Sunday, January 30, 2011

Huskies Versus Cougars Preview and Gameday Notes

When the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars re-new their rivalry tonight in Pullman, the stakes will be high for both teams.

The reason why the game is big for Washington is because their in a dog fight for the Pac 10 regular season title. The Huskies are off to one of their best starts in conference play since 1986. If the Huskies want to hold on top spot in the Pac 10 they have to win tonight. Arizona is playing good basketball right now and are right on the Huskies tail. Furthermore, Washington will have to show that they can handle adversity and there is no better place in the Pac 10 to show that they can handle adversity and get a win in a tough environment. If the Huskies can get a win in a tough environment it would help their confidence significantly.

For the Cougars, the game is massive for a lot of reasons. The main reason that this game is a big game for the Cougars is because the Cougar don't have that big win with the exception of the Baylor game. It would help their resume if they beat Washington. Also, the Cougars have had trouble winning on the road this year and a loss would put them in spot for them to have to win a few games on the road before the Pac 10 Tournament in early March.

Game Notes

Tonight's game will be the 271st meeting between these two teams. Washington leads the series 172-98 and is currently on a four game winning streak. The four game winning streak was in response of the seven game winning streak the Cougars had from 2006 - 2008.

No one on the Cougars roster has ever beaten the Huskies. You may not think that this is very important but it is. The Huskies have not only beaten the Cougars four straight times but also have lots of experience from big games in the Pac 10 Tournament and NCAA Tournament in past years, which should definitely help in this crucial game tonight.

My Pick.... 

This game tonight could easily go either way. The Huskies have more talent and a deeper bench which should  help them in a close game. However, the Huskies will have to weather the Cougars early storm. The Cougars have had eight days to sit on their heartbreaking 65-63 loss. If the Huskies weather the early storm, they will win going away with help from an Isaiah Thomas double double. In contrast, if the Huskies can't weather the storm they might be in for a long night. Personally, I think the Huskies will be in for a long night. Klay Thompson is too good of a player to let his team down He is due to have a good game against Washington. He will score 27 points and the Cougars will win 76-64.

The game starts at 7pm and is on TV on FSN.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Apple Cup Week

The Washington Huskies will look to put a dent in the Washington State Cougars NCAA tournament chances on Sunday when they travel to Pullman, for a 7pm tip off.

The Huskies and Cougars have had very competitive games in the past and Sunday's game should be no exception. The Huskies come into the game with a 15-4 record and 7-1 in the Pac 10.  On their current three game wining streak the Huskies have scored an average of 88 points per game.

In contrast, the Cougars are 14-6 and 4-4 in the Pac 10. The Cougars are coming off a 65-63 heartbreaking loss to Arizona. In that game potential player of the year candidate Klay Thompson finished with nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists.

Thompson will have to play well in the game on Sunday, if he wants to remain in the running for the Pac 10 play of the year. In Thompson's career against the Huskies he has 29 points in the four games.

The reason why the game is so big for the Cougars is because they need to start winning in Pac 10 play. Their 4-4 record is mediocre at best in the weak Pac 10. No Pac 10 team has ever made the NCAA tournament with a below 500. conference record without wining the conference tournament. That will definitely be the case this year as the Pac 10 is projected to get 2-4 teams into the tournament. Here is how the breakdown goes:

  1. Washington should be a lock into the NCAA Tournament. With their 15-4 record they should get about a 4-6 seed.
  2. Arizona is 16-4 and is coming off an impressive win @ Washington State. As it stands right now Arizona should be into the tournament. Their a well known school across the country and unless they fall flat on their face they should be in. 
  3. UCLA is 13-6. They have an impressive win against 9th ranked BYU on neutral floor in December and played Kanas well on the road losing 77-76. Right now UCLA is on the bubble. For them to get an At Large berth they might need to win one or two games in the Pac 10 tournament. 
  4. Washington State with their 14-6 record is also on the bubble. Except for their win against Baylor, the Cougars have no signature win. If the Cougars want to get an At Large bid they have to start wining games on the road and key games such as Washington this Sunday.                                      
If the Cougars end up losing the Apple Cup on Sunday, the Cougars would be 4-5 in Pac 10 play. That would put them in a tough spot and they might have to go 6-3 in their last 9 games to still have a shot at an At Large chance. 

