Welcome to Part 2 of the Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was blog.
Fast Paced Destruction and the Dawgs are Dancin’ in the Sweet 16
Well staying up until 7 a.m. assured that I’d probably be sleeping until the U-Dub game at 2:50 p.m…. and sure enough. Well I actually got up at noon, but the hours I was awake from noon until the game started pretty much didn’t count for life. But what it did was get me mentally prepared for the ensuing game. Let’s face it, I almost peed in my pants in the game against Marquette, and the only reason I didn’t is because I was doing some crazy version of meditative deep breathing so my heart didn’t fall out of my chest. I wasn’t really sure if I could handle another one of those games, especially with the heartburn from the 12 eggs crammed with chili I had mere hours ago. Thankfully I didn’t have to keep my heart in check.
In reality the game (if you could call it that) between the University of Washington and New Mexico could be summed up in two words: DAWG DOMINATION! But I’ll still give a quick recap and opinions on it.
The Lobos started pretty much where Marquette left off, draining 3s. That lasted all but five minutes. After that the throttle was down and the Dawgs were run-ning (said in a Forrest Gump tone). What New Mexico, Marquette, hopefully the rest of the teams the Dawgs face, and announcers have failed to realize is that we run. We run well. As evidenced by this statement during the game, “If you like teams that run. Watch Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies.” But the boat they really miss is that it all stems from our sticky defense. Announcers and commentators are quick to dismiss that fact, and you know what I’m happy for it. Yes, Romar recruits athletic offensive weapons but he prides himself on his team’s defense. We’ve been doubted all season. Don’t stop now haters, keep doubting… A trait from someone from Washington is that we collect the chips on our shoulders and turn it into a fortified castle.
On to the game. The first half saw Isaiah Thomas again lighting it up from beyond the arc. I’ve been so impressed with IT’s first halves this tournament, mostly because he’s a second half player. He’s not known for his outside shooting, but once he feels it, all bets are off (unless you’re betting on the Huskies, then your bet is on).
I was also proud of Abdul Gaddy getting in some good shots early. A lot of people crack on Gaddy for not living up to the hype. One thing I should reinforce is that he was 17 coming in. Gaddy’s ceiling is unlimited if he chooses to adhere to Coach Romar’s tutelage and works for it. I’ve been talking a lot about how the Huskies haven’t reached their potential yet. It would be hard for people to believe that with their run the past month and a half. But seeing how Gaddy is their starting point guard and I know he’s yet to hit his frosh peak, there is still more this club can achieve.
I don’t know what else to say about Elston Turner, other than, he is my DUDE. The way this guy has grown up in the past three games is perfect timing. Defenses love to play zone against the Huskies, daring them to shoot the three. While I’m tentative to give IT the green light, the green light is solidly on for Turner. His clutch outside shooting is making teams rethink their zone.
And as soon as that zone breaks down the penetration from Quincy Pondexter, IT, and Venoy Overton (still makes me nervous when he drives) becomes overwhelming. Not to mention the middle presence Matthew Bryan-Amaning is displaying these days. The first half of the New Mexico game was the first half that us die-hard Husky fans knew they were capable of.
The sick D was on display with monster blocks (which even Justin Holiday got in the action of), thieving steals, and guarding the 3. The Dawgs made their open shots and did not forget about driving to the hoop and posting up in the paint. Are there still any doubters left? I believe so… but like I said, you’d be ill advised to think so.
All I have to say about the second half is that the Dawgs displayed a killer instinct they were lacking in the PAC-10 championship game. The game against Marquette the Dawgs showed heart. The game against New Mexico, the Dawgs showed that even lovers have a killer instinct. Instead of relaxing (though they did slightly at the beginning of the first half), they smelled blood and went in for the kill. These tournament games are justifying the pre-season polls having U-Dub in the top 15. Also justifying that although the PAC-10 was down, the top team is not to be taken lightly. Postgame commentary, “The Huskies are repping the PAC-10.” The Dawgs are winners of 9 straight and on a serious tear right now. I’m not going to be a complete Husky Homer, but 4 more wins would have this guy in tears. Seriously.
There was only one thing I really wanted to see in the New Mexico game. This may come off as a bit racist, but it’s plain truth. U-Dub has one white guy on their bench, Brendan Sherrer. Not to take anything away from Sherrer, but when he’s on the floor the game is on lock. The game was on lock pretty much after the first ten minutes of the game, meaning a Sherrer appearance at the end of the game. He had a great look at the hoop and was fouled… Icing on the cake would’ve been for Sherrer to hit one of his free throws. Sadly, that was not the case, and my perfect game was spoiled.
