Game Preview: UW vs. Stanford (Game #16)

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The Washington Huskies (1-3, 10-5 overall) will play the Stanford Cardinal (2-1, 8-7 overall) on Thursday evening at 7:30 PM at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

A limited number of tickets may still be available from the Husky ticket office. The game will be broadcast on FSN NW and KJR-950 in Seattle, or your local Husky radio affiliate elsewhere (click here to find yours).

Tale of the tape:


What you need to know about the Huskies:

The Huskies last played on Sunday afternoon in Tucson, where they were beaten by the Arizona Wildcats, 87-70.

The Huskies are unranked for the first time this season.

The Huskies have lost their last three games and look to get back on track at home against the Bay Area schools this weekend.

Quincy Pondexter is in the midst of his least productive stretch of the season right now, averaging 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over his last three games.

Stanford holds an 69-62 advantage lifetime against the Huskies, but the Dawgs won all three meetings last season.

Projected lineup: G – Abdul Gaddy, G – Isaiah Thomas, F – Quincy Pondexter, F – Darnell Gant, F – Tyreese Breshers

Husky to watch:

Senior forward, Quincy Pondexter: While Isaiah Thomas, the Huskies’ other star, will usually get his points in Husky wins or losses, as Pondexter has cooled off, so have the Huskies. Along with ensuring that he shoots himself out of his scoring drought, Pondexter must play with the fire we saw earlier in the season, and channel his energy into crashing the boards and being the emotional leader of the Huskies.

What you need to know about Stanford:

The Cardinal come into the game at 2-1 in the Pac-10 (8-7 overall), most recently defeating USC and UCLA in Palo Alto last week.

Stanford was picked by the media to finish last in the Pac-10, but has been more than impressive at times this season, losing by only a point to Oklahoma State, and taking #2 Kentucky to overtime before dropping the game by eight points.

Last season, the Cardinal finished ninth in the Pac-10, with a 6-12 record (18-13 overall).

Head Coach Johnny Dawkins has two potent scorers in 6’7″ wing Landry Fields (22.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.2 spg), a Player-of-the-Year candidate, and shooting guard, Jeremy Green (17.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 43.4% 3-PT FG%).

Projected lineup: G – Jarrett Mann, G – Jeremy Green, F – Landry Fields, F – Jack Trotter, F – Andrew Zimmermann

Cardinal to watch:

Sophomore guard, Jeremy Green: Green has connected on at least three three-pointers in nine of his fifteen games this season, and has attempted six or more deep balls in 12 games this season. After the hurting put on the Huskies by the shooting of Rihards Kuksiks and Jamelle Horne in the two games last weekend, the Dawgs must have a plan to ensure that Green does not get so many good looks from behind the arc.

The path to victory:

A humble suggestion: I’m stuck on this theory that tougher defensive assignments since the Pac-10 began may be affecting Pondexter’s offense. He’s an above-average, high energy defender, so it’ll be tempting for Husky coaches (and a great matchup to watch for fans) to have Quincy guard Stanford star Landry Fields. To allow Pondexter to get himself going on offense, I suggest starting Justin Holiday, and having him exclusively guard Fields for 25-30 minutes on Thursday night.

Three ways to score: Too often when the Huskies have had problems on the offensive end they’ve gotten repetitive in their attack: one game overpentrating, the next dumping the ball into the post possession after possession. It sounds elementary, but there are many ways to score, and the Dawgs need to consciously remember that they can shoot, penetrate or get the ball into the post each time they have the ball.

What I expect:

It’s hard, after watching the last three games, to know what to expect. But, the Huskies should have more jump in their steps at home than in Arizona. Assuming the team is not dog-tired from a greuling week of practices, we should see the Huskies come out with a better energy level than we’ve seen recently.

I expect to see something new on the court, whether it’s some new set plays, a new defensive set, or a different lineup and rotation. (See my “humble suggestion” above for the change I’d make.)

Nothing has come easy lately for the Dawgs, and I don’t expect that this one will either. But, after a week of intense preparation, if the Huskies can’t come out strong at home against a team with so much less depth, well. . . That would be very bad. I’m picking the Huskies to get back to their winning ways, 85-76