Just before the first half buzzer of the Stanford game Saturday, Isaiah Thomas pulled up about 26 feet from the basket and chucked in a dagger of a three point shot. Made me think of a comment he’d made after Thursday’s Cal game. Asked about the Dawgs’ improved three-point shooting, Thomas said: “I think it has a lot to do with the home court.”
Makes sense, the idea that the Huskies would shoot better at Hec Ed. They practice at Hec Ed, they play pickup at Hec Ed, they probably spend more time in that one building than they do in their dorm rooms. You’d figure they’d shoot a much higher percentage from long-range in this comfort zone than in an unfamiliar arena a plane ride away.
Not true, though. In Pac-10 play this year, the Huskies are shooting 35% from three in road games. At Hec Ed, they’re making 38%. Sure, that’s slightly better, but not significantly so. If the Dawgs had hit just six more of their 176 road attempts, the percentages would be even.
But Thomas thinks he’s a better shooter at home. So I wonder — if that same situation happens on the road, or in some neutral site like, oh, say Houston’s Reliant Stadium, site of the 2011 Final Four, does Thomas take the shot?
The other time this comes into play is when Thomas is experiencing a “cold shooting night.” Against Stanford, he missed his first 4 three point attempts — then hit 4 of his last 6. I wonder: On the road, does Thomas even take those last 6 shots? Or does he decide that he’s not sure whether the building is a problem. In the loss at Oregon, Thomas missed three of his first four three point attempts. After the fourth attempt, a miss with 18:56 left in the second half, Thomas went 17 minutes without attempting another one.
Three-point shooting is such a weapon for the Dawgs, they must stay aggressive if they want a chance to take those three attempts in Houston.
What they’re saying…
“They made me mad. They were just talking a little bit and I just felt like I had to turn it up to end the half.” — Isaiah Thomas
“The level of expectations has to go up. It will be high.” — Eric Wedge
“Im not going to rush it. I want to pitch for another 10 or 15 years.” — David Aardsma
In other news…
Pitchers and catchers reported to Mariners camp on Sunday, and right away we had bad news. Closer David Aardsma sounds very pessimistic that he’ll be back in April, like M’s coaches had been saying.
M’s pitching coach Carl Willis says whoever closes in April, it’s not likely to be a rookie. “I don’t think it’s fair to be pushing an inexperienced guy into that role right away,” says Willis. So that would leave you with Brandon League, or non-roster invitees Chris Ray or Manny DelCarmen. Start growing out your fingernails now, folks!
Former Pirates and Seattle Angels manager Chuck Tanner died at 82.
Eric Wedge drives a Jaguar convertible, reports Kirby Arnold. TNT’s Ryan Divish writes that Wedge is like John Wayne (In which case he should probably drive a horse, but whatever).
Arizona beat Arizona St. 67-52 last night to stay 1.5 games ahead of the Dawgs in the Pac-10.
The Pac-10 announced they’ll revamp their football officiating program. Let’s hope basketball officiating isn’t far behind.
Isaiah Thomas is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Award.
You’re going to want to check out Wayne Rooney’s ridiculous goal against Manchester City.
Nothing of note — thanks sports schedulers, for giving us a conflict-free Valentine’s Day.