The Seahawks Signed D.J. Fluker

It’s a 1-year deal for an unknown amount of money.

Depending on how much the contract is worth, this could be the first move I approve of when it comes to this Seahawks offseason.  We needed another guard, because there’s no way in hell Luke Joeckel would be returning, and I want no part of Rees Odhiambo starting games for this team, so it pretty much had to come from free agency or the draft.  And while it looks like they opted for the former, I suppose that doesn’t necessarily prevent them from also picking a guy from the college ranks.  But, I dunno.  That seems like it would be a move designed to have someone compete with Ethan Pocic, when I thought he did okay last year.

As it stands, the O-Line is looking like this:

Duane Brown – Ethan Pocic – Justin Britt – D.J. Fluker – Ifedi/Fant

In other words, it’s pretty well set.  I think 4/5 spots are on lock, barring injury, with Germain Ifedi in a true position battle for that right tackle spot with George Fant, who is returning from ACL injury (and was the presumptive starting left tackle for this team before Britt dove at his legs and set the disaster that was the 2017 season in motion).

As for Fluker himself, he was the 11th overall draft pick in 2013, and the Seahawks are already his third team, so you tell me if he’s a bust or not.  The Chargers selected Fluker out of Alabama to be a tackle for them, but he was never good enough to stick at left tackle, and eventually couldn’t even stick at his more natural right tackle position.  They moved him inside, which is where he remains.  He appears to be exclusively a right-side lineman, which means it’s Right Guard or it’s nothing.  After the Chargers waived him, he signed a deal with the Giants last year for 1 year, $3 million; a toe injury limited him to 9 games.

So, given that history, perhaps my initial take was incorrect.  Someone who flamed out with his original team and was only able to net $3 million with the Giants for 9 games, I can’t imagine he got a RAISE based on that!  Then again, what did Luke Joeckel’s dumb ass ever do to deserve over $7 million?  My point is, I don’t trust this front office to NOT overpay for worthless linemen off the scrap heap.  See also:  $1 million for Bradley Sowell and nearly $3 million for J’Marcus Webb.

What I do like, however, are the reports that say Fluker is 100% healthy.  Of course, that doesn’t preclude him from getting another body part injured – or re-injuring that very same toe – but at least we can hope he’ll show up to Training Camp ready to work.  He’s also heading into his age 27 season, so he should be extra motivated to kick some ass and get a nice, fat contract.  He’s an Alabama kid, so you know he was at least – at one point – one of the top recruits in the country.  And, at over 340 pounds, he’s fucking HUGE.  He might get beat in pass protection every now and then, but I can’t imagine he’ll be bull-rushed into the pocket too many times.  It also sounds like he’s a pretty good run blocker, so pairing him with Ifedi on that side could pose some unique challenges for defenses when we run that way.

We’ll see.  I’m still all in on the Seahawks using their first round pick to take the best running back available, so I hope this means the odds of us drafting a guard at that spot go way down.  Frankly, I like the idea of not having to worry about the shuffling of offensive linemen at this point in the year.  We’ve got four spots nailed down, with two young guys looking to do battle for the fifth.  I like Brown for at least another year, I think Pocic will take a step forward in year 2, I think Britt is fine, I hope Fluker will be okay, and fingers crossed that a little continuity from year to year with Ifedi in the same spot will help him grow.

The Huskies Went 1-1 In The NIT

I was a little distracted by my trip to Reno for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, so I didn’t really get to see any of the Huskies in the NIT.  Scheduling issues, you know how it is.

Last Wednesday, while I was in an airplane, the Huskies hosted the Boise State Broncos and beat them 77-74 in double-overtime.  Nowell and Thybulle really dominated the show, as the team hit nearly 50% from behind the arc.  Sounded like quite the impressive game that I would’ve enjoyed a lot.

