Kind of a strange game. Just a few quick thoughts:
- Everything came together against the Huskies in the second half. The Cougars came out with a lot more energy and seemed to get every bounce until late in the game, and questionable officiating gave MBA a third foul early that took away his aggressiveness, especially defending Casto. I was never really worried they were going to lose, but it was just a matter of finding a spark to swing the momentum.
- It looks like I was wrong about MBA. He says he’s not doing anything differently, but he looks like he’s being more patient with the ball. Who knows if it’ll carry into next season, but right now he looks like a potential all Pac-1o player next year.
- Klay Thompson is really not a good player right now. He seems like the prototypical streaky player who lets bad shooting affect the rest of his game. He rallied a bit in the second half to make a few nice plays, but there was really no difference between him and Elston Turner last night, except that Thompson played a lot more minutes and missed a lot more shots.
- I’m no expert on the Cougars roster, but I’d be a little worried if I were them. I think Ken Bone’s a solid coach, but they don’t have too many difference makers right now. Casto’s solid, but he doesn’t seem like a player who will ever be able to carry the team. Thompson might, but he has to be more consistent and improve his demeanor and body language. Reggie Moore is a solid point guard but nothing special, and I’m not sure he’s going to improve a lot on what he is now. They look like a team that will play hard and steal some games but lacks the talent to be a consistent threat in the conference. I could be wrong, but I’ve seen nothing in their few games I’ve watched to tell me otherwise.
- I wonder if Gaddy would have played much more in the second half if he hadn’t got that fourth foul. I thought they badly needed him when they were struggling to score and Venoy was pretty well a non-factor. Gaddy has a very settling effect and seems to get the team better shots. Romar eventually pulled Venoy and let IT run the point, and then put Venoy back in once the tempo had picked up. It was a good move, but he should have made it five minutes earlier.
- Venoy has to learn how to get around screens better. Teams that run a screen in the backcourt bringing the ball up take him totally out of his game. Yesterday, he seemed to be watching for a screen along the three point line and would be caught out of position, letting Moore or whoever drive right by him. Not his best game, although there’s no one I’d rather have shooting those late free throws.
Two more games. The Huskies need to keep at least their third seed for the tournament so they’ll only face Cal in the title game, if at all. That would be their only chance of an at-large bid, and even that is a tiny chance. Go Dawgs!