Pac-12 Tournament: 5 Keys to the Huskies Knocking Off the Cougars


Mar 3, 2013, Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Abdul Gaddy (0) makes a buzzer-beater layup against the Washington State Cougars to end the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Some bullet points to describe what it will take for the Washington Huskies to advance to round 2 of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.

  • Pressure to Start Both Halves

Washington has no doubt gone back and studied their tape of Washington State from 2 weeks ago, when they took over late in the game to secure a 72-68 victory at Hec Ed Pavilion in Seattle. However, the Cougs have changed their offense even since that game and shredded UCLA (who then went in and beat Washington to win the Pac-12 regular season Title) and USC. With the new slowed down approach of WSU, the Huskies would do well to see how at least 3/4 court pressure affect the Cougars.

Not only will this hopefully (for UW) speed up the game, but WSU’s pressure passing has been generally suspect this season. When either of the L.A. teams did decide to pressure, they did pretty well for stretches with 3 or 4 quick steals and consecutive buckets before WSU figured it out. Pressuring early in both halves will allow the Huskies to possibly get an early run before the Cougs settle in.

  • Scott Suggs Point Production

Suggs scored 23, along with his wing-man Chris Wilcox against in the last meeting between these two. Suggs struggled for most of the season but has come on in the last couple weeks. Not coincidentally, the Huskies have played much better in that time. He needs to post a 15 spot for his team in this one cause the Cougs are suddenly scoring some points.

  • Hit Jumpers

The Cougars outrebounded UCLA 46-23 and then USC 43-28, playing a more condensed style of defense. Presumably, they will continue to play condensed with N’Diaye down low so it’s going to be key that Washington’s guards hit jumpers consistently throughout the night.

  • Some Aziz N’Diaye Dominance

The big man has disappeared at times for the Huskies throughout his career in the biggest games and when he does they have a difficult time winning. While he’s been much better this season, he’s going to have to come through if the Dawgs want to win, especially defensively. This tournament is his opportunity set himself as some sort of Husky legend.

  • Penetration

It would be a big thing for UW if they can get some penetration into the middle of the Coug defense again. Generally I would say their going to do it, as Wilcox is a good one-on-one creator. However the Cougars will almost assuredly start out in their condensed matchup zone, which makes it even more imperative that the Huskies probe inside.