For the Huskies, their 7-1 record is best in the Pac 10. The sky is the limit for this team. If the Huskies want to make a run deep into the tournament, they have to get consistent play from Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has played lights out the last three games but their will be a time in the season where he has an off game. If the Huskies could win a game when Thomas has a bad game, they could have the ingredients for a great finish to their season. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Huskies Versus Sun Devils Preview

The Washington Huskies will look to continue their dominance over the Arizona State Sun Devils when they tip off at new American Airlines Arena today. The Huskies have had the Sun Devils number in the Lorenzo Romar era as the Huskies are 6-1 against ASU at home and have won 14 out of the last 17 games.  

That is a trend that will likely continue. The Huskies are playing some really good basketball lately,  after the Huskies dismantled Cal on Sunday, the Huskies defeated Arizona 85-68 in Thursday's game for first place in the Pac 10.

Ever Since Point Guard Abdul Gaddy went down with his injury, Isaiah Thomas has also been dominant force. On Thursday he recorded his second double double in many games. Isaiah Thomas will be the X factor for the Huskies for the rest of the season as the Huskies are most dangerous when Isaiah Thomas is playing his game and creating offense for his teammates.

Arizona State comes into the game with a 9-9 record and 1-5 in the Pac 10. Arizona State is coming off a disappointing 78-61 loss to Washington State. In that game the Sun Devils shot only 32% from the field and 64% from the foul line. Those are too stats ASU will have to improve on if the Sun Devils want to compete with the Huskies today.

For Arizona State to pull off the upset the Huskies will have to get solid play from Ty Abbott. Abbot is a 6-3 guard and is a very good shooter as he is shooting 40% from the three point range. The Sun Devils will also have to stop the big three from Washington. In the Huskies win over Arizona on Thursday, Matthew Bryan Amaning, Isaiah Thomas and Justin Holiday scored 62 of Washington's 85 points.

For the Huskies to take of business today, they will have to put the Sun Devils away early. When ever you are playing a weaker team, you don't want the underdog to stay in the game. The longer an underdog stays in the game, the more confident the Sun Devils will get. However, I don't see that happening. The Huskies have won 17 out of 19 Pac 10 home games and it should be 18 out of 20 games by the end of the night. The final score will be 96-57.

The game starts at 1pm and will be on TV on FSN.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Washington Will Try To Get Back on Track Tonight At Berkeley

The Washington Huskies and the California Golden Bears have had some great games on the basketball court the in past few years and tonight should be no exception. The Huskies come into the game the favorite but in past years the favorite has not always came away with the victory.

You only have to go back ten months for an example of that. On March, 13, 2010 theses same two teams played for the right to named Pac 10 tournament Champions. As you might recall from my Oregon State preview that I did last week, I was on a cruise. The cruise was on its way home and I was waiting for the Huskies game at 3pm that day. I had been watching College basketball all day but still had no idea if Washington was a lock for the NCAA tournament or on the bubble. That day I remember talking to Purdue and a Kanas fan.  I told them about the Huskies season and both the Kanas fan and the Purdue fan agreed that the Huskies should be a lock.

When the game started I knew that Washington were the underdog but I didn't know how big of an underdog. The game was a game filled with energy and lots of lead changes. The Huskies held a slim 41-37 lead at half and I was liking the huskies chances. The Huskies lead 61-52 when Cal went on a 14-0 run to lead 66-61. The Huskies battled back for the epic 79-75 win and got their 2nd tournament title in five years.

The California Golden Bears will be looking for some revenge tonight when Cal welcomes UW for a rare Sunday night tilt. California is coming off a thrilling 88-81OT win over Washington State. In that game Freshmen Allen Cabbe had a career high 30 points to lead his team in scoring. Cal is 9-7 and 2-2 in the Pac 10.

For the Huskies, they will look to get back on track tonight following their 58-56 heartbreaking loss to Stanford on Thursday night. The team never got the big hoop down the stretch and were a victim of going 6 for 12 from the foul line. If the Huskies are going to salvage a split on this road trip, the Huskies will have to shoot better from beyond the arc as the went 8-26 from 3 point range Thursday.

