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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 18, 2009 at 6:53 PM

Keys to the game — Mississippi State

Here’s a breakdown of Thursday’s game against Mississippi State:
Records: No. 4 seed Washington 25-8; No. 13 seed Mississippi State 23-12. Where: Rose Garden (19,980). Time: 1:45 p.m. (approximate) TV: CBS. Radio: KJR-AM
KEYS TO THE GAME
No. 1: Attack, attack, attack: We’ve all heard and read (and some of us written) a lot this week about Jarvis Varnado. UW has to not let him get into its collective head and has to remain aggressive and attack the paint and penetrate. UW has been at its best this season when doing that and has to just force the issue Thursday, Varnado or not. This might also help UW get back to its days of getting to the line 40-plus times. UW did that three times early in Pac-10 play but hasn’t been getting to the line of much as late, shooting 20 or fewer in four of its last eight games.
No. 2: Wear ’em out: This is kind of an off-shoot of the first key. But while MSU players and coaches say they don’t think fatigue will be an issue, four games in four days and then a cross-country flight is a lot to ask. UW has to force the pace all game long and hope it wears out the Bulldogs at the end.
No. 3: Show patience: And this might seem somewhat counter to forcing the pace, but when the ball does slow down on the offensive end, UW has to make the extra pass to ensure a good shot every time. That’s been an issue of late as UW’s shooting percentage has fallen a bit.
No. 4: Get it out on the three: Written that a lot of late. But this is another UW foe that really shoots a lot of threes — a school-record 810 this season with four guys attempting 117 or more, each of them making 34 percent or better (by contrast, UW has tried just 412 threes with only Justin Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas attempting more than 65 — JD has 147 and Thomas 124.) MSU is going to get a lot of threes off, but UW has to contest as many of them as possible.
No. 5: Start fast: UW has had well-documented troubles falling behind early in games this season — a 21-point deficit in the first half against ASU in its most recent outing among the most notable. The do-or-die pressure of the NCAA Tournament can do a lot of tricky things to the pysche of teams and players, and the Huskies would be well-served not to let MSU get off to a fast start and feel like it is picking up where it left off in the SEC Tournament.

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