Coach's Corner

All right, so I'm getting greedy. I can't help it but something tells me that if the Huskies can pull off a sweep over California and Stanford that it could be the start of something beautiful. It all starts this week in the Bay Area. Two nice showings with "W's" to show, and then a successful run in the Pac-10 Tourney could very well give the Dawgs a number one seed in the big dance.

Ok. You can pinch me and tell me this isn't a dream now. Tell me that my original thought of a number two seed will be more like it.

However, It IS possible, and the higher your seed, the better your chances to survive through the tournament. If I'm not mistaken the tournament still heavily favors the favorites with last year Championship round having three number one seeds appearing in the Final Four.

If the Huskies sweep Stanford and Cal and then go undefeated in the Pac-10 tournament, there is little doubt that they would have proven themselves to be the top college basketball team in the western part of the country.

Normally that doesn't mean a whole lot unless you are UCLA or Arizona, but the Dawgs have a championship in the Great Alaska Shootout under their belts. They would also have a sparkling 25-4 record to go along with the title of Pac 10 Champions.

They also beat Utah, who is currently ranked above them. Their RPI could be in the top five by then, and they would certainly have a lot of confidence because they'd have won 9 of their last 10 contests.

It's kind of scary to think about, isn't it? Smart money says you don't worry about it anyway. Just play them one at a time and take care of business.

This Thursday's business is a visit to the Hass Pavilion and into the Golden Bears' den. I think that it's great that the Dawgs are playing California first this week, because that will get their attention. The way they were able to barely squeak past the Bears in Seattle will be remembered. Washington will know that they must give it 100% for 48 minutes. But they are the more talented team.

Stanford is the better of the two Husky opponents, and even without their best player, Dan Grunfeld, they have lots of size inside. If there is one area where the Huskies get into trouble, it's facing height. Washington has problems matching up inside and playing post defense without help from outside sagging in. It would really be cool if the Dawgs had a legit big inside, but they don't, so the time to worry about that is gone. They are who they are, and they rebound well because of their quickness and because Mike Jensen does the little things that go unnoticed (like blocking out and putting a body on the other bigs). They cannot play taller than they are, so they'll stick with what's got them this far – superior speed and athleticism.

On offense, these Huskies of Lorenzo Romar's push it right down your throat. They try to run the opponents right out of the gym. Yet the last two games they have shown that they can be a "defense first" oriented team. This is important to note, as it is what cost them last year in round 1 against Alabama-Birmingham. Washington's offense was fine but they could not stop the Blazers from running it up. When you score 100 points and lose, it's not your offense that let you down.

Now it's time to buckle down and not let either of these next two games get away. A sweep of the Bay area schools would be a huge momentum builder for ending the season.

I think they will draw Oregon State for the tourney opener, and that would give them an excellent opportunity to get revenge. There is no doubt that the Huskies would be ready to avenge that loss. But that's two games away.

Let's just hope they stay jacked for these next two. They have come so far in the last two years. There can be no let down. They have set the table for themselves, and now they only have to feast.

This whole season has been absolutely wonderful for the Husky faithful. Sold out games, a lot of television exposure, a lot of national attention, and now the great expectations of the tourney will soon be upon us.

Heaven Help the Foes of Washington.


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