Hey this is The Classic Crime here again with a writeup about the Dawgs game versus the Cal Bears. I did one previous FanPost about the game versus Marquette. Due to a variety of reasons I have been unable to watch any games since, much to my chagrin, that includes the game versus the Cougs. I am going to steal from fellow SB Nation blog Field Gulls and use their post-game report "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". Thanks Danny! And also thanks to this t-shirt.
The Huskies again got off to a slow start that has plagued us all season. We did play much better once the second half got going, but we have been absolutely killed in the first half of games and if gives us a massive hole we must dig ourselves out of. This game was no different, the halves were night and day. I do not understand what could be causing this but the coaching staff still has mounds of work to do if they want this team to show any sort of consistency.
One note before I continue: I liked what little I saw from Hikeem Stewart. He looked decisive with his passing and held his own on defense whenever I was watching him.
- Aziz N'Diaye: This is one of the best games I have seen from him offensively. He was decisive with the ball in his hands and was strong whenever he went to the rim. I really want to emphasize how strong he went to the rim. It is rare to see him dunk in traffic, and he got an and one on a dunk attempt tonight. That really impressed me. He finished with a very strong 14 points and 12 rebounds. I noticed when he was on the left block and receive a post entry, he immediately went for a right-handed spin-hook. This is a move that has developed since he first started here and has become integral to his success. I remember also seeing him throw in a few shimmy moves in past games. We were eaten alive inside however, and I am left to wonder how much of this could be attributed to Aziz not being a force this game. Cal did have good passing all night long though, but more on that later.
- Abdul Gaddy: He has found ways to work around the explosiveness he lost when he tore his ACL. His dribble moves have been nothing short of spectacular. He glides between defenders not by explosiveness, but by placing the ball exactly where it needs to go. Almost the exact opposite of Tony Wroten. Wroten simply blows bast you with extreme quickness; Gaddy sets the defender up then sneaks his way past. He knifes through the defense with precision. Tonight also he was making some very nice plays in the lane. Not only was he getting to the rim with what seemed like relative ease, he made passes that split defenders and landed right on the money for open looks, but didn't always fall tonight or just weren't put up.
- Desmond Simmons: Simmons has consistently made hustle play after hustle play. Offensive rebounds and solid defense. This is your standard "glue guy." He doesn't light up the stat sheet, doesn't light up the scoreboard, but teams need a guy like this to be successful. He sets good screens and plays solid help defense. Simmons has grown on me.
- Ball Movement: At the end of the first half the Huskies had a total of one assist. One. Assist. That is absolutely unacceptable. It really picked up in the second half, which is the only reason I did not put this in the "Ugly" category. I praised Gaddy for his passing today, yet he tallied only two assists, tied for the team lead with Wroten. Lorenzo Romar's halfcourt "offense" does not rely on ball movement in the least. All it really involves is staggered screens in order to attempt to isolate a wing player, or maybe set one up for a three. This is painful to watch especially when the Huskies go against a team like Cal who is predicated on quick ball movement that absolutely ate us alive all night. The quick passes allowed them to get the ball inside. This is one thing this team lacks offensively. They need offensive sets that involve more than two or three passes.
- Rebounding: This is a team that should be outrebounding every oppponent. We have multible guards that can rebound, and we have Gant, Simmons, and N'Diaye in the middle. We have to outrebound our opponent. not lose the battle 35-30. We grabbed nine offfensive boards, which isn't terrible, but should and could be so much better. We gave up eleven rebounds which could stand for improvement itself.
- Darnell Gant: Gant shot 0-9. That is equal to our three-point shooting in the first half. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm pretty sure if future me was just watching present me he would just laugh at my futility. Bad future me!! Gant did grab the board that gave Ross a second chance for a three late, so I can't be too hard on him, especially considering that he easily took this loss harder than anybody else on the UW sideline. He still played solid defense but grabbed only a pair of rebounds. This was easily his worst game of the season and I honestly feel sorry for him.
- Defensive Rotations: Against a team that passes like Cal defensive rotations are key. This is not a strength of this Husky team, and tonight Cal took advantage. We couldn't rotate to keep up with the passing. This allowed for way too many inside passes, as our defense was too busy trying to recover and Cal hit us with a quick pass inside, which led to a career high of sixteen points for Robert Thurmond.
- Transition Defense: This team does not get back in transition. What I have noticed is that we always have our point get back to either the three point or foul line, which is okay, as the ball has to be stopped at some point, but the most important part of transition defense is protecting the rim, which we have nobody back to do. Too often I see either Kemp or Simmons sprinting back in order to attempt a chasedown block when there is a quick pass from the top of the key to somebody who made it all the way down the court with nobody in front of him. I do not know if this is Romar's tendency to have wings crash or some other issue, but all I know is that it has to be solved.
- Three Point Shooting: This team could not get a clean shot at a three to save their collective lives. Ross had very few halfway decent looks that he decided to put up anyways, and I don't blame him! They were the best shots he was going to get, so he had to take the shot. First half, if memory serves me, 0-9. Let that sink in. Zero for Nine.
This was a winnable game that I am sad to see that the Dawgs were unable to come out of with a W. I saw a few bright spots but they were overshadowed by the flaws this team shows over and over again.