Thoughts and Observations on the Huskies' 87-70 Loss to Arizona


Quick bright spot: There’s a lot of talent on this team. We’re only four games into the Pac-10 season and there’s time to right the ship. That said, anyone who tells you the ship is on course right now is full of baloney.

Three straight losses to three unspectacular teams. I’d say I’m baffled, but I’m not. When many of your wins come in unspectacular fashion at the expense of smaller conference schools, is it any wonder that similarly ho-hum efforts against Pac-10 teams may not end well?

Really, the Huskies haven’t necessarily performed worse in their five losses than in many of their 10 wins. The competition has just been better in the games we’ve lost.

I was hoping, as we were playing just a notch above teams like Montana and San Jose State, that stronger competition would bring out the best in these Dawgs. So far, it’s been the exact opposite, and what we’re seeing is that this team’s “second gear” is either very difficult to conjure up, or simply non-existent.

Here’s some more thoughts after watching the Huskies get thrashed by Arizona:

I don’t expect too much out of FSN’s game coverage which is very much hit-or-miss. But, Dave Sitton and Corey Williams just sounded unprepared tonight. They mispronounced Pondexter for the entire first half (“Poindexter”) and consistently called players by the wrong names, a sure sign they didn’t do enough prep for the game.

I did hear one interesting point, though. Williams mentioned that the harder you make Quincy Pondexter work on defense, the less potent he tends to look on offense. It’ll be interesting to see whether this trend continues through the Pac-10 season, but certainly looked to be the case this weekend as Quincy contended with a host of tough defensive assignments, looking generally anemic on the offensive end.

Quincy just looked dazed Sunday. I get the sense that, as the team’s lone senior, he’s having a tough time with the harsh reality that, try as he might, this team may not be a championship-level squad. As the team’s leader, though, if he can’t bring the energy night in, night out, they definitely won’t be dancing in March.

Speaking of dancing: Since his one-night stint in the Nutcracker ballet on December 24th, Pondexter is averaging 14.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assists — all below his season averages.

MBA’s confidence is really low right now, and it’s tough to watch. He’s a sensitive kid and I don’t get the sense that he’s going to be very productive at all if Coach is indeed now committed to Tyreese Breshers as the main scoring option in the post. Sad, because, as we all know, the raw material is there, but he hasn’t been able to show it in his play consistently.

Anyone else think Venoy Overton isn’t as effective on the defensive end this year? Looks to me like he’s having a lot more trouble keeping guys in front of him.

I try to measure how bad things are going for a team by how many straight wins it would take to change the entire atmosphere to something positive. Right now, I’m saying four.

If you watched Sunday’s game without any way to see the score, I think it would’ve looked like a 35-point win for Arizona. The Huskies allowed a very mediocre team to look like worldbeaters.

So, if you’re Coach Romar, what do you do? I’m struggling to think of a drastic change that makes sense. On the other hand, these guys are a few bounces away from being 0-4 (The six-point Oregon State win was hardly convincing, considering the Beavers lost at home by 51 to Seattle U. a week later.)

Here’s a few minor suggestions:

On the defensive end, I’d like to see some more full court pressure, and then a zone that we can drop into as a “change-up” at times. If we’re going to start two freshman and a 5’8″ shooting guard, there’s going to be nights when an exclusively man-to-man defense puts us at a disadvantage.

On the other side of the ball: our four true “bigs” (MBA, Breshers, Darnell Gant, Clarence Trent) only account for 21% of our points, and we need more out of those two spots. Let’s officially make Quincy the “4” and ask him to play a bit closer to the rim. Quincy’s a physical specimen, and in the smaller-than-usual Pac-10, he’s a perfectly adequate power forward. This will allow us to play to our strengths, potentially putting three scoring options on the floor along with Pondexter.

Also, 6’6″ Quincy might be our best rebounder. If last night is any indication (Arizona outrebounded UW, 40-23), a rededication to the boards may well be in order anyway.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

Thanks for coming!