After Abdul Gaddy’s sophomore season came to an abrupt end last month when the sophomore point guard tore his acl, the general consensus seemed to be that his loss was going to hurt this Washington team.
Maybe the injury, which has allowed Isaiah Thomas to move to the primary point guard role, was just the jump start that the Huskies star junior needed to his season.
Thomas was sensational again on Thursday in Washington’s statement, 85-68 win over Arizona in Seattle. He had 22 points on 7-12 shooting, six rebounds, 10 assists, and, most importantly, just one turnover. In his last six games, five of which came without Gaddy, Thomas is averaging 19.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 9.3 apg.
That stretch has allowed the Huskies to jump out to a 6-1 record in league play and, despite a hiccup at Stanford last week, assert themselves as the dominant force in the Pac-10. Arizona is a good basketball team, and, with the exception of a run to open the second half that got them the lead for all of one possession, they were pretty thoroughly beaten by the Huskies. A big reason for that was the in-and-out that Derrick Williams had to do as he battled foul trouble. He had 22 points and 11 boards, but he did not look as dominant as that stat line would make you believe.
The question we have to ask about the Huskies is whether or not this team is as good as <a href=”http://www.kenpom.com”>Kenpom</a> says (5th in the country in efficiency ratings) or closer to the 20th best team, as our nation of astute voters has determined.
Tonight, they looked like both.
This is a fun team to watch. Matthew Bryan-Amaning is a powerful force in the middle that can put down thunderous dunks with the best of them, but he has a tendency to miss the bunnies that he is forced to use the back board on. There are a number of options on the wing for this team and a number of good three point shooters, but they can hit dry spells like they did tonight, going 7-23 from beyond the arc.
In other words, this is a talented but inconsistent bunch.
Its part of the reason that they lost games to Michigan State, Kentucky, and Texas A&M this season.
The Huskies didn’t play their best game on Thursday night. They slogged their way through the first 35 or so minutes. But they still managed to control the game against the Pac-10’s second best team and used an impressive surge to close out the game.
When this team gets it going, they are going to be able to play with just about anyone in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hot Washington team playing for the right to go to the Final Four.
If things aren’t going well, they could very well end up being a first round casualty.
But hey, isn’t that part of what makes March Madness so great?