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Husky Men's Basketball

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

December 19, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Video: Scouting Portland

Game info: 7 p.m. Saturday at Edmundson Pavilion.
TV/Radio: FSN/KJR-AM
Here’s our advance on today’s game and here’s a view from the other side courtesy of the Oregonian’s Jim Beseda.
PORTLAND
Coach: Eric Reveno, 43-61 in his fourth season with the Pilots.
Last season: 19-13 overall, 9-5 in WCC (3rd)
Last NCAA tournament appearance: 1996
Record: 6-3. RPI rank: 62
Prediction: Picked second in the WCC by conference coaches.
Series: UW leads 11-2. Portland won the last meeting 80-74 on Nov. 15, 2008 at the Chiles Center.
Fun fact: Portland has players from seven states, Canada and Germany, but no one from Oregon.
PLAYER TO WATCH:
— F Luke Sikma is developing into a player just like his father, former Sonic Jack Sikma. The younger Sikma, a 6-8 junior, doesn’t start, but he averages 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, which are team highs. He also averages 7.1 points. and shoots 61.9 percent from the field.
OVERVIEW:
— The Pilots return 12 players and all five starters. Coach Reveno uses an eight-man rotation. Six players average at least 24 minutes per game.
— Last season, Portland ranked second nationally with a 41.8 three-point shooting percentage. This season, the Pilots are shooting 40.4 percent behind the arc and they’re ranked 35th.
— Guard Nik Raivio’s older brother Derek played at Gonzaga and won the WCC Player of the Year award.
— Portland started 5-0 and was ranked No. 25 in the AP poll for the first time in 50 years. The Pilots also lost three straight games and dropped out of the polls before beating Denver 72-62 last Saturday.
— Portland is 6-43 all-time against ranked opponents.
— Guard Jared Stohl is third on the school’s all-time three-point list with 167.
— Portland is missing guard Eric Waterford (broken hand), guard B.J. Porter (personal leave) and forward Ryan Schaefer (knee).
— The Pilots concluded finals on Thursday. Portland is on break until classes resume Jan. 12.
KEY MATCHUP:
— Not sure if this matchup will decide the game, but it should be fun watching 5-9 T.J. Campbell, last season’s junior transfer star from Glendale Community College, go against 5-8 Isaiah Thomas. Campbell was the WCC’s Newcomer of the Year and Thomas was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Campbell is arguably the best shooter in the WCC. He’s connected on 34 of 74 field goals (45.9 percent) and 20 of 44 three-pointers (45.5 percent). Thomas isn’t the long-distance gunner like Campbell, but he’s adept at getting to the basket.
STARTING LINEUP
F Ethan Niedermeyer, 6-6, 200, Sr., 6.4 ppg., 3.2 rpg.
F Robin Smeulders, 6-10, 230, Sr., 11.4, 5.6
C Kramer Knutson, 6-9, 220, Jr., 5.7, 2.1
G Raivio, 6-4, 204, Sr., 14.8, 6.4
G Campbell, 5-9, 190, Sr., 14.6, 2.1
An interview with Oregonian reporter Jim Beseda:</strong


(What do you make of this Portland team?) “They’re playing pretty well, but they’ve been a little inconsistent and I can’t say if it’s exactly been on offense or defense that they’ve been inconsistent. They’ve had some big wins early on over Oregon, UCLA and Minnesota. And then they lost at home to Portland State and on the road to Idaho. Those are good teams, but I don’t think Portland expected to lose those games.”
(So are they the team that started 5-0 or lost three straight?) “It’s early enough in the season that I don’t know which team will show up on Saturday in Seattle. It’s a veteran team so you expect them to play with some consistency. You expect them to be more consistent then maybe they have been the last couple of weeks. They also had finals week this wee and I guess the Huskies do too so you never know how kids are going to come out of Finals Week and where their heads are going to be. I think it will be a good game. They had a great game down in Portland last year where I think the Pilots maybe were able to sneak up on the Huskies a little bit. That’s not going to happen this time. And I know (Quincy) Pondexter had an off game. I think he was 0 for 6 against them and didn’t play particularly well. I don’t think that’s going to happen again. The Pilots know they’re not going to sneak up on them. They also know the Huskies are coming off of a loss to Georgetown and are going to be hungry for a win. So it’s going to be a tough game.”
(How do they shoot so well on three-pointers?) “Some teams are better at extending their perimeter defense than others. Some teams just give that shot up. … West Virginia pretty much took it away. The Pilots do have an inside presence where if you do extend your defense, they should be able to exploit teams inside. The Huskies are awfully athletic so I can see where they’ll be able to get out on their shooters and not get burned inside too easily. What the Pilots are worried about is whether they’ll be able to run their offense against the Huskies pressure defense. If the can, then the other key is getting back defensively because the Huskies are so athletic and they get out in transition real well. If the Pilots aren’t on their toes, there’s a chance they can get run out of the building. I saw a few weeks ago when the Huskies ran Portland State out of Hec Ed.”
(What are the main storylines going into the game?) “Portland has been pointing towards this season. They’re picked for second in the WCC behind Gonzaga and this is I think a NCAA tournament caliber team. So they’re looking to build their resume as much as they can during the non-conference part of the season. So this game is a huge game in terms of what it can do for the Pilots resume if they were to win. It would certainly go down as a quality win and maybe assuming they don’t win the WCC and Gonzaga wins it again, it’s a game that could help the Pilots when it comes to NCAA bid time and when the selection committee has to pick. This is a big game that way.”
(Who do you think will win?) “I think the Huskies will win just because they’re home. I think they remember what happened last year in Portland. They would want to make up for that. To me they’re either the best or second-best team in the Pacific 10 conference. With Pondxter and (Isaiah) Thomas, they have some of the best individual that you want. The thing that the Pilots have going for them is they play great team basketball and they can put five guys on the floor that really play well together and have been playing together for a long, long time. The experience factor, you can’t overlook that, but I just think based on pure talent, I think the Huskies have the edge there. That and playing at home will probably carry the day.”

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