Ask 10, 50 100, or maybe even a thousand people and chances are slim that any of them would know a single thing about the Great Danes of Albany, let alone where the University of Albany is.
On Tuesday evening, the Great Danes opened eyes of NCAA fans and Huskies faithful with a 63-62 upset of the Washington Huskies, a PAC-12 team, at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Was it really an upset though? Or is this something that could be the norm this season for Lorenzo Romar‘s club? It is widely known that the Huskies roster is void of superstar talent and leadership. Yes they have a number of experienced players, in terms of their duration on campus, but that does not necessarily equate to being a leader.
Talent? Yes there is C.J. Wilcox and potentially Andrew Andrews and Abdul Gaddy, but if Wilcox has an off night, as he did on Tuesday when he went only made five of his 15 shots, who is ready to step up?
All coaches say that a great defense will more often than not lead to a successful offense. The problem on Tuesday was the fact that the Huskies defense was extremely lacking in aggressiveness, communication, and execution.
Maybe as with the casual observer, the Husky players and coaching staff overlooked the Great Danes in preparation of playing the Seton Hall Pirates and possibly the Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend.
There is nothing wrong with starting the season 1-1 at home. However, when the loss comes to a lesser opponent, people are going to start talking and pointing fingers fairly or unfairly. The best thing to come from this early season loss is that it opens everyone’s eyes for the rest of the season.
Heading out on a two game road trip this weekend, the Huskies will have a chance to get away from the pressures of the home crowd. On the road in enemy territory is where defenses learn to band together, shooters build their confidence after hitting big shots and certain players step up to the plate and show their leadership qualities to help the team come together against the odds.
For the Washington Huskies to be successful this weekend, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to win both of their games, but continued strong play from Abdul Gaddy (17 and 16 points in his first two games this season) along with another double double from Aziz N’Daiye (10pts, 16reb vs Loyola and 13pts, 11rebs vs Albany) will go a long way to helping get the team back on track.
If the Huskies can return to the Washington campus with a well played 1-1 record before they start a seven in eight game home stand (actually all eight are in Seattle, the game against Seattle University is at Key Arena), all may be forgotten from Tuesday night.
Should they return 0-2 and struggle, the Dawg pound’s bark may be worse than its bite!