Now we know why Lorenzo Romar said a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to wait until after Washington’s trip to Los Angeles to offer a real assessment of how good he thinks this team is.
Not that he saw two losses in the first three Pac-10 home games coming – I’m pretty sure he was referring mostly to wanting to see how the team would handle playing on the road.
But I think he also knew that this team had some question marks, which has become apparent in the losses to Arizona and Washington State.
Looking at a breakdown of UW’s stats in all 14 games, vs. its stats in just the three Pac-10 games, reveals some of the issues.
Lack of balanced scoring. While UW has six players averaging from 19 to eight points for the season, in Pac-10 games, the breakdown does like this – Brandon Roy 32.3, Jamaal Williams 14.0, Justin Dentmon 10.0, Bobby Jones 8.7, Ryan Appleby 5.7. The biggest decliner is Jon Brockman – 10.1 overall, 3.7 in Pac-10 games. The biggest gainer is Roy, who is at 19.1 for the season.
Poor free-throw shooting. UW is averaging 73.4 percent for the season, 69.4 percent in Pac-10 play, with misses proving critical in both losses.
Fewer turnovers forced. For all games, UW has a plus-60 margin in turnovers forced – 273 for foes, 213 for the Huskies. But in just Pac-10 games, the margin is just minus-two – 39 for foes, 37 for UW.
You get the picture.
Obviously, many of the overall stats were enhanced greatly by playing a lot of overmatched opponents, which is just the point. Now that the Huskies are consistently facing teams on their level, their numbers, and their overall play, are leveling off a bit.
Anyone wondering why the Huskies would run into some struggles this year, however, needed only watch the Sonic game Sunday.
Watching Nate Robinson help lift the Knicks to a comeback win was a reminder of how much this team lost from a year ago. Nate, Will Conroy, Tre Simmons and Hakeem Rollins added not only experience but a competitiveness that kept the Huskies from ever really dropping off much in the intensity of their play.
That this team would struggle at times to replace those guys was inevitable. Now we’ll see how they react.
Okay, the Washington Huskies and their fans can officially no longer complain about not getting enough respect.
Despite losing at home for the second time in eight days, the Huskies are still ranked No. 13 in both polls this week.
Frankly, I’m a little surprised. I figured they’d go down to the 17-18 range. Two reasons why they might not have – they lost Saturday night, early Sunday morning to back East voters, many of whom probably saw nothing about the game other than the score; and everyone still remembers the Gonzaga win.
Also, it’s simply the way the voters work.
Consider another team in this week’s poll, North Carolina, which is 9-2 and No. 20 in the coaches poll this week.
UNC just beat an NC State team that was ranked No. 12 and also has a win at Kentucky. Its only losses are to Illinois by four points and by 15 at USC, where the Huskies now have to go.
Compare them to UW and it looks like a dead heat to me, with a possible edge to UNC based on the fact that the Heels won a big game this weekend. But since they were No. 25 last week, voters simply move them up a few spots. Since UW was No. 10, they just move the Huskies down a few spots.
Thankfully in college basketball, it doesn’t really matter, as it will all be settled on the court in due time.