Then, last night, the Huskies went on the road to play top-seeded Saint Mary’s.  We put up a valiant effort, but fell short, 85-81.  Noah Dickerson was a monster, with 22 points and 9 boards, and Nahziah Carter went 4 for 4 from behind the arc in netting 14 total points off the bench.

This was a really fun season for Husky basketball; something I don’t think any of us really anticipated.  With Romar getting fired, a bunch of our recruits jumping ship, and Mike Hopkins coming across the country to try to bring this team together in a few short months, it would’ve been more reasonable to expect another bottoming-out type season.  Or, at best, hovering around .500 in non-conference play before falling off against the Pac-12 teams.  Thankfully, the Huskies gelled, were able to get some signature victories against the likes of Kansas and Arizona, and were helped by the Pac-12 being pretty fucking terrible as a whole.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot of hope for next year and beyond.  I don’t think anyone is really in a position to leave for the NBA, which means we’re set to have one of the more veteran teams in the conference.  That hasn’t been the case in I don’t know how long.  Probably not since the LAST time the Huskies made the NCAA Tournament, in 2011.

Crisp, Thybulle, Dickerson, and Green will all be Seniors (assuming none of them go pro or transfer).  Timmins and Carlos Johnson will be Juniors (assuming they stick around).  And, Nowell, Wright, and Nahz Carter will all be Sophomores.  Aside from Johnson (who I have to believe will go to another school, as he’s getting buried on the depth chart), these are all players who contributed quite a bit to making this Husky season a success.

And that’s not even counting the incoming recruits.  The Huskies just secured a 4-star center, Bryan Penn-Johnson, to go along with 4-star guard Jamal Bey, and three other 3-star players who will look to compete for minutes next season.  Things are looking UP for the Washington Huskies for the first time in a long time.  I’m proud of these kids.  I hope they work really hard and are rewarded with a berth in the NCAA Tournament next year.

The Seahawks Made and Didn’t Make Other Moves

The Seahawks signed Ed Dickson for 3 years and $14 million, though only the first year is guaranteed.  He’s played 4 seasons with Baltimore, then 4 more with Carolina, and since he doesn’t produce much on the offensive side of the ball, people think he’s more of a “blocking” tight end.  Of course, his metrics in that area aren’t spectacular, so many fans are wondering what the fuck he DOES do well, to which I would respond:  he’s not Jimmy Graham, so automatically he’s 1,000% better at blocking than anyone we’ve had the last three years.

Let’s see, then the Seahawks signed Maurice Alexander, a safety who was with the Rams for the last four years, released in the middle of last season, apparently after Wade Phillips deemed him unworthy of a roster spot.  I guess the Seahawks know more than the best defensive coordinator in the game.  Either that, or we just signed a nobody who will suck for us.  One or the other.

Since Kam likely won’t play for us again, and the team is apparently shopping Earl Thomas to recoup some draft picks, and the two or three safeties we drafted last year are all unworthy to be starting for us, I’d expect Mo Alexander to be back there giving up 40+ yard touchdowns in no time.

To cap off the free agent spree, the Seahawks signed Jaron Brown – middling wide receiver with the Arizona Cardinals – to a deal of unknown length, and unknown cost.  He immediately slots in as the #3 receiver behind Baldwin and Lockett, and is the default Paul Richardson replacement for the time being.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

These deals obviously don’t really move the needle for me; they all stand as evidence that this team is nowhere near contending for anything in 2018, and quite frankly if you think otherwise, you probably need to have your head examined.  I like Russell Wilson as much as the next guy, but if he couldn’t do it all by himself the last couple years, what makes you think he can do it all by himself now, only with a significantly worse group of players around him?  With the Seahawks either unwilling or unable to spend significant cap dollars to improve this team, you’re putting a lot of hope in a draft class that so far doesn’t feature any picks in the second or third rounds.  Either that, or you’re banking on an insane amount of improvement on roster holdovers – a roster that hasn’t been close to good enough, nor remotely healthy, in the last three years.