Sunday it was realized that U-Dub would play a very formidable West Virginia University Mountaineer team. In my opinion WVU is the best team remaining in the tournament. I’m not going to make any bold predictions, but should the Huskies do what I stated in the previous paragraph, be on notice Elite 8; the Dawgs are going to seriously be dancing.
Some things that must be addressed going into the WVU game. The outside shoots may or may not be there, the truth is that the outside shooting hasn’t been great all season. But the fact remains that Turner and Scott Suggs are designated assassins. If they get open looks and do their jobs, throats will be slashed. The Dawgs MUST keep penetrating on offense and posting up, if anything that will allow the outside shooters to get open looks. So when WVU’s vaunted D and zone comes hopefully it’s there, but the perimeter guys must work to find the openings. WVU is no joke. All my talk of U-Dub’s sticky D is easily challenged by WVU’s stymie defense. It will be a battle of the defenses, the Dawgs MUST keep up their D. The Dawgs MUST nab boards on both sides of the floor. Too many times against New Mexico the Lobos had easy access to the rebound. Too many times the closest Dawg to the ball was just standing there. Look if you’re not gonna snag the board, at least box out.
I hate to see anyone get injured in sports, even if it’s an opponent. But one thing that is going to help U-Dub is that WVU’s starting point guard Tuck Bryant is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot he sustained in practice. With the way the Dawgs play D, it’s essential for the opponent to have a solid ball handler, which Bryant is. The backup Joe Mazzula is solid in his own right, and I’m sure Coach Huggins will have him dialed in by the game tomorrow. But Mazzula doesn’t have the offensive game that Bryant has. Devin Ebanks and Butler will remain beastly, but the point guard play of WVU will be something worth noting.
And this is the last and most important thing for the Dawgs. Keep your heart. West Virginia is no joke. It would be easy to keep your swagga on blast after the New Mexico game, but there’s a reason 80% of this country (myself included) and WVU themselves believed they should have had a number one seed. There is undoubtedly going to be times during the game where the Mountaineers will be up and possibly up big or if the outside shot is not raining like it has been… But Dawgs remember you were 15 down with 13:30 left against Marquette. Marquette is no West Virginia, but they are a scrappy team. Show heart Dawgs. On the same token, if you find yourselves up, go for the kill like you did against New Mexico… I’m just saying if De’Sean Butler has an opportunity for a buzzer beater, he’s probably going to make it.
Back To College
This weekend was apparently filled with too many instances of college life. My friend was having a birthday party at her house (the same house I found myself at on St. Patrick’s Day) in a place that we can only describe as a mythical oasis. I swear Parkland exists only if you want it to, you travel on a highway heading East, but the name says 512 West. I also told my friend, the only way that I was going to go to this party was that if U-Dub won. U-Dub Dawgy styled the Lobos, so… Sky, the hommie Jr, and I found ourselves heading to a birthday party… a birthday party with a bunch of college kids.
So what do you do as an experienced college party vet, you bring a bottle of Crown Royal with every intention to down it so you either feel like a college kid or if a college kid tries to puke on you, you can puke back even stronger. I’m not going to get too far into detail about the party, it was a typical college party though. And I found myself actually enjoying it (apparently I haven’t grown up yet). I mean there was food, generally nice kids, music… and I finished the bottle of Crown in 45 minutes.
You know time was a blur at this point. Between encouraging these kids to partake in a few U-Dub chants (this was not a U-Dub college party), making fun of some “serious” dialogs, learning and subsequently forgetting people’s names, and laughing with Jr. at the randomness around us… the old age kicked in and it was time to bust out. Probably at the right time for the Panda, as I probably said, “I’m gonna puke” about 40 times (but being the pro that I am never did). And yes, this time a stop at Jack in the Box was in order.
Lazy Ass Sunday
As if I had not ruined my insides enough this weekend. After being an absolute sloth on the couch and watching yet another round of NCAA tournament games, the hommies and I had the brilliant idea to order Chinese food. Actually it was brilliant at the time, because apparently I was on a schedule of eating once a day during the weekend and 12 eggs, a Jack in the Box run, and a solid breakfast at Endoylne Joe’s I was hungry. When the food finally arrived, it came in a large cardboard box. Damn… and that’s pretty much how this college infused weekend went. And the consequences of it, I got a lot of reading done in the bathroom on Monday.
And there you have it… The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was.