Sunday, February 27, 2011

Arizona Loss Opens Door for Huskies

When the Washington Huskies basketball team started their season in mid November, they had high expectations. One of those expectations included winning the Pac 10 regular season title. In fact, the Huskies came into the season as overwhelming favorites to win the Pac 10 regular season title, 34 out of 36 media voters even picked the Huskies to win the regular season title.

However, inconsistent play in late January to early February put the Huskies in a deep hole to meet that expectation. With UCLA's 71-49 upset over the Wildcats today the Huskies still have a flicker of hope of grabbing that #1 seed in the Pac 10 tournament.  That would be something the Huskies have only done one time in school history. The Huskies have won the regular season title more than one time but in those years there was no Pac 10 Tournament.

Personally, I would be very surprised if the Huskies caught  Arizona. Arizona will have to lose once at home for the Huskies to catch the Wildcats. The last time Arizona lost at home was February 21 2010 against Arizona State.

Nevertheless, the next three games are really important to Washington because of their RPI. According to the Huskies RPI is 36. A teams RPI can go higher with quality wins or drop down with bad losses. Losing games at home most of the time are bad losses. Therefore, it's important that the Huskies take care of business tonight.

The Huskies opponent tonight is the Washington State Cougars. The Cougars have gone in the wrong direction following their 87-80 beat down of Washington in Pullman on January 30th. The Cougars come into the game with a 17-10 record and are 7-8 in the Pac 10. If Washington State wants to have a slim hope of getting an at large bid they must win three in a row to end the season. Remember, no team has ever got an at large bid with a below 500. record.

I'm not sure if Klay Thompson found his Ipod last week, but if the Cougars are going to upset the Huskies today Klay Thompsom will have to find his game in Seattle. In his two career games in Seattle he has a total of 16 points.  He will have to carry his team to victory and likely score 20+ points if the Cougars want a realistic shot to win tonight.

My Pick.... 

The Washington Huskies have have been a very dominating team at home this year and I don't expect that to change. Even thou the Cougars are a good basketball team, they don't have the depth to keep up with Washington. With Washington's fast pace style a play they should be able to ware down Ken Bone's Washington State team. Furthermore, the Huskies will feed off the energy of the home crowd on their way to a 89-74 win.

The game starts at 7pm and is on FSN.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Will Seattle Ever Get an NBA Team Again?

Its been almost three years since the Seattle Super Sonics played their last game and if you ask any sports fan in Seattle they would love to have their team back.

The Super Sonics touched a lot of peoples lives from 1967-2008. (41 years) A team that won six Division Titles, three Conference Titles and one NBA Title. The team touched a lot of people because it was the first professional sports team in Seattle. It was before the Mariners, Seahawks and the Don James years of Washington Huskies football and the city needed something to get excited about.

However, in 2006 the city of Seattle was in jeopardy of losing their team. The team was in jeopardy because Key Arena contract was almost up and needed to be settled or the team would move to Oklahoma City. The city was unable to reach an agreement to provide funding for upgrades on Key Arena and the team was sold to an Oklahoma City Businessman named Clatyton Bennett. He bought the team for 350 Million dollars and after the 2008 season moved the team to Oklahoma City.

Now almost three years later the city of Seattle is pushing to get the NBA back in the city of Seattle. Personally, I think Seattle deserves an NBA team but there is only one problem. Seattle still has no arena. In the week leading up to last Sunday's All Star game in LA, there was lots of speculation that their might be a few teams might be on the move in a few years. A few cities have showed interest including Seattle, Vancouver, Kanas City, Anaheim and Las Vegas.

The reason for some of the teams moving is because of attendance. A good handful of teams this year are averaging 13 to 14 thousand fans a game. You can view the attendance chart here.

If I could predict the future, I would say that one or two teams will have to relocate in the next two-four years. This could get some people excited but it's only a reality again if Seattle gets a new arena deal.

There has also been reports that a couple of teams will also need a new arena deal in their city soon. Those cities include Sacramento and New Orleans. There has been some interesting news in Vancouver (my home town) in the past week about the Vancouver Canucks owners have been interested in bringing the NBA back to Vancouver. Vancouver has been without a NBA team for almost a decade and might have a leg up on Seattle as Vancouver has an arena, which was re-done prior to the 2010 Olympics in 2007.

If you want to read the story about Vancouver wanting a NBA team, click here.

