This may finally be the season Washington solves its Sweet 16 problem. Instead of having ’98, ’05, ’06, ’09 and ’10 looming as would-be trips to the Elite Eight, Lorenzo Romar’s team seems primed to finally play for a Final Four spot.
This Todd Dybas column illustrates why Washington’s on such a roll right now (hint: It rhymes with tooting) with its potent mix of guards and athletic forwards. They score efficiently, play defense and push the pace.
If you haven’t seen ‘em play yet, I highly recommend dialing in Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.
The only issue? Starting center. Not the production at center, where Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N’Diaye form a potent shot blocking-rebounding combo. But for some reason, whoever starts doesn’t produce. The one who comes off the bench does.
In the past three games as a backup, [Bryan-Amaning] ha’s averaged 15.6 points and 4.3 rebounds while Washington (6-2) beat Long Beach State by 27, Texas Tech by 29 and Portland by 22.
In the previous three games at the Maui Invitational, Bryan-Amaning averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds and UW was 1-2 against Virginia, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 7 Michigan State.
… While Bryan-Amaning has thrived as a backup, N’Diaye, a 7-foot sophomore, has regressed as a starter.
After stellar performances at the Maui Invitational, including a 10-rebound, 5-block game against Kentucky, he’s averaging 2.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in the past three games.
What’s the deal? Nobody knows. Bryan-Amaning doesn’t mind because he’s still playing a chunk of minutes and late in games. N’Diaye’s adjusting to various offensive sets and defensive nuances. Either way, Romar doesn’t care as long as they produce.
At this point, why mess with what works? Keep bringing Bryan-Amaning off the bench unless N’Diaye needs to rest his weary knees.
“It’s early in the year, still learning each other,” Romar said. “We’re getting better at it than we were the first week of practice.”
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