February 16, 2007

To be honest, I’m not really as excited about tomorrow’s game as I was back in November and December. Maybe I forgot how important conference games were as opposed to the non-cons. Maybe I figured Washington would be ranked at this point. And after reading what one Huskies fan has to say, I think they might be under that same mindset.

Tomorrow’s game against Pitt is a good exposure game for the Huskies. The impact of that game on the Huskies post season hopes is minimal in my opinion. As long as the Huskies win 3 out of 4 Pac-10 games they will get into the tourney. Winning the game will be great for the RPI and win record, but losing will not affect anything. The Huskies have been hot as of late. If that trend continues then they shouldn’t be worried about an at large berth. The NCAA committee loves to use the last 10 as a gauge for at large berths.

I guess in their spot they don’t have a ton to lose and are more interested in the Oregon game next week.

Can UW’s freshman center, the 6′ 11″ 225 Spencer Hawes, stop Aaron Gray? Other than him they don’t seem to have anyone to match up on him size wise so the Hawes-Gray is probably going to be the key to the game.

And don’t be fooled, Gray is valuable when he’s on the court. Very interesting stuff from the Post-Gazette and Ken Pomeroy.

It is no surprise that Gray is by far Pitt’s most valuable player in terms of plus/minus and on/off rating.

Gray is a plus-19 in the on/off rating, which is calculated per 40 minutes. In the plus/minus ratings, Gray is a plus-312, or an average of 12.5, for the season. The next-closest player is Antonio Graves at 241 (9.6). Gray posted a negative rating in a game only twice this season — in losses to Louisville and Wisconsin.

According to the ratings, Pitt’s least valuable player is sophomore forward Sam Young.

Is this why Young isn’t seeing the kind of time that most would like to see him get? Probably not because I highly doubt Jamie Dixon looks at this kind of thing; or maybe he’s sitting in his office right now looking over those exact stats. Just maybe…

But coming off of a loss, a win is important for the simple fact that the team needs to shake off the bad thoughts. We were given plenty of time to think about Monday’s loss though.

Two practices, three days and four words from their coach — “playing for first place” — served as an ointment for the shell-shocked Panthers.

Pitt spent the past two days of practice and film study working on everything from breaking the press to defending Washington’s formidable inside tandem of sophomore power forward Jon Brockman (6-7, 260) and Hawes (7-0, 250).

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