Huskies Insider Blog

Some quick postgame thoughts on Washington's 86-80 loss to Duke

Three quick thoughts ...

1. Washington might be better playing small. It's not as though they have a dominant post presence, or exactly great defensively in the post with both Darnell Gant and Aziz N'Diaye on the floor. So maybe going small and spreading the floor would be better. They've got guys that can put the ball on the floor and get around guys. The spacing would allow dribble drives and kicks to open shooters. Will they get beat up on the boards? Yes. But they aren't a great rebounding team with the big guys out there. We saw them go four guards, and I think we will see it more. Can they do it all the time? No. But in spurts when they need to going offensively or get a shooter going, it may be ideal.

2. They need more from Darnell Gant. Now don't mistake me, I'm not asking for more offense. In fact, Gant's offensive role should be limited to finishes off of passes in transition or from teammates' dribble penetration, wide open 3s and passes to open shooters off of post-ups. He should never be a focal point of the offense.  What they need more from his is better leadership and consistency on the boards and defensively. He's the only senior on the team with Scott Suggs redshirting. Four rebounds in a game simply doesn't cut it. Yes, he's not a true post, but you are 6-9 and you have to do more. The defensive lapses are also frustrating for Romar, who yanked him out of the game today for missing a rotation. He's played a ton of his games in his career, and those are mistakes he shouldn't make.

3. It's going to be this way with Tony Wroten for much of the season. He will tantalize you one minute and he will make you want jab an ice pick into your temple the next. Offensively, the second half was his most prolonged stretch of good basketball this season. Yes, he only goes left, and Duke knew it and still couldn't stop him. It was more of a controlled aggression. Defensively, he still gambles too much and for some reason gives up on plays. He's not going to turn into Justin Holiday overnight. Who knows, he may never be a great defender. But he can still marginally improve to being a capable defender. The rate of that growth is up to him.