One of the best athletes in the NBA today resides in his home town of Seattle, WA. Nate Robinson, the reigning three time slam dunk champion was recently signed by the Golden State Warriors and has been putting up big numbers in the absence of Stephen Curry. The 5’9” scoring guard is averaging 13 points per game, but came up as an emotional spark to lead the Warriors to victory over the Miami Heat scoring a season high 24 points. What he lacks in size, he makes up in toughness and dedication, often playing with a chip on his shoulders. Nate has a documentary series called “State of Nate” where he has recapped his time spent during the NBA Lockout. It shows there is more to him than what is shown on the court. In this episode, Robinson and Tacoma Native Isaiah Thomas prepare for a season by staying in shape and doing what got them to the league, ballin’. http://stateofnate.com/
Washington (4-2) vs. 16 Marquette (7-0)
Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
6:00 p.m. P.T- ESPN
Huskies travel to the Big Apple to take on the Golden Eagles in the Jimmy V Classic. The two game annual tournament is in its 16th year of existence, tipping off for the first time in 1995. Jim Valvano, the late coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack passed away from bone cancer in 1993. This was weeks after he gave one of the most memorable speeches in sports history after winning an ESPY award. Proceeds go to the funding of cancer research. Jim Valvano\’s ESPY Speech
The fiesty Washington squad is coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Nevada in which they led all game. Turnovers are becoming the telling story for this young team as of late. Aside from these mistakes, they have done exceptionally well on offense. A typical Romar team is going to key in on every rebound. As a matter of fact, UW leads the Pac 12 in rebounding, grabbing 42 rebounds a game and 13 on the offensive end. A team that rebounds well will score more. Averaging 81 points per game, the Huskies rank 22nd in the country and first in the Pac 12, led by three players scoring in double figures, Terrence Ross (16.2 ppg), C.J. Wilcox (15.3), and Tony Wroten Jr. (13.0).
Marquette is coming off an upset victory against the in state rival No. 9 Wisconsin, led by senior star Darius Johnson-Odom. He and Jae Crowder have been a problem for defenses all season. The duo puts up a staggering 36 ppg (Johnson-Odom 19.4 and Crowder 16.9) out of 84 ppg which the team averages, ranking 11th in the country and first in the Big East.
The last time these teams faced each other, it left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Golden Eagles. They jumped out to a double digit lead in the second half of the 2010 East Regional NCAA tournament game. On the backs on Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter, UW came back to tie the game at 78. With one second left on the clock, Pondexter drove to the hoop pass Lazard Hayward to scope in the game winning layup. Dawgs upset Golden Eagles 80-78.
Marquette has and will play many more games at MSG due to it being the home of the Big East conference tournament. They are no strangers to the bright lights. As for Washington, they have a great chance to show their progress are on a national stage. However, road and neutral site struggles have been well documented. Coach Romar always finds a way to win the “must win” games. This game will be the Huskies biggest test of the season thus far.
The keys to the game for both teams will be rebounding and three pointers. They both like to get up and down the floor so expect an abundance of points and a lot of jump shots. Who ever controls the glass will control the game. Keep an eye on the Darius Johnson-Odom vs. Terrence Ross match-up. Both individuals are getting high praise from NBA scouts and like to turn it on when they know people are watching. We will see which star player shines the brightest.
Prediction: Washington wins a close one.