In anticipation of Marquette's throwdown with the Washington Huskies on Thursday, the good fellas at SBN's Washington blog, The UW Dawg Pound, took the time to answer the hard-hitting questions that you've come to expect from Anonymous Eagle (...in the last week). Before you ask: yes, we did cover scurvy. And Luke Huard.
The Dawgs also had some questions for us, so, in fine Jesuit tradition, we threw up a smokescreen on Marquette's plans for UW. (HA! WE NEVER SHOOT THREES! AND ALL OF OUR PLAYERS ARE SECRETLY SIX-FOOT-EIGHT!)
Anyway, the next time you're in Milwaukee, Husky fans, the first round of Jager is on us.
AE: Between Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas, Washington has two of the members of the 2010 All-Name Team. What other gems do you have hiding up there?
Name-wise, there's not really anyone else who's interesting. Though some Pac-10 opponents have noted how close Venoy Overton's first name is to sounding like "annoy", and given his in-your-face defense, it's pretty fitting.
The football team just signed a kid name Sione Potoa'e, and I'm looking forward to hearing announcers butcher that one for the next four years.
AE: And a follow-up: if Pondexter and Thomas aren't hitting, who's Option 3 for UW?
The Huskies third option really depends on who has the hot hand, but lately it's been Matthew Bryan-Amaning (MBA) who is averaging around 12 points and 8 rebounds over the last 11 games. Venoy Overton can carry the load at times and Elston Turner has been hitting some big shots of late, but really if both Thomas and Pondexter are off this team isn't beating anybody, so the point is moot.
AE: You guys have won 12 of your last 14 games, including your last seven road/neutral site games. What changed on January 26 to turn your season around? Was playing Seattle that much of a panacea?
I'd go back to before the Seattle game a couple of weekends. That was the first game that Lorenzo Romar decided to put Justin Holiday (you might know him as the older brother of Jrue Holiday) into the starting lineup, and we proceeded to blow out Stanford and Cal. Then we went to UCLA (where we never win, we're like 5-1000 all time there) and lost on a last second shot, then lost to USC (who we'll get to), then went on the 12 of 14 tear. Justin Holiday has been the key because of his defense; he was named to the Pac-10's All Defensive Team, and has consistently shut down whoever he matches up against. He also might be the team's best passer, can hit the midrange jumper and pounds the offensive glass surprisingly well for someone as slim as he is. He had hernia surgery in the offseason and just had to get back into playing shape, but since he has he's been one of the team's best players.
The Seattle game was fun though. SU had to play the old "box and none" defense for the last couple of minutes because so many players had fouled out.
After the jump: tales of the Pac-10's demise have been greatly exaggerated; Kevin O'Neill; and, of course, scurvy.
AE: Songs of the Pac-10's demise have been sung by every ESPN talking head for the last two months. For those of us who don't adopt every opinion voiced by Doug Gottlieb: was it really that bad?
The Pac-10 was definitely bad, but it wasn't as bad as many made it out to be. The problem was that several teams were injured early, so they got beat up in nonconference, then they got healthy right around the time Pac-10 play started so we saw a lot of parity.
The biggest example is Cal, who played Syracuse, Ohio State and New Mexico without the services of Theo Robertson, who is their 3rd best player. They also lost Harper Kamp for the season a week or two before the season started, and he would have started for them. Another team I'd point to is Stanford. Stanford only has something like 8 scholarship players (and only a few of them are of Pac-10 quality) and they played the early part of the season without Jeremy Green, who finished 6th in the conference in scoring. Without him, they took Kentucky to overtime on a neutral floor.
AE: Washington lost twice to Southern Cal and ex-Marquette coach Kevin O'Neill. Bad match-up, bad games by UDub, or a combination of the two?
Both. USC was one of the best defensive teams in the nation this year, but had no half court offense to speak of. However, they're pretty athletic and can get out and run, which is what we do best, so they were getting out and getting easy baskets on us, then grinding us out when we had the ball. It just became kind of a worst case scenario for us.
AE: What styles, on offense and defense, give Washington trouble?
Offenses that give us trouble are teams with multiple big men. [Rubie sez: Crap.] We have a few big men, but they're prone to foul trouble so it's hard for us to play more than one at a time, so when we see a team with a couple inside threats (as USC has with Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic) we're at a disadvantage from a personnel standpoint. Early in the season we were getting destroyed by teams that did a lot of backdoor cutting, but that problem seems to have righted itself. Offenses that play slowly frustrate this team at times because it's such a contrast to how Coach Romar wants to play.
Two things you have to do defensively against the Huskies are: 1) get back on defense. This team will push the ball up the court in a flash, so much so that they've occasionally gotten layups after opponent's made baskets if the defense is caught sleeping and 2) defensive rebound. Lorenzo Romar loves having his players pound the offensive glass, and if you let a player like Pondexter get position he's going to score second chance points all day.
The best type of defense to play against the Huskies hinges on having a player quick enough to stay with Isaiah Thomas, and long enough to alter his shots. When teams turn him into a perimeter player his impact is really diminished, because he's at his best when he's attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. Really that's the case with most of the roster; you want to make UW a perimeter shooting team because the roster has a ton of guys who are streaky shooters.
AE: I'm seeing seven guys on your roster that are 6'6" or taller. Any chance we can convince you to hold some of them out or, at the very least, make them play on their knees? How many of them see consistent minutes?
They pretty much all play, with the exception of Brendan Sherrer. He's a walk-on, and has been dubbed our "human victory cigar", so if you see him in the game you're in a bad way. Only two of them are true post players though: MBA and Tyreese Breshers. Breshers shows flashes of being very good, but he's also averaging an incredible 10.5 fouls per 40 minutes (not a typo). His contributions are pretty limited by that.
AE: What's the best dive bar in Seattle to watch a Husky game?
I have honestly no clue. If I'm in Seattle for a game, I'm going to be at the game. I'm from Tacoma, and in Tacoma they're all dives, so it's too hard to distinguish one from the rest as being the best.
AE: If you were given the choice of (a) being afflicted with scurvy or (b) having dinner with a Washington State alum, which would you choose?
Isn't scurvy pretty easy to treat? [Web MD sez: Yep.] Just get some vitamin C right? I can't imagine that with modern medicine the way it is that it would kill me. Actually, my brother went to WSU, so as long as I get to choose who I have dinner with, I'd take the latter.
AE: Who's your favorite Huard?
Tough call, but I can tell you who my least favorite Huard is: Luke. Not only did he destroy my high school in the state playoffs, but he chose to go to North Carolina. I don't think it's any coincidence that he was the only one of the three to not go to UW and also not go to the NFL.