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Archive for March 14th, 2008

GAME THREAD: Pac-10 Tournament, (3) WSU vs. (2) Stanford

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 14, 2008

No. 21 Cougars (24-7 overall, 11-7 Pac-10) vs. No. 11 Cardinal (24-6, 13-5)

Staples Center (Los Angeles), 8:30 p.m. PDT

Since we just did this two weeks ago, I’m not going to go too crazy over analyzing this game.

WANTED: Anyone who can stop these two guys.

Brook Lopez has absolutely destroyed anyone who has tried to guard him one-on-one, and he’s made double teams look like child’s play, leading Stanford to a pair of wins in which they trailed at the half. Robin Lopez has been an absolute demon on the defensive end, teaming with his brother to dominate long stretches of each game with their shot blocking ability, as well.

Somehow, some way, we’ve got to limit their influence on this game. On defense, we’ve got to deny Brook Lopez the ball in comfortable positions around the basket, and if he does catch the ball, make him do it in areas where it’s harder to score and harder to pass out of the double team. On offense, we’ve got to figure out ways to draw both of them away from the basket so we can get some things moving towards it. We cannot settle for jump shot after jump shot if we expect to have any kind of success.

Above all, we have to bring it for 40 minutes. No 20-minute spurts.

I gotta be honest — I don’t have a great feeling about this game. I know it’s tough to beat a team three times, but there is a reason why we’ve already lost twice to them: The matchups just are not favorable. Hoping for foul trouble or a hot shooting game might just be our best bet.


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Was that more Oregon or more us?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 14, 2008

Welcome to our first edition of You Write the Recap!

There are a couple of reasons for this, one driven by pragmatism and the other by curiosity. I just don’t have time to write a recap and game thread preview on the same day, so this will have to do. But I’m actually really curious as to how you viewed what transpired in the second half.

In lieu of having a DVR and the opportunity to watch the game again, I was of the opinion as it unfolded that Oregon’s comeback had a heck of a lot more to do with Oregon making plays and shots than it did with us doing something wrong.

Tajuan Porter just started going nuts, and it’s awful hard to maintain a big lead when you’re constantly trading 2’s for 3’s (and later 1’s for 2’s when we started missing our free throws … again!). Although the Cougs weren’t perfect, I just don’t think it had much to do with flawed defense.

Other things I noticed were the absence of Aron Baynes and the ineffectiveness of Daven Harmeling on the offensive end.

I can’t find any mention of Baynes being injured — Vince Grippi at the Spokesman chalked it up to matchups — but I found it curious that the guy who was the difference in the previous game against the Ducks could only get on the floor for 13 minutes. I was encouraged, however, that we rebounded as well as we did without him. (Oregon’s four-guard lineup probably had something to do with that.)

In terms of Harmeling, he looks like he’s wound up tighter than a two-dollar watch on every shot right now — kind of like he did at the beginning of the year before he hurt his hand. That fluid stroke just isn’t there. If he doesn’t produce tonight, Bennett is going to have an interesting quandary with his rotation heading into the Tournament.

OK, that’s it from me. This is your floor now. Let me have it.

Posted in Game Analysis | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »