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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

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

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January 31, 2005

More ready than you think

Posted by at 1:37 PM

Ike Diogu had 14 points and 13 rebounds on Sunday against the Huskies. This from a guy who is averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds a contest. He also got to the free throw line one time. Diogu leads the country in free throw attempts, and the Huskies held him to one attempt (he missed it). So what does that mean?

Early season scouting reports had the Huskies struggling against teams that were bigger than them. So far this season, the only teams that have beaten the Huskies have shot extremely well from the outside and played fantastic perimeter defense. Size has not been an issue.

When your front line doesn’t have anybody bigger than 6-8, eventually it would seem that it would catch up to you. But after the Huskies beat ASU and Diogu to run their record to 17-3, it seems maybe it won’t. At least not yet. The Huskies have played very well against teams with talented big men. Andrew Bogut at Utah was held in check up in Alaska. Ronny Turiaf didn’t dominate inside. Channing Frye didn’t take over the game the way he should.

To succeed in March in college basketball, teams either need to have a dominant inside force (like the 1998 Huskies, who dumped the ball into Todd MacCulloch constantly) or they need to be able to defend an inside force. I do think it would be a stretch to call Mike Jensen a dominant inside force, but the combination of Jensen, Hakeem Rollins, Bobby Jones and Jamaal Williams have proven to be very capable defenders. Everybody knows where the offense comes from on this team, but it is the efforts of those four guys that gives the Huskies the best chance to win in March.

Of course, the Huskies still need to be able to play better perimeter defense and they need to be able to force teams out of zone defense. But, when the NCAA draw is out in March and the Huskies are eventually faced with a Big 12 or ACC team with dominant inside guys, don’t panic. We know that our guards can play with anybody in the country. We are only now learning that our big men can do the same thing.

P.S. For anybody who hasn’t heard, former Husky reserve David Hudson (now known as “Junya”) has entered the rap game. One of his tracks is dedicated to his former team, and is called “It Must Be Husky.” It has to be heard to be believed.