And oh what a relief (and release) it was.
Need, proof? How about this exhibition of man-love after beating a terrific, albeit unranked SC yesterday.
Now to the super-brief analysis:
First of all, the game showed what has been increasingly evident over the last few games (but has not been as noteworthy because of the losing streak): Kyle Weaver is becoming a DOMINANT player. His long range game is hitting its stride, his midrange game is improving, and his play around the basket is nothing short of spectacular. Moreover, because we have abandoned (I HOPE!) that trap defense and have been staying home, Weaver has been able to return to his chops as a terrific on-the-ball defender as well as a dude that can flat out defend a passing lane or help side as anyone that I can remember since G.P. The Dude is just flat out terrific--a real game changer.
In addition to Weaver, both Rochestie and Cowgill I thought both played well yesterday. Rochestie knotted 13 with four assists a ZERO tournovers, and Cowgill I thought played with much more confidence (Note to R.C.: Do NOT take shots without trying to use the glass. You short arm everything else--use the glass, its your friend!); D. Low played great, great defense; and NEEE-KOE-LAH slashed in a way that bodes quite well for upcoming tilts against the like of Arizona and the Quackers.
In terms of SC, well, what can you say? My take on them is that they are a team (as many young and athletic teams are) where their offense controls their energy on both ends of the floor (especially the defensive end). And, since Weaver bothers Mayo tremendously, they seem to collectively fade as their offensive struggles mount.
I say this because over the past 14 games or so, our offense and scheme has looked BY FAR the best against SC. While other teams consistently crowd us and bother us when we have the rock, SC for some reason does not. All day yesterday (as well as our January contest), the spacing on the floor, the ball movement, our off the ball movement, and our ability to get open looks was absolutely seamless. Hopefully, we can continue that down the stretch...
Which brings me to the week ahead.
As I said earlier in the year, I really think that it is high time for us to really consider starting Harmeling over Baynes. As I noted before, I think that Harmeling's presence early in the game is really key both to our ability to get him off, as well as our ability to spread the floor. As is, Baynes is clogging up the basket, not very quick to kick out of the double team, and is allowing guys to really crowd our backcourt. Moreover, because Baynes is getting foul trouble early, he has become a non-factor to us.
Again, as I've said before, Baynes' game would not change by coming in with 13:45 left in the half as opposed to starting. But, I think Harmeling's game changes a lot by being able to get in the flow from the get go. Remember, victories last year over the Zags, Arizona, and Stanford were led by Harmeling having 20+ points. He simply can not get that when playing off the bench and out of flow...
Anyhow, we'll see how things go. I think that Oregon State will be a win for us--whether its the 20 points blitz we'd like or the 2 point biter that we had last year.
Its the Oregon game that I am worried about. Will they be on? Will we stay back and make them shoot over the top of us as we have done so well over the past four games? Will we play footloose and fancy free?
We really need a sweep this next weekend, folks, in the worse way. Getting the sweep sets us up to get to that 6 win second half--something we desperately need--not only to get to the tournament, but to have a chance at making a run.
I'll post again following OSU.
Enjoy your week.
Oh yeah, WSU 69 OSU 54.