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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 18, 2006 at 9:00 PM

How sweet it is

I’ll start off with the obvious — I was wrong in my analyzing of this game, though I wasn’t alone. I didn’t run into too many people down here who thought the Huskies would beat Illinois and advance to the Sweet 16.
Here are some thoughts on where we were wrong:
Underestimating the Pac-10: The Pac-10 now has two teams in the Sweet 16 and could have three. The Big Ten is down to one team — Ohio State. And in two tournament games between the two leagues, the Pac-10 is 2-0.
Obviously, the conference was a little better than we thought, and the Arizona-Wisconsin result should have been a clue.
Underestimating UW’s grit: The Oregon loss, and the fact that it happened after Aaron Brooks levied that hit on Ryan Appleby, led a lot of people to question UW’s toughness.
But it was just one game, and the reality is that the Brooks-Appleby thing probably had little to do with the result. Remember, the Huskies still led until deep into the second half of that game. This has always been a team to go full-out for 40 minutes a game and take hits and keep on coming back.
Overestimating Illinois’ height: One reason I put so much stock into Illinois’ height advantage was that Lorenzo Romar really seemed worried about it in his talks with the media Friday. UW is shorter than a lot of teams but usually gets away with its athleticism. But Illinois figured to be just as athletic. But the Huskies seemed to just try a little bit harder which helped mitigate the height difference.
Underestimating UW’s hunger: I always think it’s relevant to compare which team may have the most to gain. Illinois made it to the title game last year while UW was stopped in the round of 16. Illinois’ James Augustine said he thought Illinois let up a bit at times in the second half. I don’t think UW ever did, and that might have proved the difference in a 3-point game.
Here are some additional notes:
• The Huskies flew home on a charter plane after the game which should help in the turnaround to getting back to Washington D.C. Their next game will be Friday. The Huskies are now on spring break and will probably leave as early as Tuesday.
• Wondering why Jamaal Williams switched onto Dee Brown at the end? Basically, the Huskies have a general philosophy of switching at the end of possessions and games, which eliminates confusion. Bobby Jones let that out of the bag while speaking on the podium afterward much to the chagrin of Lorenzo Romar, who tried to stop him.
• That was just one of several humorous moments with the media afterward. Jones drew some laughs when he couldn’t remember what conference Illinois is in, quickly saying he meant no disrespect. And Jones also added “big time” when Brandon Roy completed an answer about how important the four-point-play by Justin Dentmon was.
• Romar said he never thought about fouling on the last play when Brown tried a 3-pointer.
“The only reason it crossed my mind was because after that Stanford game (when Dentmon memorably fouled Chris Hernandez) I’ve been asked that question 7,003 times,” he said. Then he pointed out that that’s the only time UW has lost in that situation in recent memory. “We lost one time,” he said. “We had to go with the percentages.”
• The two big defensive efforts were obviously Jones on Brown and Mike Jensen on Augustine. Augustine looked unstoppable for a while before Jensen buckled down. “Mike wasn’t on him the entire first half and there were some mental lapses,” Romar said. “When Mike decided to knuckle down and really try to prevent him from catching the basketball — he was strong, he was smart enough to do it.”
• We’ll obviously have a lot more here in the coming days now that the season is continuing.

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