Big win today. As I’ve reiterated over and over, they’re ALL big wins from here on out, but I’ve got to say this one feels good.
Terrence Ross continues to show how he’s hands down the best player on this team, with a team-high 21 points and 13 rebounds. He wasn’t super-effective shooting the ball this afternoon (7 for 21, 1 for 5 behind the arc), but he had enough free throws and offensive rebounds to make a huge impact on this game.
C.J. Wilcox rebounded to have a solid game after some subpar efforts of late. He too didn’t shoot all that well today (4 of 11, 2 of 7), but he too got to the line late in the contest to help seal the deal.
And Desmond Simmons REALLY came alive today with 4 points and 9 rebounds. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but with the Huskies up 2 with 20-something seconds left in the game, he banged home both free throws to put us up four. After Oregon State ran down the court and bricked a three, that was the ballgame. For those free throws alone, Desmond is my MVP, because the Beavers were hitting some crazy shots towards the end of that game to try and get back into it. I’m talking about 30-footers, 3-pointers on the wing with two guys in his face … shit like that.
So, the Oregon trip wasn’t the total disaster I feared it might be. That’s a relief. We’re 10-3, tied with Cal for first place, with five games to go. We host the Arizona schools this week, then finish up on the road against WSU and the L.A. schools. Cal hosts the Oregon schools, then finishes up on the road against Stanford and the mountain schools. I can’t see Cal losing either of those home games, so we’re going to have to hope that either Stanford or Colorado gets the job done (the Buffaloes are undefeated at home in conference play this season, and the Cardinal has only lost one at home in conference, against Arizona).
Meanwhile, there’s a three-way tie for 2nd place at 9-4. Oregon plays 3 of its last five on the road, ditto Arizona, and the same goes for Colorado. So, take from that what you will.
This thing is going to go down to the very last week. The Huskies can afford no slip-ups, ESPECIALLY at home this week. If Arizona takes one from us next weekend, that might just about seal our fate.
For the record, it appears that the Top 4 teams in conference record get byes in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. So, at the very least, we’ve GOT to be in that Top 4. Tiebreakers will be crucial, so that makes the Arizona game doubly important.