BLOG EXCHANGE - Q&A WITH UDUB DISHWe'll try to put last night's 73-56 loss to Wazzu behind us and focus on Saturday's tilt with the suddenly struggling Washington Huskies. Actually, before we get off last night, a minor rant: We understand Cal scoring 56. WSU's a good defensive team, they play at a deliberate pace and we don't have many options offensively.
We do mind letting any opponent shoot 58%. What happened to our Trademark Defensive Intensity? WSU had too many open looks - just like DePaul, and San Diego State, and Arizona, and USD. On several occasions this year, Cal just hasn't brought it - and fatigue doesn't explain lousy performances in the first half.
OK, that felt good. On to U-Dub.
The Huskies, SI cover boys at season's beginning, dropped their fourth conference game at Stanford last night 78-77. As we suggested, Justin Dentmon has struggled at the point, and too many Husky possessions have ended in turnovers. When UW gets it to their extremely talented front line, good things happen. We asked fellow blogger U-dub Dish for his thoughts on Coach Romar's blue-chippers and their game with Cal this weekend. He'll post our responses to his questions sometime today (and we'll post a prediction sometime today).
Tightwad Hill: The Huskies have been great in the front court, but Dentmon seems to have struggled at the point. Are we correct in thinking this way, and what are your thoughts on where he is right now?
U-Dub Dish: You're absolutely right about Dentmon. He's struggled big time this year and has been replaced in the starting lineup by Ryan Appleby (left), who splits the point guard position with freshman Adrian Oliver.
Dentmon is a very emotional player; one of those guys who really needs to get involved early. When things are going bad, it gets in his head and his emotions seem to take over for his instincts on the court.
Tightwad Hill: UW's had one big win - v LSU - and a few disappointing losses. What was different in the LSU game?
U-Dub Dish: First off, I say the same thing to everyone I talk to about Huskies' hoops: that Northern Iowa win is going to look really good come March. As for LSU, well the big men just took over. Brockman (right) and Hawes were unstoppable on the glass and did a number on Glen Davis, holding him to single digits.
Turnovers - a big problem thus far - were minimal and the Huskies played the game at their pace...they did against Arizona too, but the Wildcats shot too well to lose.
Tightwad Hill: Speaking on behalf of the conference, we were ready for Hawes, but did anyone expect Quincy Pondexter to play this well this soon?
U-Dub Dish: Not sure what the consensus was on Q-Pon, as we like to call him in Seattle. I really didn't know all that much about him coming in, but anytime a freshman can contribute the way he has, you have to be a little surprised.
With that, he has been inconsistent and did lose his starting job to fellow freshman Phil Nelson.
Tightwad Hill: Anyone outside the starting 5 that Bears fans should look out for on Saturday?
U-Dub Dish: Probably the aforementioned Dentmon and Pondexter. Neither has been starting after the UCLA debacle two weeks ago. If they were to get back in the starting lineup, Phil Nelson, a freshman from Oregon, can get hot from behind the arc.
Tightwad Hill: What are your expectations (realistic and stretch) for the Huskies this year?
U-Dub Dish: Expectations were higher before the 1-3 (now 1-4) start in conference, I'll tell ya that. If everything breaks right, the Dawgs could still realistically go 12-6 in conference, lose to Pitt in February, and win two games in the Pac-10 tourney. That would leave them with over 20 wins and maybe a 4-6 seed. That'd be good.
Though if things don't break right - lose most road games save ASU and OSU, lose at home to UCLA, lose to Pitt on the road and don't win a game in the Pac-10 tourney - I really think the Huskies could be a bubble team. I'd like to think UW can make the Dance with the talent it has, but with the Pac-10 being so damn strong this year, just going .500 in league could be a moral victory.