Game Preview – Portland

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by: Griffin Bennett

Who: Portland (7-2) at #22 Washington (5-2)

Where: Hec-Ed

When: Monday, December 6 2010 @ 7pm

Coverage: FSN( Channel 30 or 627 for HD)

Coming off of a dismantling of Texas Tech, it would be easy to overlook a WCC team like Portland. The Pilots are a scrappy team that can rebound and shoot the three exceptionally well. This is the kind of team that can come in and upset the Huskies if they aren’t careful.

Portland 101:

The Pilots rank 4th nationally shooting the three at 45.4%. They are very accurate and can shoot teams to the ground if the defense isn’t there. The Pilots lead shooter is a former Marysville –Pillchuck star Jared Stohl. Stohl’s 31 made threes are second in the nation and is easily one of the top shooters in the country. Stohl’s 15 ppg lead the teams and he is their go-to scorer.

The Pilots have another top-caliber player in Bellevue’s Luke Sikma. Son of former Sonic Jack Sikma, Luke (6’8” 235) is eighth in the nation in rebounding with 11.7 a game. It’s a very impressive number that goes along with his 12.1 ppg as well. Stopping Stohl and Sikma will be absolutely key if the Huskies want to avoid an upset.

The other starters on the floors are 6’9” center Kramer Knudson (7.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg), 6’5” forward Nemanja Mitrovic (11.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg), and 6’1”point  Eric Waterford (7.9 ppg, 3.2 apg). None of these guys are match-up nightmares like Stohl and Sikma, but they’re average WCC players that the Huskies should easily handle.

Projected Starting Line-up:

PG: Eric Waterford – 6’1”

SG: Jared Stohl – 6’2”

SF: Nemanja Mitrovic – 6’5”

PF: Luke Sikma – 6’8”

C: Kramer Knudson – 6’9”

Keys to Victory:

  • Rebounding – We should just make this a permanent key so I don’t have to repeat myself. The Huskies have been winning the rebounding battles as of late, but they aren’t destroying weaker teams on the glass. Portland is not a weak team that you can easily box out, so maximizing the rebounding chances at keeping Portland to only a handful of second chance points will be huge.
  • Perimeter defense – The Huskies have excelled with this all year, so if they continue to deny shooters and get hands in their face, Stohl and the others will have a tough night shooting.
  • Defense to offense – I won’t get too fancy with this analysis. The Huskies SHOULD win this game if they continue to force turnovers and turn those into points. This Portland team can’t run with the Huskies and I think Venoy and Holiday will have huge days on the defensive end.

Prediction:

Portland keeps it close for 10 minutes and then the Huskies start to break away with the depth and speed off of the bench. Huskies win 92-70. MVP of the game will be Isaiah Thomas. Bust out game for him tonight.