Oh, and the perfect capper to the weekend?  Sheldon Richardson decided to take a ridiculously lowball offer from the Vikings on a 1-year deal, WELL below his actual value on the football field.  So, the one constant we could count upon – getting a 3rd round comp pick if/when Sheldon Richardson was poached by another team – just got downgraded to a 4th or 5th rounder, depending on where the dust settles in the whole comp pick formula.  If it isn’t one thing, it’s a-fucking-nother for one of the unluckiest teams in the NFL in the last few years.

I hate sports.  Wake me up when everyone’s dead.

Yawn: The Seahawks Signed Barkevious Mingo

2 years, $6.8 million, $3.2 million guaranteed.

Yeah, I don’t know what to make of this.  Mingo is a bust who likely will play some strong-side linebacker as well as rush the passer off the edge.  His career sack numbers have been pretty pathetic for a guy drafted so high in the first round in 2013.  Zero expectations here.

In other news, Paul Richardson got a huge deal with the Redskins, DeShawn Shead got a less huge deal with the Lions, Jimmy Graham got a medium deal with the Packers (who had to let Jordy Nelson go to make room), and a bunch of other players were either tendered or non-tendered.  A couple of big names coming back are Dion Jordan and Justin Coleman, so that’s cool I guess.

Not a lot of big moves in free agency for the Seahawks, except for all the people leaving.  To be expected.  I said it before and I’ll say it again:  I want the Seahawks to be as inactive in free agency as possible this year.  Particularly when it comes to veteran running backs.

The Huskies Made The N.I.T.

Well, I guess my previous concerns were unfounded.  Probably should’ve locked them into the N.I.T. regardless of what happened in the Pac-12 Tournament; obviously we’re one of the top 90-something teams in college basketball, so this feels like a no-brainer in hindsight.

The Huskies are a 5-seed, who will play 4-seed Boise State on Wednesday at 7pm.  Unfortunately, due to my cockamamie flight into Reno (with a layover in Oakland that I didn’t realize I didn’t want until it was too late), I won’t land until the game is nearly over.  Then again, maybe that’s a good thing.  I’ve already lost $40 on this fucking team in tournament play, do I really want to lose any more?  Besides, if we win, there’s a chance we’ll play our second round game on Friday or Saturday (with a shot at playing on Sunday, when I fly home, which would be disappointing all around).

I’m happy for the Huskies.  This is very deserving.  We get some extra practice time, we get another do-or-die game, it’s all good preparation for next year, when hopefully this team will take the next step and finally return to the NCAA Tournament.  And, while the Huskies haven’t been great over the last month, they’re just as good as anyone else in the N.I.T., and if we play our best ball, we can really make a dent in this thing.  Ultimately, tournament play is tournament play, and it’s cool that the Huskies get to continue playing basketball.  N.I.T. games are just harder to find on the TV dial, that’s all.

The Seahawks Cut Richard Sherman, Who Signed With The 49ers

In further Blowing Up The Seahawks news, the Seahawks released Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead.  Lane is a goner; I don’t see any way he comes back.  But, I think there’s a good chance the team brings Shead back and lets him compete for a starting spot somewhere in the secondary.

But, obviously, the huge, franchise-altering news comes with the departure of Richard Sherman.  It honestly sickens me to have to write that sentence.  It never should’ve come to this.  Sherm was one of those Heart & Soul guys for the Seahawks, a definite Hall of Famer, and someone who deserves to have his name and jersey hanging in CenturyLink Field when it’s all said and done.  This is just all too depressing.  If the Michael Bennett trade started the End of an Era talks, this move blows it all wide open.

I guess the Seahawks save $11 million this year, which, whatever.  That still doesn’t give them enough money to fill all the holes on this roster.  That doesn’t get them back to being a playoff team, let alone a Super Bowl contender.  That also doesn’t give us a draft pick in the second or third rounds this year.  So, why?  Why do this?  Is the extra money worth more than a year of his services (when I do anticipate he will recover from his injuries and will return to being a Top 10 cornerback in this league) on top of losing a potential 3rd round comp pick if he did inevitably sign elsewhere (because you know – had he played out his deal at a Pro Bowl level – he likely would’ve gotten a max deal on the free agent market).

