Through the first three weekends of Pac-12 play, the Washington Huskies are 4-1 and tied for first place, just like everyone thought.
That’s a joke, of course, because the Huskies were picked in the preseason media poll to finish 11th this season, and entered the league slate with more nonconference losses -- four -- than all but three other Pac-12 teams.
Yet here they are, already only one Pac-12 win shy of their 2014-15 total, despite a minus-19 point differential.
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Some assorted thoughts on the Huskies’ start ...
--- Andrew Andrews is having the best season by a UW guard since ... well, that’s actually turning into a pretty interesting question.
Here’s what Andrews has done through 17 games so far this season:
21.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.0 apg, 39.7 FG%, 40.0 3FG%, 82.8 FT%, 32.8 MPG, 2.8 TOPG
And here are the full-season stat lines from some of the best to play for Lorenzo Romar at Washington, in chronological order.
Nigel Williams-Goss, 2014-15
15.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.9 apg, 44.2 FG%, 25.6 3FG%, 76.3 FT%, 36.8 MPG, 2.8 TOPG
C.J. Wilcox, 2013-14
18.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 45.3 FG%, 39.1 3FG%, 87.3 FT%, 34.9 MPG, 1.7 TOPG
Terrence Ross, 2011-12
16.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 45.7 FG%, 37.1 3FG%, 76.6 FT%, 31.1 MPG, 2.0 TOPG
Tony Wroten, 2011-12
16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 44.3 FG%, 16.1 3FG%, 58.3 FT%, 30.3 MPG, 3.8 TOPG
Isaiah Thomas, 2010-11
16.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 6.1 apg, 44.5 FG%, 33.9 3FG%, 71.9 FT%, 31.9 MPG, 3.0 TOPG
Quincy Pondexter, 2009-10
19.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.8 apg, 52.8 FG%, 35.3 3FG%, 82.7 FT%, 32.3 MPG, 1.9 TOPG
Brandon Roy, 2005-06
20.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 53.7 FG%, 40.2 3FG%, 81.0 FT%, 31.7 MPG, 2.3 TOPG
Nate Robinson, 2004-05
16.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, 46.3 FG%, 38.5 3FG%, 78.2 FT%, 31.5 MPG, 2.0 TOPG
This obviously isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison -- some of those guys played point guard, some played off the ball, and Pondexter was more of a small forward -- but simply a reminder that what Andrews is doing this season is pretty unique. Romar has only had one player average 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game for a full season, and that guy’s number is hanging from the Hec Ed rafters. And Andrews is now the only player in Romar’s tenure to score 30 or more points in five games in his career. And he’s doing all of this with a starting lineup that consists of four freshmen and a rotation that includes exactly zero other players who appeared in a Division 1 basketball game before this season.
The caveat, of course, is that the season isn’t over. In fact, it’s barely half over. Andrews has to play a bunch more games against really good Pac-12 competition, so maintaining his averages won’t be easy. But if he keeps up his recent play, it will be time to consider his legacy as one of Romar’s great guards.
--- Dominic Green was a bit of a pleasant surprise on Saturday, giving the Huskies 20 quality minutes off the bench and showing some pretty solid effort on the defensive end. He also made a big 3-pointer and another long jumper from the corner that was scored a two.
Romar and Andrews both praised Green’s effort and energy during practice, and it’s worth wondering now if he’s close to playing his way into the rotation. Have to think Romar would prefer to go eight-deep, if he feels Green can handle that kind of duty, rather than stick with seven.
--- David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle continue to show a flair for the dramatic. Each hit a pair of big 3-pointers in the second half on Saturday, and Thybulle’s 3 from out top with a minute left was the shot that forced ASU into urgency mode (which actually suited the Sun Devils well for a couple of possessions). Thybulle looks a lot more polished, offensively, than most people probably expected.
--- Dejounte Murray scored 19 points and had nine rebounds, and hit a big 3-pointer of his own. Easy to forget after what Andrews did, but another big game for the freshman.
--- The Huskies’ inability to avoid foul trouble is going to catch up with them eventually. It’s kind of incredible that it hasn’t already. Once again, Marquese Chriss, Noah Dickerson and Malik Dime racked up fouls early and often, and both Dime and Chriss fouled out. Romar says the only way for them to learn how to avoid such trouble is to keep playing, and continue to learn what they can and can’t get away with. Here’s a thought: might we see the Huskies play more zone in the future to protect their young frontcourt players? It was an effective look in the first half against Arizona, and can be a real weapon if mixed in every now and then. Granted, the Huskies’ identity is constructed around their attacking man-to-man, but they’re in foul trouble so often that it might not be a bad idea.
On to some links from the weekend ...
--- Here’s my game story, leading, obviously, with Andrews’ 30-point, 12-assist performance on a sprained ankle.
Here are the radio highlights from UW play-by-play man Bob Rondeau.
And the video highlights:
And David Crisp having some fun at the airport.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple