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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 19, 2005 at 1:00 PM

Poll data and Pac-10 rundown

The polls are out and Washington has moved up to No. 7 in the coaches poll and No. 9 in the AP poll. It is UW’s first time in the top 10 since the end of last season, when the Huskies were No. 8 the week after winning the Pac-10 tournament.
The Huskies, however, are only No. 21 in the approximations of the RPI that are out there on the ‘Net, indicative of the questioning of Washington’s schedule to date.
I’ll have more on the polls in a story in Tuesday’s paper.
Next up
Next for UW is Lehigh on Friday night. Here’s a story on their most recent game, a win over Monmouth, the team that gained fame last week for beating Princeton 41-21 a couple days later.
Pac-10 marathon
I woke up to UCLA-Michigan Saturday and fell asleep just as Stanford and Virginia Tech ended – OK, I did watch a little “Saturday Night Live,” a show that’s fallen about as fast as the Pac-10, if what I saw is any indication.
A few thoughts, then, on a day spent in front of the TV.
• This might have been the best day for the year for the Pac-10 with UCLA winning at Michigan, Arizona clobbering Utah on the road, Oregon State beating Georgia on a neutral court, and even the Cougars getting to 6-2 by routing Portland at home. But Stanford and Oregon still appear to have a lot of problems, the Cardinal much more than anyone else.
Virginia Tech just out-toughed the Cardinal at the end of the game – and since when has that been Stanford’s weakness? Stanford is 2-4 and almost out of the NCAA picture already, barring doing something that seems inexplicable, like going 14-4 in Pac-10 play or winning the conference tournament. Remember, one of Stanford’s remaining non-conference games is a Feb. 11 trip to Gonzaga.
• Is any team having a stranger season so far than Oregon State? The Beavers have now beaten UNLV and Georgia and lost to Tennessee Tech and Portland.
The game, however, wasn’t a big draw and John Caznano explained why in an interesting column in the Oregonian on Sunday.
• I wasn’t surprised to see Oregon lose at New Mexico. That’s a tough place to play and I can guarantee the Huskies coaches would want no part of going there to play right now despite how they handled the Lobos in Anaheim last week. That said, sounds like the Ducks have got a lot of problems.
“We’ve got to play with more heart,” Malik Hairston was quoted in the Oregonian. This is a team that was talking deep NCAA run before the season and now is 5-4, its worst start since the 1997-98 season, Ernie Kent’s first in Eugene.
Here’s a story on the Ducks game from the Register-Guard.
• As I predicted after UW beat them, the Air Force Falcons haven’t lost since and are 9-1 and drew some notice on ESPN.com this week in Andy Katz’s column. Their record is due largely to a schedule that since UW hasn’t featured anybody of note. We’ll find out for sure how good Air Force is Dec. 28 when it hosts Georgia Tech.
• I love hearing the analysts try to excuse or mitigate just about any negative. Brent Musburger, for instance, tried to give Stanford somewhat of an out for its 19-point loss at Montana by talking about how tough the Grizzlies are. No real problem with that – Missoula’s not an easy place to play. Then Musburger talked about what Trent Johnson had told him, that this same Montana team had played Washington in the NCAA tournament last March and came back to make a run at the Huskies.
What happened was Montana trailed by 19 early in the second half, cut the lead to nine with just over six minutes to play, then watched as UW went on a 9-2 run to put it away before cruising to an 88-77 win.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if that really qualifies as a huge comeback.
It is worth pointing out that Montana is now 8-1.
• UCLA looks like the real deal to me. The Bruins are buying into coach Ben Howland’s system and Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo may be the best backcourt in the Pac-10 outside UW. Washington’s games with them Jan. 14 in L.A. and Feb. 11 up here shape up as two of the best in the conference.
• Anyone else catch Dick Vitale say during the UCLA game that he expected the Pac-10 title to come down to the Bruins and Arizona? Maybe he just momentarily forgot about UW considering he did give the Huskies props in a column in USA Today this week.
• And I didn’t get to see the Cougars play, but I wouldn’t completely discount what they are doing. They played 10 players 10 or more minutes in beating Portland 61-46, a game they led by as much as 22. Having that much depth is critical to the way they play defense. They can get to 7-2 by beating Utah at KeyArena on Thursday.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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