If Cal is going to pull off the upset tonight the Bears will have to get points from Junior Jorge Gutierrez. Gutierrez is averaging 12 points per game but shooting 42% from 3 point range. The Bears will also need their bench to give them a lift as Cal's bench only scored 8 out of 88 points on Thursday night.

 On another note, I shook Freshman Emerson Murray's hand last year. He went to a high school in Vancouver, BC last year and two years ago knocked down the wining shot in the AAA Provincial championship with 2.3 seconds to beat their cross town rival.

The game tonight will show a lot of what the Huskies are made of. If the Huskies win they will be 5-1 and back on track in the Pac 10. However, a loss and the Huskies would be in a dog fight just to get into the tournament. I know it's early but a win in January is easier to get then a win in March. I think the Huskies step up big tonight and get the win. Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday have big game tonight.  The Huskies will prevail 75-66.

The game starts at 7pm and can be seen on FSN National.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Washington Will Try to Avoid Upset When they Travel to Stanford

Remember March, 6th, 2004? The day Washington upset #1 ranked Stanford 75-62 on Senior night to give Sanford not only their first Pac 10 loss of the season but gave them their first loss of the season overall. Well I do. It was the day that I got hooked on Huskies basketball. Since that game Huskies basketball has had some pretty amazing runs into the tournament including last years Sweet 16 finish as an 11 seed. For Stanford, the Cardinal were not able to get their season back on track after that loss  losing to Alabama in the second round in Seattle. Since that year Stanford has only had one really good team. That team was in 2007 with Brook and Robin Lopez that carried them to the Sweet 16 before losing to Texas.

Don't get me wrong, I am not comparing the 2004 Stanford team to the 2011 Washington team. Washington has knocked Stanford out of the Pac 10 tournament the last two years including last year when the Huskies beat Stanford 79-64.  The Cardinal will be looking for some revenge tonight and the Huskies could be in for a long night if they take this Stanford team lightly.

However, this Huskies team is full of potential and some experts think this team could go as far as the Elite eight or Final Four in Houston this year.

For that to be a reality this year the Huskies will have to face some adversity. Tomorrow will be the Huskies first road game without point guard Abdul Gaddy. For the Huskies to make it far into the tournament it will be a team effort. Washington has one of the deepest benches in the Pac 10 if not the deepest bench. Therefore, the bench play will be important but more important in these tough road games in conference play.

The Washington Huskies will also need a fast start. In all 15 of the Huskies have led at halftime in all of the games. However, the Huskies got off to slow start in their two games last week but still were able to lead at halftime.

Stanford comes into the game 9-5 and 2-1 in the Pac 10. Stanford is undefeated on their home floor and will not shy away from tough competition. Stanford is still looking for their big win that could put them on the bubble.

The bottom line is that the if the Huskies take this game seriously tonight then they should win. The Huskies have a better starting five and a better bench. Stanford will try its best to make the game as low scoring as possible. However, I don't see the Cardinal being able to shut down the Huskies explosive offense for the whole game and Washington will win 71-61.

The game is set for a 7pm tip off and the game is not on TV.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Huskies Versus Oregon St. Preview

When the Washington Huskies take the court to take on the Oregon State Beavers, the Huskies will be looking for their first 4-0 start in 27 years.

Standing in their way is Oregon State. The Beavers are led by Sophomore Jared Cunningham. Cunningham is the leading scorer on Oregon St. averaging 14.1 points per game.

Last year the Huskies and the Beavers played three times. Washington won all three games however, the Huskies only won by an average of nine points in each game.. Here were the scores from all of last years three meetings:

Washington 76      Oregon State 70   In Seattle

Oregon State 70      Washington 82   In Corvallis

Washington 59         Oregon State 52 In Los Angels, Pac 10 tournament

In the final meeting in the quarterfinals my family was on a cruise and I had to follow the  game from the bottom ticker of ESPN Deportes. The date was  Thursday March, 11, 2010.

