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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 12, 2006 at 12:21 AM

Big, big win

I think I wrote after Washington swept the L.A. trip that there was no longer any doubt that the Huskies would make the NCAA tournament. That sweep had come, remember, after a home loss to Washington State that left everyone questioning the team.
I’m writing the same thing again after another sweep of the L.A. schools a month later, including Saturday’s 70-67 win over UCLA. That sweep was made necessary by a three-game losing streak, including another loss to the Cougs, that suddenly had the Huskies on the brink.
But you figure now that the Huskies just have to split the rest of the way to probably get in the tournament. Do that, and the Huskies are 21-8 overall heading into the Pac-10 tournament. Win just one game there and UW would have 22 wins, three coming against Gonzaga and UCLA – and who knows who they would beat in the final six (maybe Stanford or Arizona?) that would make the resume look that much better.
I asked Lorenzo Romar after the game if he felt a lot better about Washington’s NCAA tournament hopes now.
He said he didn’t want to look that far ahead, but added that “I’m starting to think now that we (Pac-10) are going to get four teams in the tournament.”
That would obviously be good news for Washington, though I figure there’s still some danger if the Huskies were to finish fifth – the NCAA tournament has rarely passed over a team higher in the conference standings to take one lower for an at-large bid.
That’s where it might have actually been good for UW that Gonzaga beat Stanford Saturday night, even though the conventional wisdom was that it was an important game for the Pac-10 to win. If Washington finishes behind Stanford in the standings by just a game, a deciding factor could be the nonconference schedules of the two teams. Stanford has no significant nonconference wins while UW at least has Gonzaga, even if it was at home while the Cardinal played Gonzaga on the road.
Of course, the way to make all this moot is to go 4-2 or 5-1 the rest of the way, which looks a lot more likely now after the win over UCLA.
The Huskies played phenomenal defense, something they now have to do on the road, and shared the ball well on offense – four in double figures, five guys taking six or more shots but no one more than 11.
The Huskies were outrebounded 34-26, but Huskies coaches felt UCLA’s big men were simply that good and they didn’t figure they would be able to outrebound the Bruins. If they had simply been able to match UCLA on the boards, however, UW might have won going away.
NOTES
– Here’s an interesting anecdote that didn’t find its way into my regular stories on the UCLA game.
Brandon Roy said he was hit on his funny bone when he was forced to call time out with 1:27 left. He called time to shake it off and make sure he didn’t lose possession of the ball. UW led just 64-62 at the time.
“My hand went numb and I couldn’t feel the ball,” he said.
He said he still had trouble feeling the ball when he went back out on the court and was hoping he wouldn’t have to shoot. He got the ball on the side and began to drive and UCLA sent two defenders at him, so he passed to a wide-open Jon Brockman for a dunk.
“They didn’t know my hand was still numb and I didn’t want to shoot it,” Roy said. “I was like ‘cool’ and threw it to Jon. I think they thought I would shoot it out of the time out but I threw it to Jon and he made a big play.”

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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