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February 18, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Huskies hoops links: Next year’s forecast improved, not great for Washington

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, center, watches during the team’s 78-74 loss to Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is staring at a fourth straight year outside the NCAA tournament. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

There’s still three weeks left in the 2014-15 college basketball regular season, but Jon Gold at the Arizona Daily Star takes a look at next season’s Pac-12 race.

The forecast is somewhat promising for Washington, which is currently 11th in the conference standings.

Gold projects the Huskies will finish eighth in the Pac-12, which isn’t exactly rainbows and sunshine considering Washington was picked sixth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll last October.

An eighth-place finish certainly wouldn’t likely sit well with a restless UW fan base that’s watched the team miss the NCAA tournament the past three years. And the Huskies (14-11, 3-10) would need a Hollywood-inspired finish to reach the Big Dance this year.

Gold writes: “Lorenzo Romar is crossing his fingers that the Husky higher-ups let him see this thing through. He’s got one blue chip in point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, but it’s the six-man class, ranked No. 9 in the country, that has us intrigued.”

Convincing Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews to return is essential for Romar and the Huskies. Williams-Goss, a sophomore star, flirted with leaving early for the NBA draft last year and will likely consider it again. Meanwhile, Andrews will be a fifth-year senior who could transfer and play immediately somewhere else next season.

WEDNESDAY MORNING LINKS:

— Don’t tell Charles Barkley, but the Huskies are one of the teams who uses advanced statistical analytics.

Bud Withers writes about former coach George Raveling who will be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

— Oregon senior guard Joseph Young guarantees the Ducks will party in the Big Dance. Coach Dana Altman told the Oregonian: “Young and foolish. But I like his enthusiasm.”

— If Colorado is going to pull off the upset tonight at Oregon, the Buffaloes must contain Young, the Pac-12’s second leading scorer at 19.8 points per game.

Poor free throw shooting could doom UCLA’s NCAA tournament hopes.

— Right on cue, Stanford is in the middle of it’s second-half slump. The Cardinal is 24-34 in the second half of the season during seven-plus years under coach Johnny Dawkins. Stanford, which has lost four of the last past five games, needs a strong finish to jump start fading NCAA tournament aspirations.

— Oregon State (16-9, 7-6) isn’t likely to snap its 25-year NCAA tournament drought, but the Beavers are eyeying its first National Invitation Tournament berth in 10 years. And that would be a significant achievement for first-year coach Wayne Tinkle.

— However, Oregon State has a tough task Thursday against No. 9 Utah.

— Making matters worse for the Beavers, they’re operating with a limited bench. Kudos to Tinkle.

Arizona State is retiring James Harden’s No. 13 jersey.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Game Time TV
UCLA (16-10, 8-5) at Arizona State (13-12, 5-7) 6 p.m. ESPN2
Colorado (12-12, 5-7) at Oregon (18-8, 8-5) 8 p.m. ESPNU

— And here’s a look at the Pac-12 standings.

TEAM CONF GB OVR
No. 7 Arizona 10-2 22-3
No. 9 Utah 10-2 20-4
Oregon 8-5 2.5 18-8
UCLA 8-5 2.5 16-10
Stanford 7-6 3.5 16-9
Oregon State 7-6 3.5 16-9
California 6-7 4.5 16-10
Arizona State 5-7 5 13-12
Colorado 5-7 5 12-12
Washington State 5-8 5.5 11-14
Washington 3-10 7.5 14-11
USC 2-11 8.5 10-15

Comments | More in Links, Pac-12 news

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