the next most were Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner, who hit a combined 31.7% from deep, with Turner shooting fewer (68, to I.T.’s 134), but connecting at a much better rate (36.8% to 29.1%). I think we can expect about this same this season.

Ball-handling is a safe bet to improve with the addition of Abdul Gaddy. We should be able to improve on our ninth-place showing in Assist-to-turnover ratio.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that our defense has the chance to improve a tick this year as well. For everything he brought the team on both sides of the ball, Jon Brockman was more of an intimidating presence than a dominant defender. With more minutes for Gant and Holiday, and another season of growth for Venoy, Quincy, and MBA, we’ve got a bunch of guys capable of being special individual defenders and, hopefully, putting it together into a formidable unit.

In which of these areas will the Huskies be worse off this season?

91% of you said “Rebounding”

18% of you said “Field Goal percentage”

9% of you said “Defense”

9% of you said “Free Throw shooting”

9% of you said “Three-Point shooting”

My thoughts: Hard to argue about rebounding — nothing this season will replace Jon Brockman’s affinity for finding the basketball. Let’s also not forget that we’re losing our best free throw shooter in Justin Dentmon who shot 82.4% last season. I don’t know that I see us being significantly worse from the line next season, but I do see us possibly being a notch below the 70% we shot in 2008/09.

On a scale of 1-5, what is your confidence level in Coach Lorenzo Romar?

68% of you said “5 – most confident”

26% of you said “4”

6% of you said “3”

My thoughts: I love the way Coach works it. You look at these guys, and it’s obvious they’re listening to him. When you look at their mammoth offensive output from last season, it’s hard to remember that there were those inexplicable moments when it seemed like the team just forgot how to score for minutes at a time, and seemed incapable of running through the offense. Coach Romar always brought them back, but I’d like to see less of these lapses in focus in 2009/10. I’m giving coach a “4,” just to be tough.

Nationally speaking, where will the Huskies wind up at the end of this season?

88% of you said “Top 25 team – a lock for the NCAA tournament”

12% of you said “Borderline Top 25 – in the tournament, but on the bubble”

My thoughts: It’s pretty surprising that every single voter thought the Dawgs would make the NCAA tournament again next season. I think we will also, and probably as a Top 25 team as well. Second place, even in a weak Pac-10, should be good enough for 21st or 22nd in the country, particularly if we can win two of our three big non-conference games (Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Georgetown).

How many freshman will average more than 10 minutes per game this season? (Last season, Isaiah Thomas, Darnell Gant and Elston Turner all achieved this)

47% of you said “2”

29% of you said “1”

24% of you said “3”

My thoughts: I think Gaddy’s the only lock here, while Wilcox could be this year’s Scott Suggs, lost in a very crowded backcourt. Without as much frontcourt depth, I’m guessing Breshers and Trent both earn minutes by virtue of their size. I say we’ll play three first-year players more than 10 minutes again this season.

If everything goes right for the Huskies (no injuries, guys play up to their potential, etc.), what is their ceiling this year?

47% of you said “Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight”

35% of you said “The Final Four”

18% of you said “First or Second round of the NCAA tournament”

My thoughts: I’m going to agree with 47% of you here. I think our ceiling is probably the Sweet Sixteen, which is probably what it was this past season as well. That said, the reason they play the tournament out is that for every 2008, where four one seeds make the Final Four, you have a year like 2006, and a team like George Mason.

How many players will the Dawgs put on the 10-man All-Pac-10 Team this season (last year we had two: Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon)

58% of you said “2”

24% of you said “1”

18% of you said “3”

My thoughts: I.T. just missed last season with a second-team finish. This season he’ll make the cut along with teammate Q-Pon. If there’s a third Husky on the team, though, I’m guessing it’ll be MBA, not Abdul Gaddy — not this year, at least.

Thanks for coming! Remember to vote in part II of the poll!