Game Preview: UW vs. Seattle U. (game #20)


Who: Washington Huskies (3-5, 12-7 overall) vs. Seattle Redhawks (9-11 overall) in a non-conference contest

When: Tuesday, 7:00 PM

Where: Hec Edmundson Pavilion

Huskies 101: The Huskies are coming off losses to UCLA (62-61) and USC (87-61) this past weekend in southern California. While the UCLA effort was a mixed bag for the Dawgs that could’ve just as well ended in a Husky victory, the USC game was a complete disaster.

At his press conference Tuesday, and then during The Lorenzo Romar Show on KJR, Coach Romar put an emphasis on mis-cues and a lack of concentration on the defensive end when explaining his thoughts on the two losses.

The Huskies play four home games in the next twelve days before playing five of their last seven away from Hec Ed. Since the Dawgs have not won away from home all season, there’s only so much the team can do for its own (or for fans’) confidence until they get the chance to prove themselves on the road again in mid-February.

Husky leader Quincy Pondexter had his worst game of the season against USC, finishing with only two points, while Venoy Overton had his best scoring game of the year and finished with 18.

As a team, the Huskies managed only five assists against USC.

Projected lineup: G – Abdul Gaddy, G – Isaiah Thomas, F – Justin Holiday, F – Quincy Pondexter, F – Tyreese Breshers

Seattle U. 101: The Redhawks are in the midst of a transition from Division II to Division I, and are currently independent of a conference, and will not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament until 2012-13.

In his first season coaching the team, former Husky assistant Cameron Dollar has led the Redhawks to a 9-11 record so far this season. Dollar was Romar’s top assistant, and coached alongside him from 1999 until leaving for the Seattle U. job.

While the team has lost six of its last nine games, Seattle U. had impressive wins at Utah and at Oregon State (by 51 points) this year.

The Redhawks also bring in a player of unique intrigue to UW. Charles Garcia is a 6’9″ power forward who leads the Redhawks in scoring (20.7 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg) and shotblocking (.9 bpg). Garcia originally committed to play for the Huskies but was not admitted to the school. While the official reason is that Garcia did not qualify academically, there’s been great sentiment among fans and media that there’s a layer to the story that hasn’t been made public.

The Redhawks start four players 6’5″ or taller and have four players averaging double figures.

As a team, Seattle U. commits 17.4 turnovers per game.

Projected lineup: G – Cervante Burrell, F – Mike Boxley, F – Aaron Broussard, F – Gavin Gilmore, F – Charles Garcia

The Huskies will win if: They remember that every game from here on out is a must-win. If they lose focus and get caught up in the emotional return of Cameron Dollar to Hec Ed this game could go from feel-good reunion to absolute disaster for the Dawgs.

The Dawgs will win if they excel on the defensive end. While the two straight 61-point efforts by the Huskies are concerning, the Dawgs look at their best when they’re forcing turnovers and scoring with hard-to-miss shots in transition.

The Dawgs will win they can contain Charles Garcia on the inside. Garcia has three 30+ point games this season and has no hesitance to take over inside. Will the Husky bigs be able to stop him from scoring at will?

The Huskies will lose if: The team takes an all-or-nothing defeatist approach to this season and loses its hunger now that a repeat Pac-10 championship seems very unlikely.

The Dawgs will lose if they overlook this non-conference game knowing they can’t do anything to the Pac-10 standings until Saturday against Wazzu.

A humble suggestion: Think Matthew Bryan-Amaning has a chance to outplay Charles Garcia Tuesday? Probably not, which is exactly why Coach Romar needs to give Matthew a lot of minutes and the chance to shut the critics up with regards to Big Chuck. MBA plays better when he’s got confidence and swagger, and Matthew knows many fans wish Charles Garcia, not he, were the Huskies #1 option in the post this year. I sense that MBA will come out fired up Tuesday, and that the game could be a real confidence builder for him if he plays well.

Predictions: I predict that the Huskies on Tuesday will look like they did in games against Montana or Oregon State, when the team won, but didn’t shine. I just can’t see the Dawgs not being a little hungover with only 72 hours between the USC debacle and this game.

I do predict, though, that the Huskies will win this one, 80-73. After all, they’re at home.