How they got in: Won the Pac-10
Good wins: Arizona (2); once at home, once in Pac-10 championship game
Bad losses: Oregon State (RPI 219); Stanford (RPI 160); Oregon (RPI 135). All on the road.
Key players: G Isaiah Thomas, F Matthew Bryan-Amaning, G Venoy Overton, C Aziz N’Diaye
So, what do we know? Washington, who was expected to contend for the Pac-10 title, struggles in the season. They had a couple of key injuries which has allowed for the son of the former NBA great to step up and be the team leader as a Junior. They won the Pac-10 tourney with their best defensive guard on the bench for rules violations. That same guard has shown propensity to take possessions off, allowing for easy lane penetration for quick guards.
Washington loves to run and gun. They thrive on the transition game and will work to get the game in the 80+ point range. They were 3rd in the nation in ppg at 83.5 and scored over 100 six times. In their 10 losses, the Huskies averaged 68.3 ppg. As a result, they give up over 70ppg. Furthermore, they are a fantastic offensive rebounding team, but are pedestrian at defensive rebounds. Nearly all of that is due to Bryan-Amaning's hustle and N'Diaye being 7 feet tall. Limiting them second chance points is huge.
Washington's defense isn't particularly imposing, since they aren't that great at the zone. They count on strong pressure and tight man to man defense to create turnover opportunities. Keeping Ware as your primary ball handler and using Robinson's speed to keep them off balance, as opposed to using Robinson's speed to be the primary ball handler, will be useful. Georgia has gotten better at handling the press, especially in full court pressure situations. They have to keep that up. We also have to worry about traps in the half court. There are opportunities if we can effectively manage those, as traps tend to leave some combination of Leslie/Price/Trey/the other guard open, which is what Mark Fox's offense is designed to do. We have to leverage those opportunities and get points when we do beat their half court trap/press defense. We cannot get into a 3pt shooting contest with them, unless we are running the full time off the clock and get a very good, uncontested look.
Washington is very effective at scoring points when they get the ball, ranking 9th in the nation in points per possession. In order for Georgia to win, they absolutely have to focus on keeping Washington playing the game Georgia wants to. The Dawgs cannot get into a running game with them like they did against Notre Dame. If they beat us scoring while 63 points, so be it. We cannot win this game if they score 80+ points. It'd be nice to say we should be able to jump to a lead and keep Washington out of it because they haven't shown the ability to play from behind, but I wouldn't root against any team coming back on Georgia this year.
Random stat that might matter: Washington is tied for 54th in the nation in fouls per game at 20.6. Teams are getting to the line on them. Getting N'Diaye and Bryan-Amaning in foul trouble is a bonus, as there is a drop off when you get to their bench, but the points and slowing down the game is huge against them. If Georgia is to win, they have to hit the front end of one and ones. Those are gift points and also keeps the Huskies out of possible transition point opportunities. If Georgia gets to the line 22+ times and hits 17+ of them, I like out chances. If we don't and give the ball back over without an inbound pass while not getting anything in return, I don't.