I've been putting off and putting off the basketball coverage. It's been something that I've been dreading doing. Don't get me wrong, I love writing about and following the Husky basketball program, but I've been struggling with coming up with a way to do it. A method. It feels like every way is old hat.
The tried and true fasion is to throw out the numbers of the competing teams, and compare them. This presents a couple of issues, the first being that numbers are really boring. You can look at them from every angle, put them into whatever computation device to gussy them up, and do it all over again only to realize that the numbers often don't tell the whole story. Something gets lost from the previous game to the spreadsheet and back out to the court. Turning what is (hopefully) an enjoyable experience into a digit has value, but it's not why we watch the games. Numbers do not entertain.
The second issue is that at this point there are no numbers to compare, so the whole thing is moot. Sure I could tell you that KenPom has Washington a 90% favorite to win, but his system is entirely based on numbers. Even with the numbers there typically isn't enough of a sample to have a ton of confidence in his projections until at least a third of the way through the year. Without the numbers all that percentage means is that Ken Pomeroy thinks that Washington is quite a bit better than Georgia State. Not exactly groundbreaking.
So we have an opener. And weird things can happen in openers. Teams haven't had time to work through their issues, and their warts can be magnified. UCLA can lose to LMU and Belmont can give Duke a run at Cameron (though Belmont isn't exactly a nobody and UCLA has gotten too much credit the past few years for being a somebody). Then people will overreact to these results, which is the approximate equivalent of judging a football team after the first quarter of its first game.
Georgia State, though, is not a particularly strong program. Their biggest win in many years was beating VCU, and they're in the same conference so they get their fair share of shots at them. It'll be new coach Ron Hunter's first game after running the IUPUI program for 17 years. His teams there were typically pretty pretty slow playing, with above average offenses and well below average defenses. This has typically been how Georgia State has played over the years as well, except calling the offenses above average would be to not understand the definition of "above".
With the exception of this paragraph, I'm going to try to never write about tempo, and Washington's need to play the game at their own rather than their opponents. We all know that's the case, and it doesn't need to be said before every game this year. Just about every team in the country plays slower than the Huskies, and if they play slower than they'd like to their performance is probably going to suffer. There, it's said. Let's move on.
I think I watched a Ron Hunter IUPUI team play in the NCAA's once many moons ago, and based off of that I think I remember that that they played man or zone defense, so the Huskies will need to hit open shots and create transition opportunities to win comfortably. Analysis! In all seriousness, Romar's crew should have no trouble in this one as long as they don't channel their inner UCLA. The youth may be frustrating at times, but the talent on the roster is undeniable, so expect the Dawgs to play an exciting brand of ball that can put points up in bunches when they get in a groove.