Lets make one thing perfectly clear. The University of Washington should not make the NCAA tournament this year under normal circumstances. However; 2018 in college basketball are anything but normal circumstances. We are only in Mid January and we have already seen more top 10 teams lose while they were in the top 10 than any season in history.
These are very unique times. There appears to be only a small handful of elite teams, and then teams 10 through 70? Not a lot separates them. This should make for an incredibly fun and unpredictable NCAA tournament. What it also does is it keeps teams like Washington alive. The committee has to find 68 teams to make the tournament with roughly half of those being at large selections. In other words, someone has to make it, whether they are deserving or not.
The Huskies are very limited in many areas including depth up front and overall size and athleticism in the post. Noah Dickerson is doing everything he can but when he goes to work against more athletic bigs he gets sent into the fourth row more often than not. And Sam Timmons offensively? Well, my mom told me if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
The Hopkins 2-3 has kept Washington in games through some unbelievably long, bad offensive stretches. So how do we rectify those stretches and make them shorter and not as bad? A few things will help.
1. Offense with urgency.
Attack the basket with reckless abandon. The Huskies are blessed with tremendous athletes in Nowell and Thybulle and Crisp can get by a defender as well. This penetration opens up shooters that otherwise are not open.
2. High ball screens. This forces the attack with the dribble. This will allow Nowell and the other guards a running start getting into the lane. Nowell has a fantastic pull up jump shot and the body control to get all the way to the cup. Thybulle doesn’t have the same finish as Nowell but his quickness can create havoc for the opposing defense.
3. Don’t let your offensive struggles dictate how you play defense. The Dawgs D is always pretty good, but it gets damn good when their shots are falling.
The 4-3 record in a shoddy conference is nothing to write home about, but splitting in the mountain states was huge. Go get two of the next three to get to 6-4 and you are well on your way to being relevant in February. And who’da thunk that when this season started.