Interesting to read in the Los Angeles Daily News today that USC point guard Ryan Francis called tonight’s game with Washington “a must-win.”
That makes two teams on the floor for whom the game is a must-win. The Huskies, in my view, absolutely have to win this one to make it to the NCAA tournament. I detailed some of the reasons why in a story in the Seattle Times today.
Stories in the L.A. papers all focused on the loss of Gabe Pruitt and what that will mean to the Trojans. The Daily News quoted coach Tim Floyd as saying that he will go deeper into his bench. “Guys who haven’t played will have to play now,” Floyd said.
Here’s the link to the L.A. Times story.
And here’s the link to a story in the Long Beach Press Telegram.
Obviously the loss of Pruitt – whom many consider an NBA prospect and USC’s second-leading scorer at 17.1 per game – is huge.
What’s harder to tell is how the Huskies will try to exploit it becuase we still don’t know for sure exactly what lineup UW will trot out to start the game.
Coach Lorenzo Romar was said last night to still be contemplating what direction he wanted to go. Whatever he does, however, I don’t imagine it will be anything shocking since – with what has become almost an eight-man rotation – there’s really only so much he can do.
A few leftovers
Romar said again this week that if Harvey Perry can return to the floor in a week or two and show he can play, that the Huskies won’t hesitate to use him, even if it’s for only eight games or so. Romar says Perry wants to play. There could be news on Perry in the next day or so as he was supposed to be checked out by doctors yesterday to see if he could be cleared to return to practice without limitations.
In the first game against USC, UW committed a season-high 28 turnovers. Some were self-inflicted, but a number were the result of the Trojans’ four-guard attack which pressured the Huskies all over the place. Hard to know how that will change now that Pruitt is out of the lineup. But Romar said the goal for tonight is for UW to cut that turnover number in half.
Pruitt is likely to be replaced by freshman Sead Odzic, who has started twice and averages 3.1 points per game. But don’t let that low scoring number fool you. Colleges were attracted to Odzic because of his ability to score. He had nine points, making 3 of 5 three-pointers in USC’s loss at Arizona State last week. In the USC media guide, a recruiting expert is quoted as comparing Odzic’s game to that of Peja Stojakovic. Odzic had eight points, hitting 2 of 4 three-pointers, in the first game against the Huskies.
I’ve gotten more than a few e-mail complaints about the fact that several of UW’s recent games haven’t been on TV. However, all but one UW game the rest of the season will be on TV, with the lone holdout the March 2 game at Arizona State.