This is the best time of year if you’re a good basketball team. This is when the good teams get fat, chewing through the tender meat of teams like McNeese State, Eastern Washington, Long Beach State, Portland, and San Francisco. In general, if you’re in a major conference like the Pac-10, 20 is the magic number. You want to have 20 or more wins, because usually that’ll get you into the NCAA Tournament.
This is also a good time to pad your team’s stats. Not surprisingly, after one game, the University of Washington is the nation’s leading scoring team with a 118 average. While that’s sure to go down, it’s games like these that will ensure that the Huskies remain one of the nation’s top scoring teams.
Individual players have nothing but confidence to gain in these games. Matthew Bryan-Amaning and his game-high 28 points can attest to that (to say nothing of his 13 rebounds). Then, there are players like Justin Holiday, Isaiah Thomas, Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, and Scott Suggs who can use these games to round their long-range shots into form. It’s best to work out the kinks now, so when the conference schedule starts we’re ready to kick it into another gear.
Then, of course, you’ve got the younger players jockeying for playing time in the “regular season”. Wilcox, Suggs, Terrence Ross, and even Abdul Gaddy (who’s starting for now, but will need to justify his value to the team if he’s ever going to play important Down The Stretch minutes late in games). Romar can only have a rotation so deep; here are the main four guys we’re likely to see at the end of games:
That fifth guy is usually determined by circumstance (a bigger guy if the other team is playing big; another guard if they’re playing small; another 3-point threat if we’re playing from behind). These games will go a long way toward determining who’s in Romar’s mind when that circumstance dictates.
Nothing is guaranteed in college basketball. Gant and Suggs and Gaddy will have to work just as hard as Wilcox and N’Diaye and Ross if they want to ensure they’re on the court more often than they’re not. So, even though you’re likely to see a lot of lopsided scores in the next few weeks, that doesn’t mean these games aren’t important or exciting. Because you’re getting a glimpse at who will be playing when, when the schedule starts ramping up.