Posted by AMurawa on January 31st, 2012
Team of the Week
Washington – The Huskies vaulted themselves into a first place tie in the Pac-12 on the strength of a road sweep of the Arizona schools. For a team that has struggled on the road in recent years (they were 10-15 on the road in the last three seasons, prior to this weekend), this weekend not only kept the Huskies on pace for a conference title, but it should give their young squad (the team is #296 in the nation in terms of years of experience) some much-needed confidence for the road tests that still lie ahead, specifically trips to the Oregon and Los Angeles schools, as well as a jaunt east to face Washington State. The Huskies were far from perfect this weekend, as they nearly coughed up a late lead against Arizona and their six-point win over Arizona State wasn’t exactly inspiring, but simply winning games on the road is a significant accomplishment. Plus, their defensive intensity was fairly consistent and they held their two opponents to just 0.93 points per possession on the road trip. All things considered, it was a strong weekend for the Huskies that not only put them in excellent shape in the Pac-12 race, but also put them back on the radar as far as a potential NCAA at-large bid is concerned.
After A Road Sweep, Washington Finds Itself Tied For First At The Halfway Mark (photo credit: Paul Connors, Associated Press)
Player of the Week
Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon State – The Beavers only played one game this weekend, but Cunningham was spectacular in it – or, he was spectacular in half of it, at least. After scoring just three points in a lackluster first half that found his team trailing by five with just 23 points on the board, Cunningham got a serious wake-up call at halftime and exploded for 24 points in the second half. He made five of his eight second-half field goal attempts, including two-of-three from deep, and made 12 of 15 free throws, including several down the stretch, to help put away Oregon. Most importantly, he helped his team come away with a win, bringing them back to within a game of .500 on the season, and in doing so, he renewed his candidacy for the conference Player of the Year award.
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