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January 23, 2013

Huskies letting guard down at home




The Washington Huskies started out conference play with four straight wins, with the first three coming on the road. They were looking good heading into last Saturday's game against Utah.

Well, we know how that played out. The Huskies lost 74-65. You would have thought with all that success on the road the Huskies would have taken care of business against the Utes at home.

Unfortunately, that was wrong and there could be one major flaw with this Huskies team. Of course, there are many minor flaws to go along with this major flaw, like any other basketball team has. However, until the Huskies improve on this major flaw, I just don't see them having a ton of all-around success.

This major flaw that I'm talking about is the Huskies' confidence. No, not a lack of confidence, but too much confidence. Too much confidence that it's almost becoming a distraction.

It seems like every time the team is riding high and is having some success, they lose a game that they should definitely win. Example A, B and C: Utah, Nevada and Albany.

Even though the Albany game was only the Huskies second regular season contest, the game was at home and there is no excuse losing that game. Any Pac-12 contender, maybe any Pac-12 team to that matter, should be able to blow out or at least win against a team like Albany at their own place.

In the Nevada game, the team just struggled mightily overall and again, there was no intensity on the defensive side of the ball. Of course the Dawgs had their usual shooting woes at home, but if the defense steps up, usually this team is able to win some close games. However, sometimes it just comes down to the fact that if you make baskets you win, if you don't, you lose. It's as simple as that.

In the Utah game, the Huskies' woes were a combination of the same flaws they showed in the Albany and Nevada games. Their shooting was off, they lacked intensity on defense, and there really wasn't a consistent flow to the offense. Now, all these flaws are fixable with practice and some coaching, but the major flaw apparent in all of these games was the Huskies' confidence.

Usually when people talk about confidence as a flaw in sports, others think they are speaking of a lack of confidence.

It seems like the Dawgs come into some of their home games with the impression it will be an easy win against an easy opponent and then suddenly they are down 10 to start the game.

Eventually, the Huskies wake up and make a run at the other team's lead, but usually it's too late in the game for that and the Dawgs end up losing.

Of course there are games at home where the Huskies come out strong and ready to go, such as the Colorado game, and I think the Huskies should emulate their preparation for these games into preparation for all their other games.

This far into the season, the Dawgs have played their best basketball on the road and it seems like they are focused and respect every opponent in their opponent's gym. The Huskies don't respect some of their opponents when they come to Hec Ed and this needs to change for the team to take their next step.

I'm not saying that the Huskies need to lose all their confidence; I'm just saying that they need to harness it and focus on the task at hand. When the Dawgs accomplish this, I think they will be able to contend and beat the premier teams in the league such as Arizona, Oregon and UCLA. The success so far on the road is why there shouldn't be panic or overreaction about the terrible losses at home, but you must still be worried nonetheless.

Eventually, I think the Dawgs will improve on this major flaw and will come to respect any and every opponent who walks into Hec Ed. Once this happens, this team's potential is so great that I don't even think the players on the team even know how far they can go. When the Huskies do this and continue their already stellar play on the road, the rest of the Pac-12 better watch out.

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