You’ll notice I didn’t say “Great” team. I don’t know if we’re great yet, and probably won’t know until Tournament Time.
But, this is a good team, for sure. What that translates to, I can’t say, but it probably means over 20 wins and a 7-seed. Not that 20 wins is all that difficult, mind you. With the Seattle U game in late February, we’re pretty much guaranteed 9 non-conference wins. Meaning we’d have to go only 11-7 to hit that magic number (whether I believe 20 is enough is another matter, but let’s go with it for now).
Remarkably, in this 11-game pre-season, the Huskies never really had a bad night. You could say they were a little off, they whiffed on some key chances, especially in the 3 losses. But, they weren’t BAD losses. We lost by a combined 13 points to two excellent teams (MSU currently #12 and Kentucky #13 in the nation) and another pretty good team (T A&M is #25 in the nation) on the road. And as for the rest? They were teams we were supposed to beat and their asses we did.
54, 26, 43, 27, 29, 22, 28, 30. That’s how much we won by against the 8 teams we defeated, for an average margin of victory of 32 points. Even in victory, there were no down nights. In years past, some of our more up-and-down teams might’ve given one of these games away. But not this year’s team. This year’s team took care of business and in impressive fashion every time.
Last night was no difference. Against Nevada, it was another laugher by halftime. IT was a man possessed, hitting 9 of 19 shots (4 of 10 behind the arc) for 24 points. More impressive than the long-distance shooting were his drives. He willed more than a few of those shots through the hoop. A few of the other regulars were pretty pisspoor from three (2 for 11 out of Ross, Wilcox, and Gaddy), but it didn’t matter. Another team was physically outmatched by our combination of speed, athleticism, skill, and hustle. So, I’ll overlook the fact that another 29 three pointers were jacked up; something tells me we won’t see quite so many in regular season play.
Something I could probably do without is MBA taking 16 shots like he did last night (making only 6). Nevada seemed to employ the Foul-First defense against him (ignoring the Leave-Him-Alone-&-Let-Him-Miss-An-Open-Lay-Up defense most teams use to effective success), giving MBA 9 shots from the free throw line (he made 4). But, you know what? If MBA keeps getting double-doubles (he had 11 boards, 3 offensively), I’ll let his offense slide too.
T’is the season, and I’m in a giving mood; what can I say?
Of course, I’d like it if he were a little more like Aziz N’Diaye. 5 of 9 shots – mostly stuff around the rim – for 11 points along with 10 rebounds (5 on the offensive glass). That’s as good as gold from any center in basketball!
Anyway, that’s it. Next week we go to USC and start our campaign toward a Pac-10 championship. We’ve got a good team here, but will we be good enough?