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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 19, 2008 8:19 AM

Scouting Valpo

Posted by Bob Condotta

For my preview story today, I quoted Lorenzo Romar saying that if the Huskieis had played the entire season the way they played the last month, they'd be in the NCAA Tournament right now.

The Huskies can't really prove that with anything they do in the CBI. But they can disprove it by not lasting very long in this thing. In fact, a loss tonight at home against Valparaiso might almost be worse than not having played in this tournament at all.

And while UW is a 10-point favorite, there are reasons for worry. First, Jon Brockman may not play, and will be limited if he does.

Second is the opponent, a team that plays the kind of style that can pull off March upsets, heavy on good three-point shooters and an ability to score quickly.

"They live and die by the three,'' said someone I talked with who has seen Valpo play often this season. "On the nights they hit 50 percent they destroy people, when they hit 30 percent, they lose.''

Roughly 44 percent of Valpo's field goal attempts this year were three-pointers --- 808 of 1843. (By comparison, UW has attempted 528 three-pointers out of 1951 shots, 27 percent).

One of Valpo's best three-point shooters, Samuel Haanpaa, won't play tonight, still battling mono. He hit 43 percennt on the season. But three others who hit at least 49 or more this season will play tonight --- 6-7 forward Shawn Huff (88-182), 6-0 guard Jarryd Loyd (51-140) and 6-1 guard Brandon McPherson (49-121).

Loyd is also essentially the point guard though he usually comes off the bench. McPherson is also now something of a sixth man as Valpo has altered its lineup a bit of late, going lately with 6-6 freshman Michael Rogers as one guard. He's regarded as one of the more athletic players on the team and has had some big rebound totals of late.

Also a starting guard for Valpo is 6-3 Jake Diebler, who is the team's defensive stopper and the man sure to guard Ryan Appleby tonight.

Valpo's best player up front is 6-9 junior forward Urule Igbavboa, who averages a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game. The other starting big man is 6-11, 245-pound freshman Bryan Bouchie, who averages just 16.7 minutes per game, his playing time often subject to favorable matchups.

Valpo has usually been known as a more deliberate team offensively, but the Crusaders have more athleticism than some years and are running more as a result, averaging 71.1 points per game (not far off UW's 73.3 total).

The Crusaders don't apply much defensive pressure, however, and were one of the worst in the nation in steals (163 in 34 games this year compared to UW's 202 in 32).

Valpo started 10-1, its best start ever, and finished 7-2. In between was a five-game losing streak that coincided with a viral infection that hit a number of players. But other than Haanpaa, the team is healthy now.

Valpo also had a few games that it blew late, losing three games by five points or less during that stretch. Valpo lost an eight-point lead in the last 80 seconds against Loyola, for instance.

The big question is level of competition. Valpo plays in the Horizon League, and outside of conference, played three games against "power conference'' teams, losing at Vanderbilt 87-78, Wisconsin 68-58 and North Carolina 90-58. But Vanderbilt led both Wisconsin and Vanderbilt fairly late (Valpo was tied with Wisconsin with three minutes to go and led Vandy with 10 minutes left). The Carolina game was actually tied with 17 minutes left before the Tar Heels went on a 27-2 run.

Ultimately, people say, Valpo's a pretty simple team to read.

"It really comes down to hitting their shots,'' one person said. "They are one of those live-by-the-three, die-by-the-three teams.''

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Posted by MT Husky

9:27 AM, Mar 19, 2008

What scares me is several of Huskies losses came as a result of not stopping the 3 point shot (AZ, Oregon, ASU).

There are a few Husky guards that seem susceptible to poor defense sometimes, though Romar seems to really like playing them I wonder if perhaps Holiday should see a little more PT tonight instead of certain other guards for is defensive prowess.

Posted by agibson

10:05 AM, Mar 19, 2008

Hi Bob-

As a Valpo fan, I've appreciated your in-depth coverage of the CBI. And, I appreciate your very fair treatment of Valpo, including that above.

Here's hoping for a good game! It's not so often that we get to play a "power conference" team who's outside of the top 25 - so I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope the Huskies get a good walk-up crowd and don't lose too much money on the game.

It's not entirely fair, but I also hope Brockman sits it out, and that it's a good game ending in a Washington loss ;)


Posted by MT Husky

10:30 AM, Mar 19, 2008

What a great and classy post from a fan of the 'other' guys.

Now THAT is how it should be!

Well done Adam. Though I disagree with your final paragraph, great post. Thanks for the contribution.

And hey! The odds are much too high that you guys will get a ton of open 3's!

Posted by 206er

10:37 AM, Mar 19, 2008

yea. the huskies can't play that weak zone against these guys. if they're that good from the outside i'd play a tough man d. let's hope brockman gets ready!. i can't think he'd want to miss his first post-season since freshman year. even if it is the cbi

Posted by Ziasudra

10:45 AM, Mar 19, 2008

Just a great big warning! Don't worry about Houston, worry about Valpo!!! They can beat us - and if we are going in smug, thinking about the "next" game, there may well be no "next" game.
Forget about that stupid zone (as mentioned) - man to man, please, and I suspect we have better speed (most of the matchups).
PS - I lived in No. Ind. for 3 years, back when, and I saw Valpo play a couple of times. No relevance to the present, however.

Posted by MT Husky

11:04 AM, Mar 19, 2008

206er and Ziasudra, I want your opinion on this (and others).

Though traditionally you never want to go zone against a good outside shooting team, ironically I’m not convinced Huskies shouldn’t stray from that conventional wisdom.