I don’t understand.  The only thing I can think of is the old ethos of “giving up on a player 1 year too early rather than 1 year too late.”  And, let’s face it, at this point you can see that’s bitten us in the ass too much for comfort of late, with Kam Chancellor (who likely will never play again, yet will be on the roster for all of 2018 barring a miracle), with Cliff Avril, and with Michael Bennett.  The Seahawks have well over $14 million in dead money on the 2018 cap (including over $3 million combined for Jermaine Kearse and Ahtyba Rubin, who weren’t even on the team LAST year) and have to have one of the oldest cores in all of football (our average age per player is only brought down by the need for us to carry so many rookies/young guys due to salary cap constraints, but if you count just the primary starters, we’re old af).  So, I can understand and appreciate the need to get younger and cut & run with older guys when it helps the franchise long term.  But, wouldn’t it help more if we let Sherm play out his deal and get the comp pick?

Also, not for nothing, but you gotta take these things on a player-by-player basis.  This Achilles injury is the first major injury that’s kept him out of football games, so it’s not like he’s some injury-prone loser.  But, he’s a Hall of Famer, and as such those guys tend to be more durable – either via luck or genetics – than your average salary cap cut.  It wouldn’t shock me – as I said before – for Sherm to snap right back to being a Pro Bowler in 2018, just as it wouldn’t shock me to see him play at a high level for many years to come.  There aren’t a lot of guys who play at a high level well into their 30s, but the Hall of Famers usually do.  We haven’t seen the last of Richard Sherman, not by a longshot.

As for all the chatter about him signing with the 49ers, what do I care?  It’s a free country.  The Seahawks cut HIM after all; it’s not like he forced his way out.  Plus, the rivalry isn’t the same as it was back in the day.  The 49ers haven’t been good since 2013, they no longer have Jim Harbaugh or Colin Kaepernick at the helm, and we’ve been able to handle them pretty good in the subsequent years since The Tip.  Now, the Seahawks are starting their slide.  I don’t see any chance of the Seahawks making the playoffs in 2018 – unless the Rams and 49ers suffer a slew of major injuries to their best players – while the 49ers are going to skyrocket to the top of the league.  Jimmy Garoppolo looks like the real fucking deal, the team has drafted well, they have a lot of money to play around with, and they just signed one of the best cornerbacks in the league.  It should all be coming together for them starting this year.  On top of that, I don’t see the Rams taking much of a step back, if at all, so the NFC West is going to be a 2-team race between the two California teams, with the Seahawks looking to fend off Arizona for last place.  Again, not much of a rivalry when one of the teams (the Seahawks) is so clearly inferior to the other (the 49ers).

If Richard Sherman had personal reasons for wanting to sign with the 49ers, to stick it to the Seahawks for cutting him, more power to him.  It’s not going to change the way I feel about the guy.  I love Richard Sherman for life.  He played his very best years in a Seahawks uniform, and nothing can take that away from us.  When he goes into the Hall of Fame, he’ll be wearing a Seahawks jersey.  I have so many more positive memories of Sherm that VASTLY outweigh the negative ones.  So, he can sign with the 49ers.  He can sign with the Patriots.  He can sign with the Steelers.  Hell, he can even sign with the fucking Packers and I wouldn’t care.  We had him first; the rest of the league is feasting off of our sloppy seconds.

As for where the Seahawks go from here, I hope it’s a dedicated pledge to rebuild in 2018 and go for broke again in 2019.  I see no point in trying to further mortgage the franchise in the short term if it’s going to set us back even further down the road.

Ichiro! Is Back!

