So, Robert Upshaw is gone. And for the time being Jernard Jarreau is still out. Shawn Kemp Jr. and Gilles Dierickx are the only scholarship bigs available for Wednesday's game. Things are about to get ugly on Montlake.
True freshman Donaven Dorsey will start at the four, leaving Kemp as the lone starting big. Dorsey's conditioning is questionable (though improving), and Kemp is prone to foul trouble, so expect lots of Mike Anderson at the four and Gilles Dierickx off the bench.
Darin Johnson, Dierickx, and Quevyn Winters are the only bench players unless Romar starts to dip in to the walk-ons.
Likely Starters: G Chasson Randle (Sr., 6-2, 185), G Marcus Allen (So., 6-3, 190), G/F Anthony Brown (Sr., 6-6 215), F Rosco Allen (Jr., 6-9, 220), C Stefan Nastic (Sr., 6-11, 245).
Key Bench Players: F Reid Travis (Fr., 6-8, 245), G Robert Cartwright (Fr., 6-2, 170), G Dorian Pickens (Fr., 6-5, 210), C Grant Verhoeven (Jr., 6-9, 245).
Stanford has been playing consistently good basketball since last playing Washington in early January: a 4-2 record with a double-overtime road loss to UCLA and a defeat at the hands of Arizona.
Chasson Randle has scored 20+ points for four straight games. Anthony Brown has been just as consistent as a second option, averaging around 19 points over that same stretch. There is no reason to believe either of them will perform below those averages.
Nastic, who will no longer have to deal with Upshaw in the post, is fresh off a 20-point performance against ASU on Sunday.
With that trio taking most of the shots, neither Marcus Allen nor Rosco Allen have made a huge statistical impact lately. Still, they've both been efficient with limited opportunities. Both Allens shoot over 45% from the field and 37% from three-point range.
You all likely saw what happened to UW's zone defense against Utah, another team with three talented scorers and several role-players capable of knocking down open shots. And that was before the news broke about Upshaw.
Also before Upshaw's departure: Stanford beating the Huskies 68-60 in overtime on January 4th.The venue may be flipped in Washington's favor, but the Huskies are simply critically depleted.
Upshaw completely anchored Romar's 2-3 zone. Kemp is plenty big, but he lacks Upshaw's outrageous length and has never been even an average shot blocker. That loss of rim protection will likely aid Stanford's shooting both below the basket and out on the perimeter, especially in the corners.
If I'm Coach Dawkins I focus on feeding the ball to Nastic early. If the veteran center can get two early fouls on Kemp he'll have a chance to go to work against Dierickx, who has managed to get himself posterized at least four times this season despite playing less than five minutes per game.
There's an element of mystery to this game in that there's a certain chance the Huskies fold in on themselves after losing arguably the team's best player at a critical moment in the season.
It's always possible that the team realizes the urgency of the 3-4 Pac-12 record and rallies in front of the home crowd. Dorsey, starting for the first time, could hit a few early threes. Andrews could get hot.
The offense, however anemic it may look for long stretches, has the potential to score 70-80 points if everything goes right. The problem is Washington's tendency to turn the ball over in bunches, not to mention the anchorless zone defense that might need to be mostly abandoned.
It would be awesome to see the Huskies keep this one competitive or even grind out a close win, but Stanford deserves to be favored by double digits until UW proves it can function post-Upshaw.
Stanford 77, Washington 61