Huskies Win N.I.T. Opener, and I Helped!

THAT … could have been embarrassing.

The entire fanbase of the Texas-Arlington Mavericks - 2 people

Given the way the Huskies have played all season, it would’ve been foolish to believe we’d just waltz on into Hec-Ed last night and blow out the Southland Conference’s regular season champs.  We always have and we always will (until this season ends) play down to the level of our opponents.

Having said that, those Mavericks were a scrappy bunch!  They out-rebounded us (on our own court) 33-24.  At halftime, it was something ridiculous like 25-12 … I mean, this looked like another game we were just going to give away!

Of course, it didn’t help that the arena was about a third full.  I was there, 6 rows behind the basket near the visitor’s bench (which you can kind of see in the picture above, in front of their two fans in the blue & white striped shirts); Hec-Ed FELT like it was a third full.  The indifference was palpable last night.  The vast majority of Husky fans gave the middle finger to the N.I.T. and those who attended seemed to be there more out of a reluctant sense of obligation as opposed to trying to look on the bright side and cheer their team on.

I went because you could get awesome seats for only $35.  If that deal still stands this Friday, I suggest you make plans to attend.

It’s always hard to tell who the onus is on:  is it the fans’ responsibility to pump up the team by being rowdy from start to finish?  Or is it the team’s responsibility to pump us up with their quality play and effort on the court?  Aside from the Dawg Pack (which itself kinda felt like it was going through the motions), there was absolutely zero energy in the arena last night … until the Huskies started to pick up their intensity on defense and got out on a few break-aways.

And, of course, when the refs started calling their bullshit.

I’m usually a reasonable man.  If it looks like a call is legit, I’ll generally defer to the guys with the whistles.  More often than not, the calls are going to end up going both ways.  But, it’s a different animal when you’re in the stands and you’ve got thousands of people booing and pointing at one man with a bad comb-over who single-handedly gets your starting center into foul trouble.  Then, it’s all “shit-for-brains” this and “your mother’s a dirty slut” that.

I thought the Dawg Pack said it best when they started chanting, “You don’t – know what – you’re doing!  You don’t – know what – you’re doing!”

In the end, the Huskies got the better of the refs and the team they were playing against.  Those Mavericks had a deep bench (notice I didn’t necessarily say “quality” bench) and weren’t afraid to sub guys in and out with every single fucking whistle.  So, it’s not like we could tire them out with our athleticism.  But, we got by on talent, and that’s why we’re the #1 seed out of the Pac-12 and they’re the #8 seed out of the Southland Conference.  Losing that game last night would’ve been more embarrassing than losing to Oregon State, so that’s saying something.

I’ll close with what I thought was the most entertaining part of the evening.  Every time the Huskies were at the line shooting free throws (which was a whopping 31 times, for a team supposedly being dogged by the referees), the entire arena would go silent as the shooter lined up another brick (we only made 20 of them).  Then, just as a guy was about to shoot, there was a faint, yet audible, “WOOP!” from what sounded like a small yippy dog.  Turned out, it was the red-head in the picture above.  On the one hand, you could say she was incredibly effective in her efforts.  On the other hand, Huskies.

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