There’s a vocal contingent of naysayers who believe the Huskies doomed their chance to dance in the NCAA tournament when they dismissed record-setting sophomore center Robert Upshaw on Monday following a violation of team rules.
It’s a popular theory that goes like this: Without the 7-foot shot-blocking phenom to anchor the defense and provide a low-post scoring outlet, Washington (14-6, 3-5) is shorthanded and too short to cobble enough wins warrant an at-large invitation to the NCAAs. And winning the Pac-12 Tournament, which awards the winner a trip to the Big Dance, appears to be a long shot for a team that’s tied for eighth in the conference standings.
Lindsey Schnell at SI.com lays paints a dim forecast for UW and coach Lorenzo Romar. She writes: “Many coaches would keep a troublesome standout on their roster if that player could help save their job. Romar could have done the same but chose not to. Unfortunately for him, integrity alone won’t keep him in Seattle. Only winning will do that. Romar is still a good coach, and he hasn’t lost his teaching ability. But in an increasingly difficult Pac-12, a climb back to the top could be brutally tough. This is Arizona’s conference. Utah has finally arrived. Stanford, in tatters two seasons ago, looks to have hit its groove. Oregon has been to the last two NCAA tournaments, and Oregon State is on the rise. The margin of error is small and without Upshaw, the Huskies might have run out of room.”
FRIDAY MORNING LINKS:
— California, which was held to 50 and 44 points the previous two games, shot 50.9 percent from the field in a 76-67 victory at Washington State. The Golden Bears (12-9, 2-6) snapped a six-game losing streak. Tyrone Wallace Wallace scored 21 of his 26 points in the first half and Jabari Bird added 12 points. Cal plays at Washington at 12 p.m. Sunday.
— Washington State (9-11, 3-5) dropped its fourth straight game. DaVonte Lacy scored 24 points and Josh Hawkinson added 18 points and 12 rebounds. No other WSU player had more than seven points.
— Wild game at Galen Center. Askia Booker scored a career-high 43 points to lead Colorado to a 98-94 win against USC in triple overtime. Booker, a Los Angeles product, scored eight points in the third overtime, including a jumper to put the Buffaloes (11-9, 4-4 Pac 12) ahead for good to win their first road game in seven tries this season. Xavier Johnson returned after a four-game absence because of an ankle injury and suspension. He had 12 points and five rebounds. Forward Josh Scott did not make the trip because of a back injury that has kept him out of seven of the past eight games.
— USC (9-11, 1-7) lost its fifth straight game. Katin Reinhardt had career-highs of 35 points and nine three-pointers, Nikola Jovanovic scored a career-high 30 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 11 points and seven assists.
— Norman Powell scored 23 points and UCLA defeated No. 11 Utah 69-59 at Pauley Pavilion for its first win over a ranked opponent. Bryce Alford had 14 points and seven assists, and Isaac Hamilton added 11 points for the Bruins (12-9, 3-5 Pac-12).
— Delon Wright scored 15 points and Brandon Taylor had 14 for Utah (16-4, 6-2), which has not beaten UCLA in Los Angeles since 1961.
— And here’s a look at the conference standings.
|TEAM||CONF W-L||TOTAL W-L|
|No. 6 Arizona||7-1||19-2|
|No. 11 Utah||6-2||16-4|
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
|Oregon (14-7, 4-4) at Arizona State (11-10, 3-5)||5 p.m.||Pac-12 Networks|
|Oregon State (14-6, 5-3) at No. 6 Arizona (19-2, 7-1)||7 p.m.||Pac-12 Networks|