by Craig Yamada
Who: Texas Tech (5-3) at # 23 Washington (4-2)
When: 1 PM PST
Coverage: FSN (Channel 30 or Channel 627 for grainy HD)
Redemption time has come for the Dawgs as they face the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday. Texas Tech kick-started a long winless streak of away games for UW last year as they took us down in heartbreaking fashion 99-92 (OT). And for that reason alone, I fully expect UW to come out hungry and play with a large chip on their shoulders.
The Huskies are coming off an easy win against Long Beach State where they shot the ball exceptionally well from the outside. This game should be a lot more competitive and UW can expect more defensive tenacity from a well-coached Pat Knight squad.
Red-Raider 101: Texas Tech is currently 5-3 and have dropped some disappointing losses to North Texas, Saint Mary’s and South Florida. Despite a slow start for Knight, he believes that this team is even stronger than last year. If that statement holds true, UW will be in for a shootout tomorrow as Tech averages 79.5 ppg this year. Defensively, expect a high pressure man to man defense for the entire game from Tech. If you recall last season, they started out in a zone defense but quickly went to man to man for the remainder of the game out of an early timeout. If Tech has scouted UW well enough, they will learn that going zone against UW has not fared well for those have deployed it this year. Wilcox, Suggs, Ross, Gaddy, Holiday, IT and even Gant will be looking to find the holes in that zone for open treys.
Knight is returning four of five starters that faced the Huskies last year. Tech boasts a large handful of upperclassmen as their current roster contains seven seniors. The two seniors that should be of immediate concern are the same two guys that owned us last year: John Roberson and Mike Singletary. Last year, they dropped 25 and 16 on us respectively. The entire offense flows through John Roberson this year as he leads the team in scoring with 13.5 ppg. Not far behind is Mike Singletary who shares the scoring load with Roberson at 12.8 ppg. Singletary is coming off a 29 point effort against Oral Roberts. Look for Justin Holiday to be on him all night long. The remaining three starters all average in double figures as their attack seems to be balanced at all positions.
Likely starting lineup:
PG – John Roberson (5’11”): 13.5 ppg
SG – David Tairu (6’3”): 11.5 ppg
SF – Mike Singletary (6’6”): 12.8 ppg
PF – Brad Reese (6’6”): 11.6 ppg
C – Robert Lewandowski (6’10”): 12.3 ppg
Huskies Update: According to a credible source, Scott Suggs has resumed practicing and is likely to play on Saturday. Also, we are expecting Aziz N’Diaye to start over MBA again on Saturday. Apparently Aziz has been outperforming MBA during practices and will merit his second straight start. Just goes to show that Romar will give love to those give their all, day in and day out. MBA and Wilcox will be the first off the bench, and should provide a quick lift for the Dawgs if the game starts slowly out of the gates. Likely starting lineup:
PG- Gaddy, SG – IT, SF – Holiday, PF – Gant, C – N’Diaye
Keys to UW Victory:
- Rebounding: Just looking at the stats, UW should own the defensive and offensive glass against Texas Tech. Expect big games from Aziz, Ross, and MBA on the boards to help generate second and third chance scoring opportunities.
- Stop Roberson and Singletary: This pretty much goes without saying. Last year, Holiday was not a starter and did not play a whole lot (14 minutes). Holiday will be in Singletary’s hip pocket most of tomorrow. IT, Gaddy and Overton can trade off turns trying to get Roberson out of rhythm.
- Wilcox can get going early: Last year it was Elston Turner. This year it will be CJ Wilcox that will give UW a huge lift from beyond the arc. If the Tech does decide to go zone, expect major opportunities for Wilcox. If they go man, Wilcox will need to break harder off screens to get open for three.
- Make the extra pass: UW’s best games have come when they find the open man, whether if it’s for beyond the arc or in transition. Playing team ball has been the key this year and will continue to be the case moving forward.
Prediction: UW runs away with this early in the second half off the backs of IT and Wilcox, 101-84.