Should the Huskies win? Yes.
Will the Huskies win? Most likely.
Will it be easy? Probably not at first, but UW should pull away at the end.
Still this team can’t afford any slip ups. Say want you want about the last four games, but the level of high quality basketball played by the Huskies has been about 40 minutes total in those four games. Sure they’ve found ways to win, and that’s important. But with five games left in the season, Lorenzo Romar needs to start seeing the type of basketball Washington played for about the first 30 minutes of the win at Arizona. There have moments of that level in wins over USC, UCLA and OSU, but not extended periods.
From my story in today’s paper.
“If we’re talking about getting to the NCAA tournament and winning this conference, every game is crucial,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We have to be our best from here on out. We can’t have a setback. We can’t have a game like we had at Oregon (a 25-point loss) from here on out. We have to be at our best.”
With five games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Huskies are tied with Cal atop the Pac-12 standings with 10-3 records. And while the Golden Bears have a win over the Huskies in the regular season, if the teams happen to finished tied, they would share the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Would that be enough to ensure the Huskies an NCAA berth? There’s no guarantee, but since the NCAA expanded its field in the early 1980s, there hasn’t been a team from a major power conference to win its regular-season title and not get invited.
Although some NCAA tournament selection watchers think the Pac-12 will get only one bid, the likelihood of that seems minuscule. Even with a low conference RPI – 10th, trailing the Mountain West (fifth), Atlantic 10 (seventh), Missouri Valley (eighth) and Conference USA (ninth) – the Pac-12 still likely commands enough respect to get two bids.
“Right now … (you) control what you can control,” Romar said. “That’s how I see it, and right now, we’re in a situation where we can help control our future if we do what we’re supposed to do. Beyond that, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Romar might not know what’s going to happen, but he’s familiar with this position. For the past three seasons, the Huskies have found themselves living on the NCAA tournament bubble late in the season and playing with the idea that any slip-up could send them to the NIT.
“It seems like we’re in this situation every year, so we should know what to do,” Romar said. “We just have to constantly remind our guys; we have to constantly remind them how important the next practice is, how important the next drill is. One little setback could possibly keep us from reaching our goals at this point.”
Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic writes about ASU’s issues with turnovers.
From his story …
Entering Thursday night’s contest at Washington, ASU is averaging 16.8 turnovers in Pac-12 games, which is 2.6 per game more than any other conference team. Overall, ASU averages 16.6 turnovers, which ranks 14th in the nation. Considering the Sun Devils’ slow pace, this is even worse than it sounds. More than 25 percent of ASU’s possessions end in turnovers, a number that’s nearly impossible to overcome.
This has become the soundtrack of the season, one that seems to be stuck on repeat. No postgame news conference is complete without some sort of discussion of turnovers. In Saturday’s home loss to Colorado, Sendek talked about ASU’s variety of miscues — three-second and five-second violations – but what irritated him most were the times the Sun Devils stepped outside their comfort zone and tried to make spectacular plays.
“Instead of just making the simple play we tried to thread the needle, no different than the quarterback in football who thinks the receiver is open and goes for it,” Sendek said.