So, I’ve been less than totally invested in the Mariners’ Spring Training this year, because Mariners.  I follow a bunch of beat writers and the like, and during their press conference tweet storms, I catch glimpses of what’s going on.  Erasmo Ramirez got injured pretty early on.  Mitch Haniger swung a bat too much and got sore?  Jesus Christ!  Other guys, like Heredia, Vincent, Phelps, and many others I’m forgetting right now are coming back from offseason injuries or a 2017 season of gross overuse.  Felix got hit on an arm, and so on and so forth.

The latest fucking tragedy to befall this cursed team is Ben Gamel straining an oblique somehow (again, I don’t care, about any of this).  He’s out “4-6 weeks” which really means “6-8 weeks, and will continue to suck as he tries to work his way back into shape, so probably count on him being useless and actively hurting this team for a full 12 weeks”.  For those of you counting at home, that’s three outfielders – Heredia, Haniger, and now Gamel – all dealing with injuries of varying severity.  Our only remaining starting-calibre outfielder is Dee Gordon, who has literally never played an inning of outfield in a regular season Major League game.

Neat, huh?  So that means the team really needed to go out and get another guy.  Preferably a guy with Major League experience, a guy who’s prone to stay healthy, a guy who won’t cost a whole lot, and a guy who’s had recent success at the Major League level.  And yeah, I guess you could argue Ichiro checks off all those boxes.

  • Major League experience?  How about 17 years?
  • Healthy?  I really only remember one or two bad years where he had some injuries with the Mariners, but he’s certainly not a guy living on the DL.
  • Won’t cost a lot?  How’s $750,000 for a 1-year deal?  That certainly won’t break the bank.
  • Recent success?  Well, that’s debatable.

Let’s dig into that a little bit.  Obviously, we’re not getting Prime Ichiro.  He was past his prime when we traded him away to the Yankees back in 2012.  It’s 6 years later!  He’s essentially been a part-time player ever since, with his plate appearances dwindling every season for the last 3 years.  He had a couple decent years with the Yankees, one really bad year with the Marlins in 2015, then bounced back to have a pretty good year in 2016.  Last year, he had that dreadful first half, but bounced back with a second half that saw him hit .299.

Obviously, he’s got zero pop in his bat whatsoever.  I mean, he was never all that big a power hitter, but this is insane.  Nevertheless, he’s never really tried being a power hitter; that’s not his game.  He knows his game, and so he should be fine doing what he does.  We won’t be counting on him to leadoff; he’ll almost certainly be batting 9th in any regular season lineup he’s in.  He keeps himself in great shape, he still plays quality defense, and honestly I take great comfort in having another solid professional in the locker room.  I don’t care about leadership or anything like that – though, I’m sure he won’t shy away from helping out a teammate when asked – I just want a guy who goes about his business, does his job, and will hopefully come up big in big moments like he used to.

And, when those other guys come back healthy, he’s a nice 4th or 5th outfielder to have.  Because none of these fucking guys (especially Haniger) can stay healthy for a full season.

This isn’t the same as Griffey returning.  This isn’t a PR stunt to sell tickets and get fans to sit around remembering 1995 all over again.  Ichiro can still play.  Not as Ichiro!, but sort of as Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back.  Old, wise, a little loopy (I mean, seriously, playing until he’s 50?), but can still school your ass on occasion.

The Huskies Lost In The First Round Of The Pac-12 Tournament

Well, it was a nice dream we had once.  Saturday, February 3rd, the Huskies were riding high off of a last-second victory over the Top 10 Arizona Wildcats (pre-scandal).  We were 17-6 (7-3), very nearly cracking into the Top 25, with a couple of creampuff games on the road against the Oregon schools to keep the momentum going.  Obviously, the high-point of our season.

Since that night, the Huskies have gone 3-6, including a whopping 1-4 against those same fucking Oregon schools.  Those Oregon schools that aren’t worth a shit, yet somehow have our fucking number every time.  Even the lone win, against the Beavs, last week, was a nail-biter to the bitter end!

