Right now the Huskies are playing some inspired defensive basketball. Over the past 3 games opponents have been held to offensive efficiencies of 89.5, 77.2 and 89.7, and Oregon State is (to put it nicely) offensively challenged. They currently sit at 224th in the nation in Offensive Efficiency, and have just one player (Seth Tarver) who has an individual efficiency of over 100. By comparison, the Huskies have 8.
Oregon State turns the ball over a ton, which as we all know, is a big no-no when playing the Huskies. The Princeton style offense that Craig Robinson employs is predicated on precise passing and sharp cutting, and when you can't get the ball to your cutters you're going to struggle. Expect the Huskies to live in the passing lanes tonight, and if that means a couple of easy layups surrendered I'm sure coach Romar can live with that as long as turnovers are being forced.
The Beavers also run a 1-3-1 as well as a 2-3 zone. Lately the Huskies have done an excellent job of beating zones, and have a history of playing pretty well against the 1-3-1. This kind of zone is unique in that while it pressures the perimeter and wings more than other zones, it can also be vulnerable to dribble penetration, so Isaiah Thomas needs to be aggressive in attacking with the ball in his hands (not usually a problem).
And like any zone, defensive rebounding can often be an issue, so Quincy Pondexter and Matthew Bryan-Amaning need to step up and give the Huskies second chances.
As it stands right now, the Huskies are the 3rd seed in the Pac-10 for the conference tourney. WIth a win tonight, we clinch no worse than third. If we win and Arizona State loses (they play UCLA at home) we move into a tie for second with them, which we would break as a result of splitting with Cal (ASU was swept by Cal). So tonight root for UW to win (duh) and UCLA to beat Arizona State.
Should we capture the 2nd seed, that would match us up with Stanford as the standings sit right now. Stanford may be the best matchup for us in the first round, so that would work out pretty well.
With a loss tonight, if gets a little more fuzzy. If Arizona also loses, we still end up 3rd. But if Arizona wins and ASU loses Arizona would get the 3rd seed and we'd be dropped to 4, which would be a disaster scenario because it would put UW on the same side of the bracket as Cal.
The 2nd and 3rd seeds hold their primary value in avoiding the top seed until the finals, so lets win tonight and take care of that.
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