Just think, Washington was thisclose to finishing in a six-way tied for third place in the Pac-12 standings. What if the Huskies had taken care of business against Washington State last month?
Then UW would have a 10-8 conference record and join the logjam at third. Instead, Washington matched last season’s league record at 9-9 and finished tied for eighth place.
I’m sorry, but tied for eighth just doesn’t have the same ring as tied for third. But in reality, it’s just semantics. Besides league standings are just one criteria to judge a program. And success and failure at UW these days hinges on NCAA tournament appearances.
After their 82-75 win over USC, the Huskies talked about winning four games in four days next week at the Pac-12 Tournament because that’s their only path to the NCAAs.
When asked what are UW’s realistic hopes at the conference tourney, coach Lorenzo Romar chuckled.
“That’s a trick question it sounds like to me,” he said. “If I give you the answer that I expect to win it, it’s like, ‘Okay, good…now what’s your realistic (answer).”
It was kind of set-up question. It’s as if folks want the Huskies to admit they don’t believe they can do what only one other team has ever done and that’s win four games at the Pac-12 tourney. Colorado did it as a No. 6 seed two years ago. No team seeded lower than sixth has ever won the tournament since it was reformatted six years ago.
Romar added: “If we go out and we’re not distracted on the defensive end, we’re sharing the ball and I don’t think we have to play at a supernatural manner. We just need to play up to our capabilities, which we have done at times this year. If we do that we have just as good of a chance as anybody. If we don’t, it’ll be very difficult. We don’t have to shoot 70 percent from the field every game and all kinds of bad things happen to the other team. Just need to play to the best of our abilities, what we’re capable of.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— C.J. Wilcox was aggressive offensively. He took 16 shots, including 10 behind the arc. And he made six shots, including three behind the arc. He was also 9 for 9 at the free throw line and finished with 24 points. Wilcox also attacked the glass and collected eight rebounds. He had three steals, two blocks and two assists in 33 minutes. If he does that Wednesday, Washington should have a good chance to win.
— If nothing else, Andrew Andrews has put together a nice collection of games to springboard into the offseason. It’s his sixth straight game scoring at least 15 points. Today he had 19 on 5-for-11 shooting. He was also 8 for 8 on FTs. Andrews also had five rebounds and three assists. It’s getting to the point where if Andrews has a bad game, then something is wrong.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. should be judged by his rebounds and he only had one, which would suggest he didn’t have a productive game. However, the 6-9 forward did a nice job of getting out on the break and finishing at the rim with authority. He had 12 points, including a highlight dunk in the second half that brought the crowd to its feet. The Huskies haven’t a big man who can fill the lane since Matthew Bryan-Amaning left.
— There’s an adage that says you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. The same may be true for Nigel Williams-Goss and his turnovers. Point guards are like quarterbacks. They need their receivers to catch passes. However, two of Williams-Goss’ three turnovers in the first half were self inflicted. He slipped on the court and was called for traveling twice. But it’s silly to second guess every decision by a point guard. And you can’t quibble about a nine-assist performance. Williams-Goss also had six rebounds. He was 3-of-11 shooting for seven points. It was the first time in 11 games he’s had fewer than 11 points.
— Perris Blackwell spends a lot of time on the floor for a big man. Not sure why that is. Often times he’s on his backside after attempts inside. On Saturday, he did a good job drawing fouls and getting to the line where he was 6 of 8. He finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Blackwell is the greatest shot blocker, but he had two blocks.
— Desmond Simmons has collected five rebounds in each of the past three games. Today he also had eight points on 4-for-7 shooting.
— Darin Johnson continues to make progress late in the season. He had a dreadful shooting display (0 for 4), but he made an impact in areas other than his scoring which is something he hadn’t done much this season. Johnson had three rebounds, which is as much as he’s had in the past nine games combined. He also took four free throw attempts, which is the most since Jan. 15.
— Mike Anderson had two points and two rebounds.