I caught a lot of the game last night at Buffalo Wild Wings in Downtown Seattle, before the Anthony Jeselnik show at The Moore, but I gotta be honest, I was a good 1 and a half sheets to the wind.  So, you know, I remember bits and pieces.  I remember both teams were fucking atrocious in the first half, offensively.  I remember the Beavs kicking it up a notch in the second half.  I remember the Huskies having the ball, tied, with a little over 30 seconds to go.  I remember Jaylen Nowell driving, pulling up in the lane, and missing a difficult shot in traffic.  I remember the Beavs going the other way and getting up a legitimate shot to win it that clanged off.  I remember the game going into overtime and I remember needing to leave right that second as the comedy show was about to start.  I remember my friend checking his phone for score updates, I remember seeing the Beavs with a 3-point lead, and I remember the score not changing as ostensibly the Huskies would’ve missed their final shot(s).

I also remember losing 40 fucking dollars on the God damned Huskies!  WHAT A START TO MY LONG GAMBLING WEEKEND IN RENO NEXT WEEK!

I mean, what can you say that hasn’t already been said?  David Crisp:  2/7 from the three-point line, with only 1 free throw attempt in 41 fucking minutes of game play.  Jaylen Nowell:  4/12 from the field, with only 3 free throw attempts in 31 minutes of game play.  Noah Dickerson, bless his heart, had 15 points and 10 rebounds while in constant foul trouble.  But, one of the keys here was the 3-man bench of Dominic Green, Naz Carter, and Hameir Wright.  They combined for 8 points, were 1/6 from beyond the arc, and ultimately made pretty much no impact in a game that was close from start to finish.  That’ll change next year, as guys are more experienced, and get used to playing with one another, but damn did it hurt the Huskies this year.

The book is out on this Husky team.  Double team Noah Dickerson (or do whatever you can to deny him the ball in the post), let David Crisp shoot all the fucking threes he wants, get physical with Jaylen Nowell, and you’ll live with the other guys trying to beat you, because the other guys are ultimately too unselfish or otherwise not good enough to beat you on most nights.

Mike Hopkins was a very deserving Coach of the Year winner in the Pac-12, considering where this team was a year ago, but he won that award the day this team beat Arizona.  I think it’s more than a little alarming the way this team finished its season.  I still have very high hopes for next year, but I’m also going to be a little cautious.

As for the rest of this year, I guess you could make an argument that the Huskies should be in the N.I.T., but I dunno.  This team has been dreadful over the last month, and there are a ton of teams just in the Pac-12 alone that have been playing MUCH better than us.  So, this might be the end of the line, which is a collosal bummer.  Fingers crossed, I guess.

Seahawks Traded Michael Bennett To The Eagles

The Deal:  Michael Bennett & a 7th Round Pick to the Eagles for Marcus Johnson & a 5th Round Pick.

Don’t get too excited about that 5th rounder, since the Eagles pick last in every round.  More or less a 6th rounder at that point.  But, I digress.

You can’t expect the market to be all that amazing for a defensive lineman who’s going to be 33 years old in November.  So, all things considered, that’s a decent haul for Michael Bennett.  On top of it, the Seahawks get out from under a $3 million bonus that would’ve come due next week, as well as his base salary for the year.  We’re still on the hook for quite a bit of dead money, and we only save about $2.2 million in cap space (not counting that other $3 million, as that didn’t reflect on our cap numbers yet), but at least we don’t have to pay out the remaining 3 years’ worth of salary (2018-2020).  That’s Philly’s problem now (which means it’s not a problem at all, since they should have zero dead money to deal with, since it’s a trade).

In return, the Seahawks get Marcus Johnson, a wide receiver who was – I guess – an undrafted free agent in 2016?  He got nominal playing time last year (5 catches in 10 games), but apparently is super fast.  And, obviously cheap.  At this point, he’s another body to throw onto the pile (with the anticipated loss of Paul Richardson), with some upside hopefully.  I imagine the Seahawks have to like him if he’s being tossed into this deal, so I’m sure he’ll get every opportunity to win a job out of Training Camp.

