Thursday, March 17, 2005

Heatin' up the dance floor

Let’s get the disclaimer over with first: I didn’t see the game.

I am stuck at work, having already missed half the day for a doctor’s appointment, so I listened to most of it through my static-saturated headphones. The reception inside this glass Duplo block is terrible, so I really only heard about half the game. Still, I feel I can offer at least a little analysis.

We do need to play better if we’re going to squash the whining about how we didn’t deserve a #1 seed. While it’s true that the first 10 minutes looked like we were playing a pack of third graders, we shouldn’t have let the Grizzlies back in the game at all. Because I couldn’t physically see the game, I might be wrong; maybe Romar decided to let the guys back off and play easy so they could rest for Pacific on Saturday.

However, we do have a notable tendency to play down unless the game’s on the line. This is a maddening trend which has caused many a Husky fan to turn gray before their time, and it needs to stop. If we start slow against a Pacific, a Georgia Tech, or (dare I say?) a Wake, we’ll never be able to catch up. The Huskies have to stop being complacent when they have a lead: we need to keep our shooting clean, stay out of foul trouble, and learn to run the ball inside and outside. Since our inside ball handlers don’t actually handle the ball with superiority, this isn’t going to be easy. I mean no offense to our guys – they are an incredibly talented team with the ability to annihilate a fellow top seed like ‘Zona – but this is a one round elimination, and we can’t afford to cut anyone any slack. Every team is dangerous. Every team has the ability to send us packing, and the same goes for the other 1 seeds.

If there’s one thing we lack, it’s the seasoned perspective that comes from being a perennial tournament team like Duke or Kentucky. We are a bit behind on the learning curve, but we need to start absorbing new skills at an exponential rate. UW has the ability to make a deep run in the tournament; they demonstrated that potential against some high quality teams this year…but we have to play like we mean it from the second the clock starts ticking, or else we’ll be hearing those “overrated” chants long after the last nets come down.

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