Tuesday, February 22, 2011

HUSKIES: Northwest rivalry preview

Coming home from a heartbreaking 86-87 loss to Arizona, UW's schedule this week is a bit easier. The Huskies get to come back to the Northwest and face Seattle University in Key Arena Tuesday, then face Washington State at Hec Edmunson Pavilion on Sunday night. Here's three things the Dawgs need to accomplish to win.

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Feed the beast down low When I say beast, I mean Matthew Bryan–Amaning who had 24 points and 8 rebounds against Arizona. MBA is ridiculous right now, and hopefully his teammates realize that. At home, UW's guards routinely get three point shot happy, sometimes forgetting about the post. This hasn't necessarily been a problem, because guys like CJ Wilcox and Isaiah Thomas have been sinking them. So why am I saying feed MBA inside instead of shooting a load of 3's? WSU can't match MBA. The Cougers don't have a great, defensive center to match up against Bryan-Amaning, but they do have great guards in Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson to take away the perimeter shot. The Dawgs should exploit the Cougs' big man deficiency, even if UW's perimeter shooters are sinking 3's.

Crush SU's and WSU's spirits early You would have to think both of these teams are pumped to play against Washington, so it's important to squash their enthusiasm early. Whether that's a couple fast break dunks, a 10-0 run, or whatever, you can't let teams like Seattle University gain hope. Both teams have run out of NCAA tournament chances, with WSU coming off some bad losses over the weekend and SU still trying to build a solid program. If Washington gets an early lead at home, it's almost impossible to stop them.

Let Isaiah Thomas go to work Isaiah is averaging 16.6 points per game to go along with 5.9 assists per game, which shows you the kind of well rounded player he has become. But, Thomas is at his best when it's a situation where he has to make a play. Whether that's reading the double team on him, dribble driving three guys, or taking the three at the right time, he just makes plays. He hits shots when the Dawgs need them most. Or as Skip Bayless would say, he has the "clutch" gene. Against inferior teams like WSU and SU, Lorenzo Romar should leave it to I.T. to lead the team to victory.

Reach Nathan Parsons at nathanparsons98@yahoo.com