The bottom line is this. If Seattle wants to get a NBA team back to their city they will have to get an arena deal. As it stands right now, there are too many cities looking to get an NBA team. Seattle would be a great place to put a team if they get the support. However, these things don't happen overnight and I think Seattle or any other city is at least two-four years from getting a new team.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Huskies Battle Wildcats in Pac 10 Showdown

The Washington Huskies will look to close the gap in the Pac 10 standings today when they collide with 13th ranked Arizona in Tucson. 

Arizona has a 1.5 game lead on the Huskies and an Arizona win would decrease Washington's chances significantly. In contrast, if Washington is able to go into a hostile environment like the McKale Center, the Huskies would be right back in the race for the Pac 10 Regular season title. 

If the Huskies find away to win the Pac 10 Regular Season Title they will face some adversity. In the Huskies 79-62 win over Arizona State, shooting guard Scott Suggs sprained his MCL. His injury will likely ignite Vernoy Overton into the starting lineup. Overton is averaging 5.7 points per game and is a great lock down defender.  

Arizona comes into the game 22-4 and 11-2 in the Pac 10. The Wildcats are currently on a seven game winning streak and are fresh off a 79-70 win over Washington State. In that game Arizona's Derrick Williams scored 26 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assists. If Washington wants to pull off the upset, they will have to keep Williams in check. 

Today's game will also go a long way to determine this years Pac 10 player of the year. The two most deserving candidates are Isaiah Thomas of Washington and Derrick Williams of Arizona. If I had to pick a winner right now it would be Isaiah Thomas. When I look at these types of awards I ask myself what team would suffer more without that player? The answer has to be Isaiah Thomas. The Huskies faced a lot of adversity when Abdul Gaddy went down with a season ending injury. 

Here is another good reason why Thomas is a better choice then Williams: Stats from Pac 10 play.
Isaiah Thomas Stats:         Matthew Bryan Amaning Stats                         Derrick Williams Stats
18.1 PPG                                       17.7 PPG                                                            19 PPG
7.1 Assists                                        9.1 Rebounds per game                                    9.1 Rebounds
1.3 Steals                                           1.7 Blocks per game                                         0.4 blocks per game

The chart clearly shows that all three players are very even. However, if Derrick Williams is in the race for Pac 10 player of the year then why isn't Matthew Bryan Amaning in the race. Derrick Williams is a great player but can't be compared to Isaiah Thomas. Thomas makes his teammates on the floor better and finds them for open jumpers at a consistent rate.  

Washington has not beat Arizona on the road since March 4th, 2006. If the Huskies are going to win today they will have to keep their composer at all times and stay out of foul trouble. Arizona is  undefeated at home and this will be the Huskies toughest road game of the year. In the end I see the Huskies coming up short toady. They will play really well but lose 90-86 in Overtime. 

The game is on ESPN at 3:00pm 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Super Bowl Grades

The Super Bowl has come and gone and once again, we have our world Champion. The Green Bay Packers are this years 2010-2011 Super Bowl Champions.

Green Bay Packers season A+

 If I was to give the Green Bay Packers a grade for their season it would have to be an A+. The Packers finished 14-6 and showed in the last few weeks of the season and in the playoffs they could play with any team anywhere. On December 19th, 2010 the Packers played the Patriots in Foxboro. Not only did the Packers compete with the Pats for four quarters. They competed with the Pats without Super MVP Aaron Rogers.

Also, a 10-6 season does not look that impressive. In fact, I doubted they would make the playoffs after their embarrassing 7-3 loss to the Lions on December 12th. This team faced more adversity then any other team in the league. All of their six losses were by four points or less. (two in OT) Don't forget this team had more injuries then most teams would get in two years.

Super Bowl Atmosphere c+ 

This is a tough category to give a grade on because of all the ice and snow. However, when I was watching some of the pregame show it looked like the fans were having fun. During media day I read an article that said it kinda felt like a carnival. Carnival or not. The ice and snow was definitely enough to put a dent in some peoples experience. For me, the ice and snow would of added to the experience but maybe that's because I'm from Canada. If you didn't like the festivities outside there was always Mavericks basketball games and Dallas Stars hockey games to go to if you were in the Fort Worth area last week.

