By Craig Yamada
Who: San Francisco
Where: Hec Ed
When: Saturday @ 7 PM
Coverage: FSN NW
After a week to stew over what could have been against A&M, UW is looking to regain their swag against the USF Dons. During their last meeting, UW took down the Dons 87-71 at Hec Ed. Coming off a poor showing in Lubbock last weekend, Dawg fans are expecting a strong showing on Saturday evening.
The Dons are 4-5 entering Saturday’s game, but are coming off a good win against a respectable Montana squad. Montana, if you can recall, downed UCLA and Oregon State this year in out of conference play. And thus USF cannot go overlooked.
USF 101: USF plays a 1-3-1 zone defense which Romar will have amply prepared for in his one week preparation time for this game. Their lone bright spot last year was center Moustopha Diarra who garnered 14 points and 12 boards against the Dawgs. He has since been relegated to coming off the bench for the Dons. Michael Williams is their leading scorer, averaging nearly 16 points per game. He is currently has the best three point threat as he is shooting 46% from beyond the arc. He is coming off a solid game against Montana where went for 23 points and 13 boards to lead his team to an OT victory. Williams is just another stout scoring point guard that will put UW’s backcourt to the test on defense. Thus far this season, UW has struggled guarding against scoring point guards. Their two forwards, Perris Blackwell and Angelo Caloiaro, both average double digits in scoring. Blackwell is their leading rebounder as he averages over 7 per game.
Likely Starting Lineup:
F – Perris Blackwell, 6-8, 10.3 ppg.
F – Angelo Caloiaro, 6-8, 10.3 ppg
C – Justin Raffington, 6-9, 2.4 ppg
SG – Cody Doolin, 6-2, 7.3 ppg
PG – Michael Williams, 6-0, 15.9 ppg
UW wins if they:
- Win the Boards: Seriously. Yes. Romar better have run shell drills until his team dropped to the floor this week. Although USF’s numbers don’t seem ultra-impressive, they do crash the boards well as they rank 40th in the nation in that stat category. UW can ill afford second chance buckets like it surrendered against a less-skilled A&M team. Look for Aziz to play a bigger chunk of minutes if he stays out of foul trouble.
- Contain the scoring PG: Abdul Gaddy will likely draw the opening assignment of guarding Michael Williams. Venoy Overton does look a step slower out there with his hamstring and has not shown the same burst we are accustomed to seeing on defense. Hopefully he regains his strength on Saturday.
- Continue their free throw streak: After converting 100% of their free throws last Saturday, UW has things going in the right direction again.
- Justin Holiday gets going early: After sitting out a majority of the game on Saturday due to foul trouble, look for Holiday to carry the early scoring load from the get go.
- Wilcox/Suggs/Ross break the zone: From what I have seen, USF’s 1-3-1 zone defense is a watered down version of Craig Robinson’s defensive scheme. Look for Wilcox to find the seams and drain from deep this game.
UW Starting Lineup:
F – Darnell Gant
F – Justin Holiday
C – Aziz N’Diaye
SG – Isaiah Thomas
PG – Abdul Gaddy
Game Prediction: UW comes out on fire to open up the game. USF will keep it close for the first 12 minutes, but UW will be up by 15+ going into halftime. I expect to see a Brenden Sherrer sighting tomorrow as UW rolls 101-76.