I’m not saying they should go zone…but this is something I’ve watched closely this past season and have been struck by the following observations:

1) When the zone has hurt them it hasn’t been their zone defense per se but rather delayed movement by some of the players when the ball moves around the perimeter. When they have been focused about staying in proper position defensively in the zone they’ve seemed to actually be pretty effective defensively. Which leads me to point #2

2) I think when they’ve got killed by the 3 (AZ, Oregon, ASU) it was when they were in man-to-man. This blog always puts me in a dilemma because I really don’t want to be critical of any of the players, but there are a couple players who have struggled all season losing their man on defense and that has created more open 3’s then the zone has. Which is why I think Romar has gone to the zone. My suspicion is he wants certain players out there for what they bring offensively but has grown tired of them losing their man so he has tried the zone…and I think with a certain degree of success.

Honestly, do you disagree with this?

That is why I do agree they are probably better off in man but using their guards who have the size and ability to shut down the perimeter (Holiday?).

I am VERY concerned that either way our perimeter defense will be lax and Vailpo will get hot and kill us from the 3. Bob is right, if they lose tonight that will be worse than not being in the tournament. It would set the Huskies back to where they were before there improved play at the end of the season.

Posted by Ziasudra

11:34 AM, Mar 19, 2008

To MT H - yes, you nailed it. Our zone has been too tight - the outer perimeter should be farther out, and quit the sliding halfway, then being too late to slide back to the open 3 pointer. Don't slide to an empty spot; wait until an offensive man is going there. Its very frustrating to see the ball on the left side, and the right side defender at the foul circle, then the long pass to the guy camped in the corner who gets time to check windage and elevation before he shoots.
And, yes, our guards seem to have trouble getting out-quicked with man-to-man. Venoy is quick enough to keep up with anyone. Apps does OK, but when he gets picked off, the forward doesn't switch fast enough, if at all. If Brockman plays tonight on a bad ankle, say with Artem in at the same time, a man-to-man might leave us a half-step too slow in the middle, and a zone would be useful.
Maybe the "weak zone" could be replaced by a stronger one.

Posted by Trevor

11:43 AM, Mar 19, 2008

If the UW loses this, it will DEFINITELY be worse than having not played in the CBI at all.

Expect a low turnout tonight. This is exams week at the UW, and many students have already left campus.

Posted by MT Husky

12:00 PM, Mar 19, 2008

MAN it is a relief to hear you say that Ziasudra! I have felt like I am the only person who has thought these things.

I could not agree more with these two statements you made:

“Don't slide to an empty spot; wait until an offensive man is going there. Its very frustrating to see the ball on the left side, and the right side defender at the foul circle, then the long pass to the guy camped in the corner who gets time to check windage and elevation before he shoots.”

Very funny, but sadly accurate.

“Apps does OK, but when he gets picked off, the forward doesn't switch fast enough” That is EXACTLY right. I love and admire the effort Appleby gives defensively, NOBODY works harder on defense than he does, but he gets picked off more than any other player and you are right, the forwards are constantly too slow on the picks.

I also agreed on Venoy being the only one with the quickness for solid perimeter defense. I will say this about Dentmon, I did feel against UCLA he showed up defensively. If he could bring the same defense he showed in that game I would be a little more excited when he came on the floor.

I have not read anyone else making these observations and was beginning to think that maybe I was really missing something.

Posted by take note ducks & cougs

12:42 PM, Mar 19, 2008

geno, seattle duck, coug4life, cougfan (and all your buddies)

Please read the post by agibson. While I would rather non-Huskies not post on this blog, I've got to say THAT is the way to do it if you're going to chime in. It's clean, nice spirited, non-offensive, and good natured. (Unlike all of the garbage I see your types posting.)

I just thought I'd point out what a classy fan from another school looks like so that you might get a clue for your future posts. Of course, if your types never posted again, that would be preferable.

Posted by Mike D

1:28 PM, Mar 19, 2008

Bob, you should post your bracket picks (NCAA.)

Posted by lo @ uva

1:43 PM, Mar 19, 2008

i heard the game would be available to view on the internet? is this still the case for those of us who are stuck in the likes of VIRGINIA?

Posted by agibson

2:26 PM, Mar 19, 2008

You've got to pay for it, but yes. Check out I'm watching the archive of the Nevada-Houston game now.

Posted by agibson

3:21 PM, Mar 19, 2008

On the Valpo scouting. "Live-by-the-three, die-by-the three" is nice and pithy. But, we're not quite _that_ simple to read. We do like to shoot threes, no question, but there's a bit more to the team than that.

And, there's definitely more to our wins and losses than three point percentage. I wouldn't have guessed it without checking, but "On the nights they hit 50 percent they destroy people, when they hit 30 percent, they lose.'' turns out to be fairly wrong.

Looking at some numbers, in wins Valpo averages 0.402. In losses only a bit worse at 0.384.

It's true that when 0.500 or better they're 6-0. But, when 0.300 or worse they're also 4-0.

When 0.400 or better they're 10-5. Worse than that they're 11-8. So, it doesn't seem like a particularly strong correlation.

Likewise, I assume the Huskies aren't _only_ Jon Brockman, with a few Appleby threes for spice ;)

Posted by boycott nike

3:32 PM, Mar 19, 2008

mt - I tend to think the dawgs extend their man to man a bit too far out on the floor leaving them susceptible to the drive and dish. To me that's a coaching problem, not a player problem.

Posted by agibson

2:11 PM, Mar 20, 2008

>On the Valpo scouting. "Live-by-the-three, die-by-the three" is nice and pithy. But, we're
>not quite _that_ simple to read. We do like to shoot threes, no question, but there's a bit
>more to the team than that.

So, I didn't want to spell it out too explicitly.

I did say that we're 4-0 when shooting 0.300 or worse from beyond the arc.

What I didn't mention is that Valpo also has a couple of guys who can play a little bit in the post.

Heck of a game! Care to play at our place next time?

But, seriously, thanks for a memorable game. All the best next season.

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