That day my cruise had its second port in Cabo San Lucas. I wasn't really nervous for the game. We had beaten the Beavers twice and the Beavers had no player that could take over the game. After we boarded the cruise after the day at port, I went to the Sports Bar to try to find some College Basketball scores. Cal had taken care of Oregon 90-74 and UCLA squeaked by Arizona 75-69. I knew that there was a chance that I could watch the game on FSN in the Sports Bar after dinner.

After dinner my Dad and I went down to the Sports Bar. My Dad asked the bartender if they could change the channel to FSN but the bartender said we only get two channels. (hard to believe) I had to follow the game on the ESPN Deportes bottom ticker. The Huskies didn't get off to a good start, they weren't shooting well and were down by nine at halftime. Without any Internet I wasn't sure if a loss would eliminate the Huskies from March Madness. In the second half the Huskies went on a 21-6 run to lead 43-37. I was starting to feel less nervous. After pacing around the cruise ship for 15 more minuets I saw that the Huskies were still wining with time running out on the Beavers.  After officially seeing that the Huskies had won I felt a bit relieved. The scary thing I wasn't able to know any other information about the game with no Internet access. The good thing was that Stanford upset ASU. I knew that the Huskies could take Stanford easily the next day.

So when the Huskies tip off with the Beavers today at 3:30pm, the Huskies will try to avoid another let down that almost ruined their season at the Staple Center. More Importantly, Oregon State is an improving team. Their record at 7-7 (2-1) does not accurately describe how much their improving after being in the CBI the past two years. An upset today would really help their program.

Terrence Ross will also try to continue his hot shooting stroke. His 25 points on Thursday was a career high. His points will become even more crucial now after Washington found out they would not have Abdul Gaddy for the rest of the year.

However, the Huskies will not need the presence of Gaddy today. Washington is by far the stronger team and should prevail easily. Washington is on a five game winning streak and playing good basketball right now after closing the Oregon game on a 41-22 run. Look for Washington to score a lot on the fast break on route to a 89-72 win.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

ESPN Network Problems

Its been a week since the Washington Huskies epic 19-7 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2010 Holiday Bowl. If your a true Washington Huskies fan, you would have been watching the game and not have been able to see the start of the game because of the UNC  vs Tennessee game going into overtime..

 After the UNC vs. Tennessee game was over, ESPN decided to leave the Holiday Bowl for a girls College Basketball game. ESPN was a complete joke last week so I e-mailed them yesterday.

Here is what I said:

To Whom, it may concern

I would like to address the problem, of what took place on Thursday, December 30th, 2010. The problem was held very poorly and could of been held at more of a mature matter. 

On December, 30th, 2010 at about 7pm the game between North Carolina and Tennessee was  still going on. At the same time the Holiday Bowl, the Washington Huskies and the Nebraska Cornhuskers were about to start their game. There should of been a way for you guys to be able to switch to the Holiday Bowl in the Seattle area and the Lincoln area. In fact, I know there is a way because ABC (your sister station) goes regional for the College football games on Saturday during the season.

However, what was done a week ago can't be changed but the way you handled it was a complete joke! I am a big Washington Huskies fan and like most fans I was pretty excited for the game. The Washington Huskies this year faced a lot of adversity this season, but the Huskies found away somehow to get six wins for their first bowl bid since 2002. 

Secondly, during the UNC vs. Tennessee game, the referees did not know what they were doing. The last minute of the game felt like half an hour. There was a play that was challenged and the referees were talking forever to determine what the right call was. At the very least you guys could of shown the Holiday Bowl while the Challenge was taking place. 

After the UNC vs Tennessee game was over there was only 3:40 to go in the 1st quarter and Washington was somehow leading 7-0. I was so surprised that Washington was up 7-0 that I would of liked to know how. 

Next, you guys decided to leave the Holiday Bowl in the second quarter to a girls basketball game that was almost over and there was no way that Uconn was going to comeback. I realize that a massive streak was just about to be broken but that game was on ESPN2 already. 

The whole thing was handled poorly and could easily been changed. The most obvious solution is to leave the UNC vs Tennessee game at 7pm. If you didn't want to do that, I noticed that the UNC vs. Tennessee game started at 3:40 Seattle time. During the season there is about 3 hours and 30 minuets between games. You guys should of scheduled the Holiday Bowl for 7:10 or 7:20 even. I realize that it would be late for Nebraska fans but I remember last year Washington's game versus LSU started at 7:30pm. 

