Coach's corner

Two league games to go and the Huskies have placed themselves perfectly for a run at another Pac-10 Championship. Once they went over the 20 win mark they essentially assured themselves of an NCAA bid, and the Dawgs need only to continue winning and they will enter the conference tournament no worse than the league's 2nd seed.

Washington could very well emerge as a 2nd seed at the dance if they win the Pac-10 conference tournament.

There is no question Brandon Roy is the best player in the league and an All-American candidate. It will be interesting to see how politics influence all of that. I would guess he winds up a third team selection.

I am also guessing he will be selected at least in the top 15 of the NBA draft. It is his defense that makes him such a special player and he is obviously playing with great confidence. The Huskies are playing tremendous team defense right now, probably their best defense of the season. That only promises to pay dividends once they get into tournament play. They have shooters in Appleby, Jensen, and Roy, and collectively bang enough to compensate for not having a true big man.

Although still a little guard poor, the Huskies have blended 9-10 players that give them the ability to match up with just about everyone. Mike Jensen is hitting his outside shot and that could be huge going into the tournament. He and Brockman give the Dawgs two bruisers inside and neither is the team's best post up player. That goes to either Roy or Jamal Williams who are both just about unstoppable on the block.

Seniors Roy, Jones, Williams, and Jensen provide depth inside and out. Gasser and Burmeister give the Huskies experienced options off the bench and should they run into foul trouble. Joel Smith seems to have pressed through his funk and is now there down the stretch whenever called upon.

The coming trip to Arizona will be a tremendous test. It won't be easy, as a loss by Arizona will probably knock the Wildcats out of the March Madness for the first time in decades. They will give the Huskies everything they can handle and ASU had a big win a week ago over Cal and are liable to be the Huskies opening game in the Pac-10 tourney.

The thing that has come to define the Dawgs as they finish out the season is their tenacity on the defensive end. They start games with great defensive effort and it sets the tone throughout.
ADDENDUM: Dawgs Eye View

This team is peaking at the right time, Dawg fans. Let's look at three areas that have been a concern throughout the year to me:

1) Who can handle the ball?
Justin Dentmon hit a wall for three games, but he's back and back with a vengeance. This kid has natural instincts, a good feel for the game, and doesn't try to do too much. He just runs Cameron Dollar's offense and does it well. When JD is out of the game, Appleby and Roy handle the ball. Not as well as JD, but adequate if spacing on the floor is OK. Appleby may not have the handles that everyone wanted him to, but that is not his role on this team. He is now a designated three-point shooter, and will handle the ball five to seven minues a game. And for those roles, he is suited just fine.

2) Where will the rebounds come from?
Washington has improved their rebounding to the point where they are the best offensive glass cleaners in this conference. The referees are giving them respect and allowing them to bang inside, and Brockman, Jones, Williams, Roy, and Jensen are taking full adavantage. All of them are very active inside when the ball is in the air. Brockman is going to lead the conference in rebounding, starting next season.

3) Where will the offense come from in crunch time?
Two words: Brandon Roy. This kid is in the zone right now and in the middle of a six-week stretch of basketball that most only dream about. He takes over the second half of games now, and plays TOUGH defense. He is peaking at the right time. If the Huskies played Gonzaga again, there is no way that Roy only scores 10 points again.

Now with the trip to the desert coming, it's the perfect time to tune up for the Pac-10 tourney. I'd love to see a sweep, obviously, but more important, I'd love to see an injury-free road trip where the guys keep it rolling and keep their confidence at a high heading to post-season play. No turned ankles, no hyper extended knees, and no losses in confidence now boys.

Just keep on rockin' (in the free world). Had to throw a nod to Neil Young there, sorry. Top Stories