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January 29, 2013
As Pac-12 play begins to heat up and the contenders are separated from the pretenders, the Washington Huskies are still trying to figure out their identity.
After a mediocre preseason, the Huskies seemed to answer all questions and doubters when they began Pac-12 play.
The Dawgs looked to finally find their character with their victory over an underrated Colorado team. This gave the Huskies an impressive 4-0 start in Pac-12 play, something that has only happened three other times in the past 35 years.
Just as fast as the season seemed to make a turn for the positive, the season was right back up in question.
With the Huskies losers of three in a row, the chance of making any post season tournament is in limbo.
The Huskies dropped two ugly games to the bottom feeders of the Pac-12, Utah and Oregon State, which ultimately ruined their chances to make the Big Dance unless they can win the conference tournament in Vegas next month.
If the Huskies could have managed to beat Utah and Oregon State, the two most winnable games on their schedule, they would still be in contention for regular season champs, as well as have a decent chance to go dancin'.
Once again Romar is stuck trying to find the identity of his team.
If the Huskies want to salvage their season they must sweep the Arizona schools later this week.
A win verse 8th ranked Arizona can give the Huskies much needed confidence, as well as put an impressive win on their resume.
As for the team, there have been some noticeable moves by coach Romar.
Andrew Andrews looks to be slowly taking over the responsibility of the point guard duties. Although Romar will most likely never insert him into the starting lineup over Gaddy, Andrews is in the game during crucial times.
In the Huskies three loses Andrews is averaging 12 points with a 4.3/2 assist to turnover ratio. Gaddy is averaging 10.6 points with a 2.6/3.3 assist to turnover ratio. Clearly just by the numbers Andrews is playing at a higher level than the elder statesmen.
Another noticeable change for the Huskies over the past three games is their defense.
At the start of Pac-12 play Desmond Simmons was the facilitator of the defense and was all over the court creating plays. Where has this energy gone?
Simmons doesn't seem to have the same urgency that he had in the early portion of the season, and with his drive decreasing so have his minutes and statistics.
The Huskies are a different team when they are able to play solid defense and hold their opponents under 70 points. The Huskies are 8-2 when they keep their opponent under that mark, if you include the Seton Hall game that went into overtime and gave up 73 points they are 9-2. This UW team doesn't have enough firepower to outscore opponents; their defense must be affective if they hope to win.
A pleasant surprise for the Dawgs was the play of Shawn Kemp Jr. in the loss to Oregon.
Kemp had a couple nice rebounds, a nice turn around hook shot, and a total of 12 points alongside his six boards.
Romar has been using Kemp and Jernard Jerreau sparingly throughout conference play. Kemp may possibly just secured his spot in front of Jerreau in the rotation.
Scott Suggs and CJ Wilcox are the go to players for the Dawgs, and opponents are taking notice of that on film. They are trying to keep the ball out of their hands.
With Suggs gone after the year, and CJ left with an option to leave (A source close to Wilcox told me that he was informed he was a top 25 pick over the summer, and that he would leave after this year. Let's hope it's all speculation) the future of the huskies could be in question. Once again, another reason why Aaron Gordon is possibly the biggest recruit ever by UW hoops.
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