Lastly, the times of games or the dates of these games could of been changed and this wouldn't happen. I realize that the game was on ESPNU but not everybody has ESPNU and not everybody can watch these games live. 

I do enjoy the majority of the things you do as a TV Network and a website but what you did but what you did was a complete Joke and needs to be changed or you will have more of these problems with other fans. 

I hope you take time to e-mail me back.


Greg von Matt

I don't think I went over the top. I tried not to use bad language during the E-mail.  For myself the problem was unfortunate. Regardless, if ESPN did the right thing I still would of had a problem because I live in Canada and would still of had to watch the overtime. For example, Canadians do not get ESPN or any other good sports channels that Americans get in the sates. That being said if ESPN would have done the right thing then I would be sending  this e-mail to The Score (Sports channel in Canada and the channel the game was on) and not ESPN. 

I didn't really focus on grammar and punctuation on this one. I just wanted to get my point across to ESPN. I had the idea of putting this blog on my page today. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Huskies Get Monumental Win in Holiday Bowl

Jake Locker only completed five passes and the Washington Huskies only scored 19 points, but those stats were just enough, for the Washington Huskies to defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 19-7, for their first bowl win since the Rose Bowl in 2001.

Washington defense stepped up in a big way by having pressure on QB Taylor Martinez and backup QB Cody Green. Green came into the game after the Martinez ankle injury in the third quarter. At that time he was also trying to find the rhythm in the Nebraska offense however, the rhythm was no where to be found as the Washington Huskies defense forced two turnovers and got their first safety since 2003.

You can say what you want about Nebraska having a letdown or not wanting to be at the Holiday Bowl, but you have to tip your hat to Steve Sarkisian and the whole Washington Huskies team. On Thursday night it was a whole team effort and everyone contributed.

Especially, Sophomore running back Chris Polk. His 177 yards on 34 carries and one touchdown run proved that he can be a good back against a good  defense of Nebraska who, came in to the game with the ninth best defense in the Nation.

The 19-7 victory for the Huskies caps off a very up and down season. When the Huskies fans look back on the season I think they will consider it a successful season. Not only did the Huskies make it to a bowl game for the first time in since 2002, but they won four games a first since 2000 where they won five games on there way to the Rose Bowl. For me the Huskies season was very successful. The Huskies got a huge win at USC, gutted a big win at home against Oregon State. Also when you win the games down the stretch when the games mean the most and most importantly improved on their win total of last year by two wins.

For Huskies players and coaches it was a good year with a very emotional end. All the time during the season the Huskies players said "we have to get into a bowl for Jake" That statement is somewhat true. The statement is somewhat true because Locker was the Huskies team captain and decided to come back to try to get this team back to a bowl game. In contrast, the statement is somewhat false thou because when the team was 3-6, it wasn't just Jake Locker playing bad it was the whole team playing bad. However, in Washington's recent four game wining streak it wasn't Locker stepping up, it was the whole team stepping up. For example, if the Huskies would have lost this game 56-19, everyone would blame Locker for only completing five passes. But the Huskies won 19-7 so everyone is saying how good he is by making the right decision and throwing the ball away.

In Jake Locker's four years as the Huskies he accomplished more than people think. Yes he got the Huskies into a bowl and a bowl win. He was a team leader, a great guy in the Locker room and more importantly a great attitude. When Jake Locker was sidelined for most of the 2008 season, It wasn't just Locker who went down with an injury, it was half of the offense. Jake Locker is one of those players that make the other players better on the field. He has definitely got a winning attitude back on the Huskies campus.

The best thing about the 19-7 win over Nebraska was the Huskies defense played like they were back in the Don James Era. When Don James was the coach from 1975 to 1992 , the Huskies had a very dominating defense. When Don James was the coach the Huskies defense allowed 40+ points only four times. However, since 2007 the Huskies have allowed 40+ points 14 times. If what we saw in the Holiday Bowl are signs of what to come than the Huskies have a bright future ahead of them.