Expert Analysis: The Cats and Dogs Edition

The Bootleg's "Expert Analyst - Guards," former lights-out shooting guard "roscoemaynard" (1984-89) offers up to the Stanford Hoops faithful his review and comments on the Cardinal guards as the team split a pair of games at home versus the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies. "Roscoe" also presents his thoughts before the team heads to Berkeley on Valentine's Day.

A shout out to the Ahlstroms, who brought their three week old Sadie to the Husky game on Sunday as an indoctrination in to all things holy and good in this world. By game's end, I was really hoping that Sadie learned the moral imperative of making free throws. I know that Maples may undergo a season ticket reseating this off-season. Let's start with season ticket holders who sell their tickets to Husky fans – there must have been a thousand Husky fans in our gym on Sunday – front-runners for sure, but replacing our front runners. I hate front-runners all the way around. I am sitting there Sunday up in my upper level seats with folks that that have been season ticket holders since the Reagan administration and Rich Kelley walks up past us into nose bleed territory to his seats – Rich Kelley? What other program in the country lets a guy (and it is admittedly Rich's low-key style) like Rich, an All-Conference player and an NBA starter, sit in nose bleeds. Does that happen in Pauley? Does that happen in McHale? That doesn't even happen in weenie pavilion. And there were plenty of empty seats lower down, if you know what I mean.

Let me go off some more. Caveat: I don't have a pot to pee in and I don't donate a lot, most years any, money to Stanford (I want to but I simply don't have the lettuce), so I love people that do break out the salad for Stanford. But come on people. The entire courtside seat section in front of the former 6th Dork Club (which is degenerating faster than the Mummy at the end of Brendan Fraser movie) up and bolts for the parking lot at the dead ball with 35 seconds left in the Husky game. Terrible. Embarrassing, and on TV?!? Put Rich down there, put Ed Schweitzer down there, put Mark Pitchford down there (wait, he is down there and he stayed), put Kent Seymour and Earl Koberlien down there. Get the bolters off the floor and in the low rows of the stands, so the cameras don't get obstructed by their stampede to the parking lot. It looks terrible on TV, it is embarrassing, and I don't want recruits seeing that because they don't see it when they watch Kansas play, or UCLA play, or the Dirty Heels play. And those are the guys we want to be recruiting against? Hell, pardon my French, but at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the doors are locked from the outside until after the horn sounds.

Guard play: geez. Great job guards against Wazzou. Nice defensive effort on Rochestie, and a great job of attacking him on the other end, making him work his butt off on both ends. We got him in a little foul trouble and attacked him when we did. It was meaningful to get former Door No. 1 reject Mike Harthun on the floor for him in the second half. Overall, I thought this was our best "little" things execution game of the season, even with a couple too many turnovers. John Platz and Coach Dawkins talked about this on the radio after the Wazzou game, but we really made the extra pass in this game. We really drove the ball strong into the paint, we attacked the right guys off the bounce, and we were patient with our offense. That is called trusting your offense, trusting your teammates, and finding the weak links defensively – namely anyone guarding Law Hill. But to heck with Wazzou, which was frankly a game we should win.
Let's instead talk about the second most disappointing loss of the year to the Huskies on Sunday. The OSU home loss was the worst loss of the year. We dumped our third home loss of the year in a winnable game against beatable opponent. A lot of folks may want to throw Mitch under the bus, but we can only play with guys on the team right now, and Mitch is far, far, far away our best point guard and this game amplified that for everyone to see. The difference in this game was that when we didn't have Mitch on the floor, we were severely disadvantaged, we couldn't get in to offense, and we couldn't guard. When UW didn't have Dentmon on the floor, they weren't disadvantaged at all. Sure, we cannot shoot 33% from the free throw line in the second half and 53% for a game and expect to win very often, but the reality is that Venoy Overton is a quality starting point guard in the Pac-10, and he comes off their bench and gets 11 points, three rebounds, five assists, and five steals in 27 minutes. He is lightening quick, increases their already high tempo, plays great defense, plays with confidence, and he flat out was the difference in the ball game in my opinion. He starts for at least seven other clubs in this conference. In fact, despite Thomas being very effective all game, Overton was probably their best guard all day. No one all year has been as good on Goods as Overton was, with the possible exception of Holiday at UCLA.

I thought Mitch and Anthony were solid in this game in the face of great pressure defense. The three-guard rotation for the Huskies and the interchangeable Holiday, Turner, Pondexter rotation affords the Huskies the ability to be relentless defensively. I thought they played better in this game than they did at home, particularly on defense. Goods I thought did a great job of attacking Dentmon, as did Mitch. Getting the conference's second leading scorer on the bench for over half the game was fantastic, heady basketball. Goods basically running over him in the second half to get the 4th foul on him was smart, aggressive basketball. I loved that, and then the next trip down, Mitch tried to take a charge and get his 5th foul and the ref blew the call. But, I loved that intelligence. I also thought that Goods did a great job driving the ball, it's just that UW's athletes helped and recovered very well. Law spotted up on many of those drives, but the openings didn't appear as they had against Wazzou. I thought the ball must have been too new, slippery, in this game. Anthony just had balls slip out of his hands, which hasn't been a problem for him in his career. Sometimes a ball gets chosen for a game that is too new, and maybe no one previewed the ball for this one, which is something both guards should do before every game. In fact, the point guard should be giving the ref the ball he wants used for the game. If it wasn't a slippery ball, then bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

And a big kiss to Jeremy Green, who came in off two bad outings, and really showed outstanding effort and fearlessness against great competition. 11 points, four rebounds, a nice block, and a nice steal in 16 minutes. That is sexy. Now, stop going for steals that you can't get. At least two bad gambles (think learning curve) resulted in easy buckets for the Huskies. You can't let guys like Pondexter get clear attacks in half-court offense – without shot blockers back there which we don't have. Jeremy got up ten shots in 16 minutes – that is David Moseley, Kris Weems type gunning off the bench. Love that attitude. But it begs the question, Anthony, why not shoot more? Lawrence, why not shoot more? Our two leading scorers took only 14 shots. Good defense yes, but don't help them out by lacking adequate aggression. There are positions and roles that each team has where it's better for the team to not shoot a lot, like Mitch and Josh, perhaps. But shooting guard and power forward this year are not those selfless roles – their job is to score, night in and night out. And since neither guy was getting double teamed, it is on them to get theirs because that is what is good for the team.

Anyway, winnable ball game in weenieville. We outplayed them in our gym, and I think we can outplay them in their gym. Christopher got off the schnide, or whatever that is, against Wazzou, but we have to come out aggressive and assertive against their backcourt this time, as we did last time. Mitch was great against the smurf in the first clash, and Goods was similarly strong against Christopher. Great matchups in this one. Bako, we simply have to win. Focus guys, be professional. Come out, get the job done, and start getting ready to steal one on the road in jealouswackotreehuggerhomelessfruitcakehugahybridnepotistictraitorville. There is such a fine line between winning and losing, we gotta start stepping over the line and stop tripping over it.

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