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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 5, 2009 at 9:47 PM

Setting it up

A fun night to just sit back and watch Pac-10 basketball, even if Barry Tompkins seemed to keep thinking I had something better to do since he kept telling me “don’t go anywhere.”
If I’ve invested two hours into watching a game, I don’t think I’ll turn it off once one of the teams goes on a run late in the action to suddenly make it close. So I stuck it out to the end.
Tonight’s results mean the Huskies will have to stick it out to the end, as well.
With UCLA winning, the Bruins remain in a position to tie the Huskies should UCLA win again on Saturday while UW loses to WSU.
Here are the conference standings after tonight’s play:
Washington 13-4
UCLA 12-5
Cal 11-6
ASU 10-7
Arizona 8-9
USC 8-9
WSU 8-9
Oregon State 7-10
Stanford 6-11
Oregon 2-15
Cal and ASU will now play Saturday for a game that could determine the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 for the conference tournament if the Huskies and UCLA end up tied. Since the two split, the next tiebreaker is record against teams in descending order — UCLA swept Cal, which swept UW; while UW swept ASU, which swept UCLA.
That favors UCLA if the Bruins and UW end up tied and the Bears beat ASU. If ASU wins, it could actually set up a scenario where the tiebreaker system might have to go to option three — record against all D-I opponents, which would favor UCLA since the only way for a tie is for the Bruins to win Saturday and UW lose, which would make the Bruins 24-7 to UW’s 23-8.
Since Cal and ASU would be tied for third in that scenario, the tiebreaker would be the combined record against those two — which for UW and UCLA is each 2-2. UW and UCLA would also have the same record against every other team in the conference, splitting against WSU (the only way this could occur) and Arizona, sweeping everyone else.
And if it gets to tiebreaker three, that would favor UCLA, since a win for the Bruins and a loss for the Huskies would make the Bruins 24-7, UW 23-8. (Seth Kolloen at Sports Northwest Magazine also has a good breakdown of all of this). Also, I’m actually not sure if Seattle U would count as a D-I win for the Huskies, but in this scenario, it wouldn’t be an issue.
Obviously, all of that is moot should the Huskies beat WSU.
And why does any of this matter?
You see that if UW does win the Pac-10 outright, it seems fairly likely to play either Oregon State or Stanford in the first round of the conference tournament as those two teams look headed to the 8-9 seeds. The No. 2 seed, meanwhile, might have to tussle with WSU in the first round of the tournament, a much-less-pleasing prospect.
As for tonight’s action, the big upset was Stanford winning at Arizona State, which mostly just ensures that the Sun Devils will be sent far, far away for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
What it also illustrated, however, is one of the things most critical to UW’s success this year — the ability to get up for just about every game. Really, none of UW’s four Pac-10 losses looks bad at all — at Cal, UCLA and Arizona and home to Cal.
Consider that all of the other contenders suffered at least one defeat that was a little harder-to-fathom — UCLA at home to WSU, Cal twice to Oregon State, ASU at home to WSU and now Stanford.
I’ve written several times this year that UW won games when it just simply seemed to outwork teams. Should UW finish this off, I think that will be able to be said of the entire season, as well, that the Huskies have simply worked harder than the rest of the conference, never really taking a day off.
For that, I think an awful lot of the credit would go to the team’s unquestioned leader, Jon Brockman, who has never been known to take a minute off, let alone a night.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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