National Anthem F- 

Let me start off by saying that the National Anthem was horrible. Christina Aguilera is a five time Grammy award winner and preformed Game 7 of the NBA Finals last year. For her to miss a line in the National Anthem is inexcusable. In Fact, I know the words to the American Anthem and I don't even live in the states. She sung the song way to slow and it was not smooth at all.

Halftime Show A-
In contrast, I thought that the Black Eyed Peas halftime show was really good. They played a lot of good songs at the right times of the concert. For me, the Black Eyed Peas would never disappoint me. I also really enjoyed the lights show that went on during the music. The only bad thing about the show was that it was too short.

Super Bowl Game B- 
For me the game will go down as one of the better games I have seen. Even thou it was 21-3 Green Bay at one point in the game, I knew that the Steelers would have an answer. I was right. For most of the second half the game was still in the balance. Green Bay was getting injuries and the Steelers were making the adjustments necessary to put some points on the board. However, the game will never be viewed as an all time classic because of all the great finishes we have had in the past ten years.

Officiating B 
The Officials I thought did a very good job. Over the course of the game I thought there was a lot of good no calls. Sometimes when we break down a game we forget that the officials are human and make mistakes. Of course there were some calls that I felt were bad, but generally the officials did a good job. They definitely did a better job then in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.

Super Bowl Staff  D+
The Super Bowl Staff gets a D+ for me. It is joke for a 100 thousand seat stadium to put extra seating in the building and not have it completed in time. However, the Super Bowl staff did make the best out of the situation. The 400 people that weren't able to see the game will get to go to a Super Bowl of their choice in the future. If I was one of the 400 people that got ripped off I would be mad but once I found out what I will  get in return I would look at the bright side.

Overall Super Bowl in 2011 C+ 
I would give the Super Bowl a C+ this year. Was it the best experience ever? No. Was it the Worst experience ever? No. In the end the Super Bowl will come back to Dallas. Even thou they screwed up in a few areas this time around, Dallas is too big of a football market to be left out. Furthermore, with Cowboy Stadium such a sate of the arc stadium, Dallas will surely get another chance to redeem themselves in the future.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Huskies Play First Game at New Matthew Knight Arena

The Washington Huskies will try to stop a short two game losing streak when they take on the Oregon Ducks today.

  The Huskies however, have won two in a row in Eugene and will look to make it three. The last two Huskies wins in Eugene was at McArthur Court which was home to the Oregon Ducks from 1926 to 2010.  Despite, Washington's recent success at McArthur Court the Huskies will have to win in an odd environment at new Matthew Knight Arena.

Before you pickup the phone to phone your eye doctor because you think your eyes are bad. When you read this, you have to  realize this is the design of new Matthew Knight Arena. The unique court has the College basketball world buzzing. Personally, I think it is ugly but  what's new I think everything Oregon is ugly. On the other hand I think it's a good thing for College Basketball. Oregon has established some home court advantage. A home court advantage that you would only find in Boise State with their blue turf or Eastern Washington with their red turf.

Matthew Knight Arena opened on January 13th against USC. Oregon won that game 68-62. The Ducks are coming off a 69-43 win against Washington State and are 2-1 in their new court. Matthew Knight Arena is also the second biggest arena in College Basketball.

For the Huskies to get the win today they will have to shoot a lot better from three point range. In the Huskies recent two game skid they have shot 20-60 from three point range. Also, the Huskies big three players in Isaiah Thomas,  Matthew Bryan Amaning and Justin Holiday have shot 17-64 combined.

The Huskies lead the series 184-103 and have won 11 out of their last 14 meetings. Oregon is 11-11 on the year and 4-6 in the Pac 10. For Oregon to pull of the upset today they will likely play a Zone defense that should confuse the Huskies. The Huskies have done poorly against a zone defense all year. Their lack of ball movement and settling for outside jumpers way too often is a concern of mine. Consequently, when Scott Suggs is your teams leading scorer in a game likely things have gone from bad to worse.

All that said, I think the Huskies will get the job done today. The Huskies will need to almost run the table the rest of the way to win the Pac 10 regular season title. If the Huskies play the way they can today the Huskies should win easy. Oregon doesn't have the depth nor the athletes Washington has to compete for the whole game. I believe the Huskies will play smart and play with emotion and the Huskies will win 72-57.  Look for Terrence Ross to have a monster game today. His 25 points led all scores in the Huskies 87-69 in on January 6th. the last time these two teams met.