Surprise team of the Pac-12 awaits arrival of Washington


TOP OF THE TOWN – Washington visits the surprise team of the Pac-12 Thursday night (6 p.m.). Stanford  (12-2, 1-0 in Pac-12)  has the best record among conference teams, with its losses coming to 6th-ranked Butler by one point (Butler played most of the game without its second-leading scorer and rebounder, 6-6 Sean McDermott, who injured an ankle in the first half), and to 3rd-ranked Kansas 72-56. From just that standpoint it will be a tough challenge for the Huskies, who are 11-4 and 1-1 in conference play after beating up on USC 72-40 last Sunday. But if the Huskies revert to their helter-skelter play that has been more the norm then it will be a real tough contest for them. They often go faster than their thought process and that results in numerous and unnecessary turnovers that impede the obvious talent and size they have. The Huskies reached a season low when they got upset by UCLA at home 66-64 in their conference opener. Talented freshman Jaden McDaniels played just 13 minutes in the game because of fouls and the Huskies looked disjointed against UCLA’s tough man-to-man defense. But against USC the Huskies changed everything around and lived up to the preseason hype surrounding the team. They played well together for a change and coach Mike Hopkins used the 6-9 McDaniels and the 6-6 Nahziah Carter, a human Mexican jumping bean, more down low and the result was a stifling defensive pressure around the rim that took away USC’s big men and didn’t allow for many open shots within five feet of the basket. McDaniels responded with six blocked shots, two off the school record, and the Huskies totaled 12 on the night. If the Huskies repeat what they did to USC they have a good chance against Stanford, but they will have to contend with Cardinal 6-3 junior point guard Daejon Davis, who prepped at Seattle’s Garfield High School and scored 20 points against California in Stanford’s last game, a 68-52 win. Stanford plays well together and that is the bugaboo that has kept back the Huskies from showing its best side. … I kind of feel sorry for Mike McCarthy. He’s a good football coach who finally was cut loose in Green Bay because the tension between him and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers became just too much to ignore. Now McCarthy is going from the fire to the frying pan by taking the head coaching position with the Dallas Cowboys.  No Dallas coach really has a firm grip on coaching the Cowboys as long as owner Jerry Jones is around. Jones is the team’s general manager as well as owner and he meddles in everything. Jones has done an incredible job of making the Cowboys into a franchise that is worth zillions of dollars. He’s a marketing whiz. But the Cowboys are much more than just an NFL football team. It’s a cult-like feeling surrounding the franchise and playing football is almost secondary to what is going on. So a football coach has to put up with so much more than football to work with Jones and the cult atmosphere that exists. Good luck to McCarthy. He will need it. That’s it for today.

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