Preview: Redhawks host Idaho in first conference battle in decades

29 Dec

It was the 1979-80 season, to be exact, the last time Seattle University took part in a Division-I conference game.

Since then, the Redhawks have floated through basketball independence, the NAIA, Division II, and back up to Division I as an independent. And tonight, against regional “rivals” Idaho, Seattle U returns to its rightful position as a full-fledged D-I member.

The Redhawks have a lot of history to be proud of. Making the national championship game in 1958 against Kentucky, making the NCAA tournament 11 times in 17 seasons, beating the Harlem Globetrotters. Defeating Idaho at home wouldn’t quite be in the same echelon, but it would be a hugely important moment in program history regardless.

As for the game itself, it should be a good one. Idaho and Seattle are pretty closely matched.

The two schools share two common opponents in Eastern Washington and Boise State. Each beat the Eagles on the road in a close contest (Idaho knocked them off by 2 in overtime) and dropped a decision to the Broncos (Seattle at home, Idaho on a neutral court). Both have average-ish records without a standout win.

Idaho has also been somewhat of a bogey team for the Redhawks in recent seasons. The teams have played home-and-home series in the past three years, and the Vandals have taken 5 out of 6.

Keeping that from becoming 6 out of 7 will be difficult, as Seattle doesn’t really have a good matchup for Vandals center Kyle Barone. The big man averages nearly 16 points and 8 boards per game. Seattle’s best bigs are small forwards or undersized 4’s (Clarence Trent and Deshaun Sunderhaus) and asking either to match up against the 6’10” senior Barone is a big ask.

The Vandals don’t have the guard depth Seattle U can run out. Neither do they shoot the ball from outside particularly well. Their only deep threat is Connor Hill, and other than him, no Vandal has hit 10 treys this season. So pressing, while going zone and packing it in on occasion, might not be a bad strategy.

This is a winnable game. This is the type of game that good teams win in-conference and at home. It has the potential to be a huge moment in the rebuilding of Seattle University basketball. Here’s hoping the Redhawks can keep calm, stay focused and rise to the occasion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: