by: Griffin Bennett
When: Thursday, 7:00 PM
Where: Maples Pavillion
Radio: 950 KJR
While we all direly wait for the off-court issues to sort themselves out, Coach Romar will circle the wagons and head on down to the Bay Area as a refocused group. It’s a strange circumstance that we, as fans, find ourself in but we must move on and let the legal system handle it and then analyse the fallout after. Fortunately, there is basketball to be played and the on-court part of the season has been a wonderful treat. A road trip might be the perfect scenario for the the team as the questions continue to pile up on the home front. First up is Stanford and they have played well to start the Pac-10 season. Tied for third currently, last week they beat a horrid Arizona State team and then had their match-up against Arizona postponed due to the tragic shooting. The delay only postponed the inevitable as they lost by 10 the next night.
The Cardinal have improved from their poor start in the pre-season. Early losses to Murray State and Tulsa at home had the outlook of the season looking bleak, but wins over Cal and Arizona State have people changing their minds. While they shouldn’t be anywhere near the Huskies talent level, they have always played Romar’s Dawgs well in Palo Alto. With the Huskies looking to sweep this road series and be 6-0 heading into a match-up next week with Arizona at home, this Stanford game (and the Cal game) are classic trap games. Add in the off-the-court issues and the team’s focus could really be an issue. Hopefully Romar will get these guys emotionally ready for the road trip and they will give out the best effort.
There’s no secret to who’s team it is; Jeremy Green is their leader. He leads the team in points with 15.9 per game. He has made 38 of the team’s 80 three pointers at a rate of 43.2%. Obviously, keeping his shooting contained will be a huge key for victory. Putting Holiday on him for most of the game should be enough to keep him control. Josh Owens has been a pleasant surprise for Cardinal fans. After his terrible injury last year, he has fully recovered and is averaging 12 ppg and a team-high 6.4 rpg. He can be tough cover for some big men because of his speed and size. However, MBA is a perfect counter due to his similar skill set. With those being Stanford’s best two options, it seems that the Huskies match-up extremely well this year.
After Green and Owens, the Cardinal are starting two freshman as well. 6’9″ power forward Dwight Powell and 5’11” point guard Aaron Bright. They are each a work in progress as the Cardinal are working toward the future. Bright is a Bellevue High grad who Romar has said that he would have recruited if their was room on the team for another guard. Other key contributors include Jarrett Mann, Jack Trotter, Anthony Brown, and Andrew Zimmerman.
PG: Aaron Bright – 5’11”
SG: Jarrett Mann – 6’4″
SF: Jeremy Green – 6’4″
PF: Dwight Powell – 6’9″
C: Josh Owens – 6’8″
This team does nothing that the Huskies shouldn’t be able to stop. They are the Oregon State Beavers that don’t play an tricky defense. The Dawgs should have no problem running on this team all night. Aziz and MBA should dominate the paint as the Cardinal lack size. I am required, by the Law of Awesomeness, to remind everyone about MBA’s dunk over Andrew Zimmerman last year. I could watch that over and over again. I tried to pretend like this team poses a threat to UW, but even if UW plays their B- game, they should still win.
Keys to Victory:
- Rebounding – Surprise, surprise. It will always be a key to every game. I think the Huskies should shoot for a +10 margin.
- Limit Turnovers – With the guard position in flux, keeping the great passing that we have seen will be huge for the team. Keeping less than 11 turnovers is always a great for a team.
- Bench Play – With the future unknown for the team, seeing how the back-up guards continue to play will be something to keep an eye on. In regards to Stanford, keeping the energy high and pushing the Cardinal bench should lead to a win.
- Force Green to pass – If the Huskies can force the ball out of Green’s hands and make their other players beat them, then a win should follow. They don’t have another play maker and the Huskies have enough defense to keep Green from leading the team. Expect Holiday to take it as a personal challenge.
Obviously, I see a Husky victory here but teams seem to struggle to score points against Stanford. I see the Huskies winning 79-63.