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Archive for February 12th, 2008

Taking a step back

Posted by Jo-Jo on February 12, 2008

Well, first of all I would like to thank Phatt Nuss (as I know him) for his stunningly generous introduction. I do believe that this will bring him some much needed accountability since I have all of the dirt on him, feel free to probe me on him so I can help keep him on his best game.

Now to business. As a person who bleeds Crimson I think it is very important to take a look at where this team is right now, especially in the wake of such a decisive bounce back performance against SC on Saturday. I’m not interested in making more of that victory than it is, and I’m not interested in the doom and gloom of the past few weeks either. I think it is the perfect time to take a step back and look at where this team is.

If I had asked anyone at the beginning of the season what they would have thought about losing a close game at home to UCLA and then trouncing the Trojans this weekend, every single response would have been positive. However, in the context of the past few weeks it still leaves the Cougs with two wins in their last six contests. Ouch. But something else happened in the Pac-10 this weekend. The University of Arizona (who absolutely pummeled the Cougs) lost to Arizona State, and the purple puppies took a ride on crimson coat tails to beat the first place team in the conference, the UCLA Bruins. Fans, this conference is the best in America, hands down. No other conference in the country has the depth that the Pac-10 brings to the table. For two months, every single team in the Pac-10 has a dog fight every single weekend (except when Oregon gets to play the Beavs). In terms of the Pac-10 standings, the Cougs are just fine.

They were beaten by a better team in LA ealier this year, and gave that same a team a run for it’s money on Thursday. Yes, they crapped their pants against Arizona, then crapped the bed against Cal. They let the Stanford game slip through their fingers and there are your four loses. Wouldn’t you agree that it is better to have lost those games than, instead of … say … during the Pac-10 Tournament? That’s what I thought.

Several things have surfaced during this stretch through the conference schedule. One thing is that the offense is maturing. We know that the Cougs have players that can shoot the three and that they can get those players shots pretty much when ever they want. But I’ve noticed much more of the two-man game showing up durring this time, resulting in a much needed boost on offense from our long lost friend Mr. Robbie Cowgill. The second thing is that we are starting to see the emergence of some help from the bench in the forms of Caleb Forrest and Nikola Koprivica. This is extremely important, especially considering how much will be asked of them next season. The third thing is that the defense has played much better in the last two games than they’ve played since the start of the conference schedule. I believe that those issues should spring hope to Cougar fans, but I also believe that their performances against Arizona, Cal and even Stanford near the end, should scare the crap out of Cougar fans.

This team has proven that they can hang with anyone in the conference, and they’ve proven that they can fall flat on their face as well. But let us give credit to our opponents. The Cougs aren’t sneaking up on anybody like they did last season. Every team knows that when Washington weekend rolls around, the Cougs are the team to focus on (unfortunately for UCLA, that came back to bite them Sunday at Hec Ed.).

At the end of it all, UCLA is still the best team in the conference (despite what the University of Washington pulled off), and that has never been in question. Stanford, in my opinion, is stealing victories all over the place because I’m still not conviced that they are that great other than Mary-Kate and Ashley Lopez. And then you have the Cougars of Washington State University. Right where they belong. In the mix with every other team in the conference.

Here is to looking at continuing to grow through the rest of the Pac-10 schedule, en route to putting on one hell of a show at the Pac-10 Tournament.

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