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GAME THREAD: Washington at No. 23 WSU

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 7, 2008

Huskies (16-14 overall, 7-10 Pac-10) at Cougars (22-7, 10-7)

Beasley Coliseum (Pullman, Wash.), 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: FSN

I’m heading out of town early tonight, so I needed to get this up now in advance of tomorrow’s game. There isn’t a lot of breaking down to be done here with regards to the matchup itself, as scenes such as the one on the right have become commonplace in this series.

Washington is a team that can hang with just about anyone when its offense is clicking, and that’s usually only happening when they’re hitting some outside shots.

Usually, the 3-point shot means one thing: Ryan Appleby. Appleby averages 7.5 shots from behind the arc, and when he’s hitting, the team can stay with just about anyone. But if we look closer, there are x-factors that come into play. Over the weekend, 7-foot stiff Joe Wolfinger went 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, including 4-for-4 against Cal. And although streaky, Justin Dentmon can heat up from out there, too.

The strategy for the Cougs defensively will have to be limiting Appleby’s touches on the perimeter and getting in his grill when he does get the ball, because he is a one-trick pony who literally can’t do anything but shoot. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is the Huskies’ lone meaningful senior with the ball in his hands and the chance to break what the UW has come to view as a highly embarrassing streak.

The television announcers will talk about how awesome Jon Brockman is — which is totally true — but unless he can figure out a way to get Aron Baynes in foul trouble, look for a fairly quiet outing from him. Sure, he’ll get his 10 rebounds, most of them on the defensive end, but I foresee a 4-for-12 kind of offensive game with few free throws thrown in. He struggled mightily against Baynes’ big body in both games last year, and I really don’t see that changing.

Offensively, the Cougs should have very little trouble doing what they want to do. Yes, the UW was much improved defensively for part of the Pac-10 season, but that seems to have gone back in the toilet. Since holding UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State under 100 offensive efficiency in a stretch, they’ve since allowed ASU, Stanford and Cal to go nuts — specifically in the Bay Area, where both the Bears and Cardinal exceeded 117. Ouch.

The common thread? Low turnovers. And they were road games, where the Huskies have shown they need to have lights-out offensive performances to compete. If the Cougs take care of the basketball and make Washington truly work for the entire shot clock, I think they can have their way offensively and cause a repeat of the picture above.

I truly am looking forward to tomorrow. I am so fired up to thank this group of seniors for what they’ve done for us, I can’t even really express it. I will cry. And I will not be ashamed.

Go Cougs.

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4 Responses to “GAME THREAD: Washington at No. 23 WSU”

  1. Coug1990 said

    Have fun at the game. Good run down. I think if Baynes is allowed to stay out of foul trouble, we have a good chance in this game. Hopefully, being at home this game will be refereed at least evenly. I know the mutts will come out hard as they want to end this streak and we better match their intensity. If we do, I think that we win a semi close game.

  2. Longball said

    Nuss, i was at the Coug watching UCLA’s escape act. Were you there?

  3. Longball said

    I’ll say this about last night, when they had finally sealed the deal and Tony gathered the team at mid-court, a great tribute to those seniors was simply to compare that raucous crowd around them to the crowd that greeted them for their first game 4 years ago. They came here to make this program a winner and against pretty long odds, they did it. period. Well done fellas, thanks for the ride.

    Oh and Nuss, don’t be ashamed, brother. I cried too.

  4. Nuss said

    I showed up around 2, but there already were no tables and it was LOUD, as you know. I looked around, didn’t see anybody that looked like they were looking for me, and my buddy and I went over to Stubblefield’s (formerly Shakers). That was actually a great place. We should have had it there. Perhaps next time!

    And, yes, I cried. No shame here.

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