I have a theory about this Husky basketball team. Often, it extends to most Husky basketball teams, but I think this one in particular. If you spread the season out into thirds, I predict that in one third of the games, the Dawgs are going to shoot lights out from behind the arc. In another third of the games, the defense is going to keep us in it (either by keeping things close, or by creating turnovers to jumpstart our offense). That just leaves a third of the games where we DON’T shoot so well from three, and where we DON’T play particularly great (or even good) defense. It’s in THOSE games where we’re going to struggle the most (not that we won’t struggle in the other 2/3, but since I consider this team has a lot of potential, I guess I’m predicting that we won’t struggle all that often if we’re shooting well and/or playing great D).
We had one of THOSE games on Sunday in Saint Louis. We gave them 50 points in the first half (letting them shoot 52.8% for the game; 42.9% from three); AND we only hit 4 of 12 three pointers. That’s just a recipe for disaster any way you slice it! And it’s a problem that’s likely to not go away any time soon.
See, if you have a solid post-up presence (to go along with a bunch of sharp-shooters and some quick, aggressive defense), you’re not likely to struggle in too many ballgames. If one segment of your game lags, the others can pick it up. If you’re not shooting well from long range, you can settle things (and slow the ballgame down) by walking the ball up the court when necessary and dumping it in to the big man with his back to the basket.
Except, the Huskies don’t have that. So, when they play teams who don’t make mistakes (meaning, we’re not generating enough turnovers to turn the game into a track meet) and who have a solid half-court game, that’s going to ultimately take us out of OUR game and make us one-dimensional. Which wouldn’t be TOO bad if we’re able to hit shots from deep. But, if we’re tossing bricks left and right, then we’re going to be screwed to the wall every time.
Sunday was a bit of an anomaly because we are still missing Scott Suggs, and C.J. Wilcox was lost for a big chunk thanks to that vicious pick that left him dazed. Those are our two best shooters, bar none. Terrence Ross can’t do it all, and our point guards are still too hit-or-miss.
Nevertheless, these games are going to happen (probably more often when we get to Pac-12 play). The Huskies are going to have to figure out a way to get points in the paint, or else they’re going to be NIT-bound. It might take a slight tweaking or an entire revamping of our offense, but something will have to be done to compensate for our shortcomings.
Everyone liked to belittle MBA’s contributions to the team the last couple years, but you know what? He picked the entire team up on his back enough times to earn my respect. The question is: do we have that guy on this team right now? Looking pretty doubtful in the early going.