Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alright!



UPDATE: 12:10PM UCLA QUICK PREVIEW

Greetings Cougar Nation. Quick post today because I am swamped. But here are a few thoughts and keys for tonight:

1) Capers, Capers, Capers.

Nick has been getting a lot of time lately because, in case you haven't noticed, we've moved toward making Taylor a distributing 2 guard. This shift has actually has given our offense a ton of flow since Taylor is allowed to attack from the elbow.

Nick has been a good fit for this set-up because he has largely handled the ball well against the opposing team's #3 and because he distributes into the post as well as anyone on our team.

BUT, one of the reasons why we have played UCLA well is because Marcus Capers has just eaten up Josh Shipp. I'm thinking that we need Capers to log heavy minutes tonight, but if its Nick, then he needs to continue to shut Shipp down. Simply put, if Shipp goes off, we lose no matter what anyone else does.

2) USC, USC, USC.

USC plays before us. Since the tourney is in LA, you can bet that AT LEAST 50% of the faithful will be Trojan fans--at least for that 6:00 game. USC wins that game and you can also bet that those fans will stick around to root AGAINST UCLA.

So, USC wins and all of a sudden, the game may have a much more neutral court flavor. And, as our legs get tired late in the game, every ounce of crowd and building energy that is directed positively toward us will help tremendously.

3) Backcourt Shooting

Contrary to what the pundits may say, we don't have to be 80ppg lights out like we were in Pauley. But, at the end of the game last night, neither Klay nor Taylor were in good rhythm. Tonight, they are going to have to combine for at least 28. Getting Klay off early would be really great.

4) Forrest-Casto, Forrest-Casto

For me, this game--and quite frankly all others in this tournament--depend on the offensive production we get from our 4 spot. When Forrest is hitting his jumper, we are a LEGIT #4-#5 seed NCAA team. When Casto and Forrest are playing well offensively in the same game, then we can beat anyone in the country.

But, when either of those two struggle--particularly Forrest--then we become extraordinarily average offensively.

So, look for Forrest to hit his shot early. If he does, then buckle up. If he doesn't, then we could be in real, real trouble.

5) Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick.

Not ours, theirs. You look at our previous two match-ups and the recipe is simple: Their Nick hits threes, they pull WAY ahead of us. Their Nick misses threes and we beat them.

So, its a combination of how Forrest does and how their Nick does that will decide much of the game.

Of course, the ultimate outcome will depend on who wins the battle of the clutch: Taylor or Collison?

Prediction:

Part of me feels like UCLA is going to run away with this one following an aggressive press early in both halves.

But the other thinks that UCLA's lack of interior play coupled with our match-up with Shipp will lead us to an upset.

WSU 64 UCLA 59

Enjoy (remember how Oregon looked yesterday? That's us next year, so ENJOY!!!)



Nice win tonight.

In winning, we sealed an NIT bid.

Now, its onto UCLA.

Tomorrow should be fun. We're playing with house money now.


9 comments:

Sedihawk said...

Very nice. They did what they had to do against a 10-seed, get that nice 16-6 early lead and never look back. Hope they aren't tight tonight. Might as well be nice and loose. They have likely secured that NIT bid, so the season will live on even if they lose. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN though! I used to despise the conference tourney idea, but now, I can't help but love it.

AtlantaCoug said...

We only despise the tourney when there is no benefit (like being a lock for the tourney!)
Funny how winning a game makes all right with the world. Only problem I see with the 4 games in 4 day format is that we only enjoy this for 24 hours. Unless we shock the world again...

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you Sedi--

How can you request that your readers stop trashing Kopravica? Is it any different than trashing Alex Brink? Your own writer, "BH" formerly "Brinkhater," made a living trashing another guy who sucked. (i don't mean to start another Brink discussion, that's not my point.)

My point is what's the damn difference? Kopravica is the worst excuse for a Pac 10 player that the Coug bench has seen in a decade. He is just killing our chances. I can only hope that TB reads this blog and gets a clue, because for some reason he hasnt gotten it yet.

Your request seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me. Everybody knows he shouldn't be playing. So why cant we say so?

Soze said...

If I could change my name to KoprivicaHater I would, so I feel qualified to answer this question.

He sucks, but I agree with the Sedi. What does bitching and moaning about it accomplish? All it did was start a war of words between Cougs which I don't think ANYONE was a fan of. (I apologize Big Wood)

As far as tonight goes, lets hope he gets 15 minutes and limits his mistakes against a team that I do think we can beat. The Cougs need a large dose of Baynes' offense, Casto's defense, and T's timely shooting. We also need 15 from Klay from here on out in order to win. I'm going to go out on a limb here... Cougs 68 - Bruins 66.

(BH - please pick against us--in print... it worked so well the past month.)

sedihawk said...

Hey Anonymous, I get what you are saying. But I think I am officially misunderstood on that post about cooling it on Koprivica. Let me explain.

I didn't say don't criticize the guy. He is a big boy, he can take it (not that he would take it from us as he doesn't know we exist I'm sure!). But what I said was that it was ENOUGH in that there were several comments trashing the guy already. The horse in this case was thoroughly beaten, and it was time to move on.

Again, I/we have no problem with the criticisms. It comes with the territory. We always have and always will encourage comments, even as anonymous or whatever name you want. But when there are like 10 comments just repeatedly saying the same thing, I thought that was good enough and we should move on. I wasn't protecting him or trying to tell anyone what they should think.

But today is a new day. You may fire when ready!

'03CouveCoug said...

Oh, come on...we'll NEVER look like the quacks did last night as long as Tony Bennett is coach. The kids playing for U of O had no more discipline at either end of the floor last night than they did in November at the Maui Invitational. It's like Ernie taught them nothing, or the players learned nothing (or both). That flat won't EVER happen with TB at the helm.

At the very least, next year we may be challenged offensively, but continue to hang our hats on the defensive side of the floor(great analysis, I know). That alone will get us 4-6 wins when you figure that we won't have to deal with the likes of Harden & Pendergraph @ ASU, Wise, Hill & Budinger @ UA, Brockman & Dentmon @ UW, DeRozan and Gibson @ USC, hell, even Schaftenaar @ OSU.

Let's not freak out about next year until this year is over, BH.

As for tonight, if we get production inside from Baynes and (to a lesser degree, Casto) that will allow our shooters to eventually get good looks, we’ll get enough offense to have a chance. If we can limit Collison some (you can’t expect to shut him down completely) and keep him from destroying us by getting into the lane for layups or kick outs to open shooters (Shipp, Dragovic), we’ll be in good shape on the defensive end.

I really like our chances tonight.

Anonymous said...

I agree...I do not see us as bad as the 2008-2009 Oregon Ducks next year....Klay will get more green light to shoot (can you say 18-20ppg? - leading scorer in Pac-10 within 2yrs I would bet), Capers will develop that J, and I believe the wild card is Casto who will improve significantly offensively and show all the nay-sayers who believe he will always be an offensive liability...also, who knows who we might pick up from JCs/etc??....finally, there are plenty of kids currently on the bench as well who look forward to opportunities to shoot the rock next season and who knows who will emerge as next year's Forrest??
I think we will be decent next season...especially when you consider who in the pac-10 is leaving as well......

Billyblaze
Reno, NV

BH said...

Do I think we'll be AS BAD as Oregon this year? Nope.

But look at Oregon's trajectory: Elite Eight two years ago.

NCAA last year.

This year, the toilet.

Granted, our future--especially two years from now--looks special.

But this year, we've had a lot of games that really MEAN something.

I don't see that happening next year.

That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

No time like the present to start looking like Oregon 08-09. Yuck.