Last night the Huskies advanced to the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament by dispatching Stanford with relative ease. The shooting wasn't great, but the Huskies were getting great looks inside and they started to fall. Eventually the game turned into a blowout and Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Darnell Gant punctuated the win with a few monster dunks.
Which brings us to Cal. I'm not sorry to say that this will be the last time we meet Cal's senior group, as I'm sure the entire conference will be happy to see them leave. Especially Jerome Randle.
Winning tonight would ease the minds of Husky fans everywhere, as it would give the Huskies the Pac-10's automatic bid. The consensus is that right now, the Huskies have secured one of the final at-large spots with Virginia Tech, Dayton and Mississippi losing yesterday, but when Houston beat UTEP today, an at-large vanished. If something crazy happens, like Miami winning the ACC tourney, then with a loss today the Huskies may be the team that everybody's talking about as #66. And the #1 seed in the NIT is not much of a consolation.
The Dawgs cannot afford another slow start, because unlike Oregon State and Stanford, Cal can bury you with their offense. Isaiah Thomas was lights out defending Jeremy Green last night, and he needs to prevent Randle from getting any good looks from 3. We saw a short leash on Abdul Gaddy last night, as he had a couple bad offensive possessions early last night. However, his defensive progress has really surprised me; earlier in the year he didn't move his feet quickly enough an had to play defense with his hands, causing him to foul. Last night in the first couple minutes he forced a turnover and made Landry Fields take a poor shot where Gaddy was in his face. The stakes are too high for him to be turning the ball over, but at least he's no linger a defensive liability, something that is huge against Cal because Gaddy is our tallest point guard, and we'll need him to match up with the 6-5 Patrick Christopher at some point in today's game.
Let's bring home a Pac-10 title.