Washington is one of the best the Pac because of its... defense? Who da thunk it?
- Above average recruiting class for Pac 12 standards? Check.
- Above average standing in conference? Check.
- Lorenzo Romar? Check.
- Hec Ed? Check.
- All Pac 12 backcourt? Check.
- Up-tempo, exciting style of play? Check.
Ladies and gentlemen et les autres, the Washingon Huskies of Seattle after the jump.
Before the jump, though, here's a good segment about the Dawgs at FSN Arizona:
The names may change but the style remains the same: U-Dub plays an up-tempo game that allows the team to score as many points as possible. Their offense thrives on two factors: Dribble penetration and 3 point shooting. Get up in their faces, and guys like Tony Wroten Jr. will blow by and score. Back away and the Dawgs are content to launch 3s like the WWI German artillery. Funny enough, their offense is on the stagnant side when compared to their previous years. Though they are second in the league in scoring they are only shooting 43% from the floor. 3 point shooting, another staple in Romar's tenure, is also down: 31%. Moreover, they can't even drill a FT: 60.4%, LAST (!) in the Pac. To make matters worse, Washington has a low assist rate and also a less-than-1 assist to turnover ratio. However, the Dawgs are a phenomenal offensive rebounding that that allows for both easy put backs and wide open 3 point shots (think the last Duke championship team; Zoubek rebounds and kicks it out for Singler, Smith and Scheyer for the 3s), a big reason why they score over a point per possession. Not surprisingly, thanks to the up-tempo style, the Dawgs tend to get sloppy at times, coughing up 18.5% of their possessions.
So what is propelling them to a 10-3 record in conference? It's actually their defense. Opponents shoot only 41.9% from the floor and 29% from 3. UW is also a great defensive rebounding squad and they are also good at robbing the ball.
Washington has a history of sending good guards to the next level, and this year they are legitimately good, all-conference-like guards like Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross. But alongside them are CJ Wilcox and Abdul Gaddy, good players in their own right. The frontcourt has less answers, as it's just Darnell Gant and Aziz N'Diaye and some OK backups. Here's here I see the roles for the Dawgs.
Double Digit Scorers
Wroten, Cox, Ross
Super-Slasher (and Outside Bricklayer)
Ross, Wilcox, Gant
Ross, N'Diaye, Wroten, Gant, Simmons
With U-Dub's offense living off of the offensive rebound, it is up to Herb Sendek's squad to control the glass, though that's hard to fathom: The Sun Devils are not one of the best rebounding team in the Pac despite having two 7 footers. I am sure that Carrick Felix will try to guard Ross, but who guards Wroten? Getting Trent on him will result in super fatigue, and ASU will need him to score on the other end. A matchup zone sounds logical, especially given U-Dub's outside shooting woes, but ASU will still need to keep an eye on Ross, Wilcox and Gant.
Scoring on the other end looks like a chore, but hopefully everyone steps up and contributes. Best of luck at Hec Edmundson. Go Devils!