Well, the Dawgs got past the first round against a very scrappy Montana team that played well. It was a good opening round win, and one that the Dawgs should be able to build on.
No panic here. And no looking for negatives in a first round win in the big dance as far as I'm concerned. Better to enjoy the dance and look forward to the next song.
Now comes Pacific, the #8 seed in the Albuquerque region, and victors over #9 Pittsburgh. The Tigers have gotten past the first round for the second season in a row, something the Huskies cannot say.
Click here for a great Pacific message board site. JD Fox (AKA: Laparka316) is a Pacific Hoops expert and provides excellent commentary on the Tiger hoops team. Apologies to Mr. Fox for this link not being present in the original version of this preview. Much of what follows was posted by him on the basketball board.
The Tigers shot 50% from the field (6th in nation) during the regular season, and connected at a 38% clip from 3-pt range. And if you get behind late on this team, it spells trouble, as the Tigers convert 74.6% of their free-throws.
This Tiger team is legit, no matter how small of a conference they play in. A win over the Tigers is a good win, regardless of how it comes. Not many schools beat them this year, as evidenced by their stellar 27-3 record.
Pacific is similar to Washington in that they have six to seven players that can beat you and go into double figures scoring. They run a hi-low set most of the time and excel out of time outs in set-plays. Coach Bob Thomason knows which buttons to push for the Tigers when they need a hoop.
On defense, expect the Tigers to mix man-defenses with 1-2-2 zones with equal aplomb, and can trap the entire floor when they feel like it. However, don't expect a great deal of that against the quicker Huskies on Saturday. If they try to press the Huskies, it will play right into the Dawgs' hands, as Lorenzo lives for the transition game.
One key statistic for Husky fans to pay attention to is that Pacific has made more free throws (458) than their opponents have attempted (404).
Tip-off is at approximately 1:20pm local Albuquerque time (which translates to roughly 12:20 Seattle time).
Here are the likely starters that Washington will face from Pacific:
PG David Doubley 6'1" Sr Oakland CA 12.4 pts, 3.9 apg
The Conference Player of the Year in the Big West, Doubley is a terrific three point shooter (43%), and when he gets to the line, he's automatic (90%). His biggest asset is the ability to hit a clutch basket down the stretch. Will Conroy will draw the defensive duties on Doubley.
SG Marko Mihailovic 6'5" Sr Pacific Palisades CA 5.7 pts, 2 apg
As an Honorable Mention All Conference pick, Mihailovic uses his size well and is a real stopper on defense. He can hurt you from long range, as he hit 31 treys, and lead the Tigers in scoring in two games this year. Washington's Nate Robinson may have a difficult time dealing with his size, but will have quickness and experience advantage over Marko. The Huskies may go to Trey Simmons to defend him because of his height.
SF Jasko Korajkic 6'7" Sr Jonkoping Sweden 8 pts, 4.8 rpg
Another Honorable Mention All Conference pick, Korajkic likes to slash on offense, much like Brandon Roy. He likes to get to the basket and then score with good body control. As most Europeans, he has nice range all the way out to three-point land. Jasco had nine boards against Pittsburgh in round 1, so Bobby Jones will need to get a body on him or he'll hurt the Dawgs on the glass.
PF Christian Maraker 6'9" Jr Varburg Sweden 13.2 pts 6.3 rpg
Named First Team All Big West for the second straight year, and was also named to the USWBA All District 9 team along with Tre Simmons and Nate Robinson. Maraker is the Tigers go-to guy. He is very legitimate. A European-honed game, he can score with his back to the basket, or from long range. He can bust a zone or establish low-post position and eat you alive inside. Mike Jensen will be asked to stick to him like white on rice. Maraker shoots over 50% from the field and 83% from the charity stripe. He's got experience, as a member of Swedish National Team, he played in Euro Championships in the Summer of 03, guarding Dirk Nowitski and Pau Gasol when Sweden played Germany and Spain.
C Guillaume Yango 6'8" Sr Paris France 13.1 pts, 7.3 rpg
He was named a First Team All BW pick despite not even starting on his JUCO team. He is an athletic post player, who can also bang inside, much like Jensen. He is the inside presence for the Tigers, and is adept at catching passes with his soft hands and scoring in the paint. Dawgs may want to front him. He is the one guy that could really hurt Washington.
Tyler Newton 6'10" Sr Burbank CA 7.3 pts, 4.6 rpg
Plays the three, four, and five. He is a strong finisher at the rim and explosive. Washington has the quickness to negate him, however.
Johnny Gray 6'1" Jr Agoura Hills CA 3.8 pts, 1 apg, 1 rpg
A legitimate threat from long range, Gray shoots nearly 50% from three-point range. He has not missed a single free throw this season. Not the guy you want to foul late in a game. He'll run the point when he's in the game.
Matt Kemper 6'9" Sr Fresno CA 3.8 pts, 2 rpg
Once the star of this team, now a role player. His reputation is that of a pure face up shooter. He does hit from long range at 46%. He's very streaky. Dawgs can get inside his head and probably will.
Mike Webb 6'1" Jr Lancaster CA 5.1 ppg
Pittsburgh really was hurt by Webb's three-point barrage, going four for four. He hit an amazing 119 three's in JuCo last year. Not known as a defender, but isn't on the floor for that purpose. If Washington doesn't get out to challenge him on the perimeter, he'll make ‘em pay. Look for Conroy and Robinson to be aware of where Webb is at all times.
LIKELY HUSKY STARTERS:
F Mike Jensen 6-9 junior
F Bobby Jones 6-6 junior
G Tre Simmons 6-5 senior
G Nate Robinson 5-8 junior
G Will Conroy 6-2 senior
KEY BENCH PLAYERS:
F Brandon Roy 6-6 junior
C Hakeem Rollins 6-7 senior
G Joel Smith 6-5 freshman
F Jamaal Williams 6-5 junior
DAWGMAN PREDICTION: Huskies will be tested but their quickness at guard and some timely shooting by Tre Simmons vaults the Dawgs into the Sweet 16 for the first time since Todd MacCulloch. Washington 91, Pacific 84.
Pacific vs. Washington
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