A lot of teams talk about how they worry about themselves rather than the opponent.
Well, the 5-11 Seattle University Redhawks take that idea to the extreme.
It's hard to find any rhyme or reason to the Redhawks' wins and losses and their last four games illustrate that well - after losing in Cheney to Eastern Washington, they came home to lose to San Jose State by 16, then went to Charlottesville to beat ACC opponent Virginia by 6, and returned west to start 2011 with a 20 point loss at Pepperdine.
Tonight they bring it full circle and try to re-establish themselves at KeyArena in a rematch against Eastern Washington.
Of course, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Washington Huskies have already taken turns running EWU, but there will be a major difference between EWU team that visits KeyArena tonight and the one that previously came to Seattle to visit Hec Ed.
Men's Basketball Set for Rematch With EWU at KeyArena - Seattle University Redhawks Athletics
SCOUTING EASTERN WASHINGTON: The Eagles come into Thursday's game with a 4-9 overall record. Eastern Washington has yet to win a road game, going 0-6 away from home so far this season. The Eagles are scoring 73.1 points per game and giving up 76.7 points per contest. As a team, Eastern Washington is shooting 42.1 percent from the field, including 35.9 percent from behind the three-point line, and 64.0 percent from the free throw line. Jeffrey Forbes leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game, helped in part by a .891 free throw shooting percentage, tied for 29th in Division I. Since coming back from an early-season injury, Glen Dean has been averaging 13.5 points per game. Cliff Ederaine, the only Eagle to start every game so far this season, is contributing 9.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots per game.
It should go without saying that a team that now has its second-leading scorer in Dean back from injury will be a bit better than the won that looked shell-shocked in Hec Ed.
Players to watch:
Glen Dean, G (5-foot-10, 170 pounds, So.)
In addition to being the team's second leading scorer, Dean is also the type of player that would have helped a bit in EWU's turnover fest against UW - he is the team's most efficient ball handler in the rotation. As Seattle U likes to put impose a mix of aggressive pressure defenses on opponents, Dean's presence will be significant. In addition, Dean gets to the free throw line at a significantly higher rate than the other guards, which will give them a different sort of perimeter attack.
Kevin Winford, G (5-foot-11, 170 pounds, So.)
Against UW, Winford was the guy who stepped up when Washington shut down leading scorer Jeffrey Forbes. Winford stepped up against UW in the second half after Romar made a few adjustments. He showed then that he can get hot in spurts and is the team's second-best three point shooter (38.8 percent) behind Forbes (43.8 percent).
Key statistical battleground: turnovers
Again, Eastern Washington is going to be better with keeping the ball in their possession with the return of Dean.
Nevertheless, the one glaring statistical difference between these teams is that Seattle U forces turnovers significantly more often than EWU.
And a sloppy grudge match would be nothing new for the Redhawks.