Huskies' next opponent: Long Beach State 49ers
Tip: Tuesday, 8 p.m., Hec Edmundson Pavilion (FSN).
Record: 3-3 overall, 0-0 Big West Conference.
Series: Washington leads, 1-0, defeating Long Beach State, 84-69, in 2007-08 season.
49ers overview: Long Beach State has posted victories this season against San Francisco State, St. Peter's and Iowa butis coming off an 80-77 overtime loss to Loyola Marymount on Saturday. Long Beach State returns four starters from last year's team that finished 17-16 overall and third in the Big West under former Gonzaga coach Dan Monson. Monson, who coached at Gonzaga from 1997-1999 and later went to Minnesota, is trying to turn the program around with this year's experienced team.
Projected 49ers starting lineup:
F Eugene Phelps, 6-6 213 Jr.
F T.J. Robinson, 6-8 210 Jr.
G Greg Plater, 6-1 178 Sr.
G Larry Anderson 6-5 200 Jr.
G Casper Ware 5-10 175 Jr.
About the 49ers: Long Beach State relies heavily on the production of its starters (they average less than 10 points per game in bench scoring), and it all begins with junior forward T.J. Robinson. Robinson currently leads the 49ers in both scoring (13.3) and rebounding (10.5). The Huskies will need to focus on preventing Robinson from grabbing offensive rebounds for easy put-backs.
Junior guard Larry Anderson (12.8 points per game) is another key contributor the Huskies must also focus on containing. Anderson had 21 points in a game against St. Peter's earlier this season, and he can put up points in a hurry. Anderson also has great size for a guard (6-5 200 pounds) and seems to set up an entertaining matchup with Justin Holiday of the Huskies.
Long Beach State is not a particularly good rebounding team, as the 49ers average only 38 boards per game, which is good enough for 113th in the country. Their lack of depth and size in the frontcourt puts them at a disadvantage against Washington. This bodes well for a Huskies team that has had trouble in the early season with keeping opponents off the offensive glass.
The 49ers also doesn't shoot the ball very well (42.1 on the season) and their points per game average of 70.8 ranks 169th overall. Senior guard Greg Plater leads the team with 16 3-pointers on the season and he currently shoots 41 percent from beyond the arc.
The bottom line: On paper, this matchup seems like a good one for Washington as the small, three guard lineup employed by Long Beach State plays right into the strengths of the Huskies. The key for the Huskies in this game is to dictate the tempo from the beginning. Having advantages in scoring and depth, Washington will want to push the pace of the game and look to score in bunches in transition. Long Beach State will have to find a way to use its experience to overcome the crowd noise, and limit its turnovers (the 49ers average almost 15 per game) if it wants to stay competitive in this game.
The pick: Washington 95, Long Beach State 81