I’m also sure the Eagles are thrilled right now.  You don’t know what you’re going to get out of Michael Bennett at this stage of his career, but if you can get over 10 games out of him, on a rotational basis, he’s still got a lot of skills and savvy to wreak havoc.  A quality defensive line just got a lot better for 2018, for not that high a price.

As for me, the Seahawks fan, I’m a little sad.  I don’t give a shit about the Anthem protests and all that, that stuff has never bothered me.  Michael Bennett was a guy who was instrumental in the Seahawks winning their first-ever championship, and getting back to the Super Bowl in 2014.  Everyone likes to rag on him for the offsides penalties and everything – and yes, they were always aggravating – but come on, man.  What he brings from a pass rush perspective as well as a run-stopping perspective TOTALLY outweighs any on-field negatives.

Plus, you know, Michael Bennett is a funny, smart guy.  Always an entertaining interview.  And always entertaining on the field.  I’ll miss him.

But, it’s time.  It’s time to do what you can to blow up this defense and get younger in as many areas as you can.  Word on the Twitter Streets is that Richard Sherman is next.  I’ll write about that when I hear something more concrete, but let’s take it one legend at a time.

Is Michael Bennett a Ring of Honor candidate?  Abso-fucking-lutely!  Probably not a number retirement guy, but certainly an all-time Seahawks great.  Pay that man his respect!

The Huskies Head Into The Pac-12 Tournament Needing To Win It All

On Thursday, the Huskies took care of business against the Beavers, and everything lined up perfectly for Saturday’s home finale against Oregon.  Beat the Ducks, win a game or two in the Pac-12 Tourney, and you’re probably in the NCAA Tournament.  We hung in there pretty good in the first half, fell apart early in the second half, made a furious late-game comeback to get to within 4 points with less than a minute to go, but couldn’t hit a shot to close that gap.

So, here’s where we are:  20-11 overall.  10-8 in conference.  7th seed in the Pac-12 Tourney, playing 10-seed Oregon State for a rubber match this Wednesday at 6pm.  The top four seeds are, predictably, Arizona, USC, Utah, and UCLA.  If we win on Wednesday, we’d go on to play USC on Thursday.  Thankfully, we’ve beaten them before, so odds are we could do it again if we play a good game.  But, if we somehow get past the Trojans, that leaves us with either Utah or Oregon in the semifinals (Oregon plays WSU, and the Cougs have zero shot).  Both the Utes and Ducks have beaten us twice, pretty handily at that, so it’s impossible for me to imagine a scenario where the Huskies get into the Pac-12 Tournament finals.

If we did, though, that leaves us with a matchup of Arizona or UCLA (or, ASU or Colorado, if the other side of the bracket mucks it up).  At which point, we should probably root for chaos on that side of the bracket, as the worse the team that makes the finals (in a hypothetical scenario where the Huskies get that far), the better our chances of winning the whole fuckin’ thing.  I feel like that’s better for all of us than a close loss to an elite team in the finals.  Just go get the automatic bid!

Because, quite frankly, the more I think about it – now that I know the Pac-12 Tournament seeding – the more I think winning it all is the ONLY way the Huskies make the NCAA’s.  USC would be a great win.  Utah might be an okay win.  Oregon really isn’t.  The marquee name in the conference is Arizona, and we wouldn’t play them until the finals.  At that point, beating the Beavers, Trojans, and Utes is probably less impressive to the committee than just beating the Buffaloes and Wildcats.

I think it would’ve been much better for the Dawgs if we fell to the 8-seed, played either ASU or Colorado, then beaten Arizona in the second round.  At that point, we’d go up against Stanford or UCLA in the semis, and winning that would be a mortal lock for the NCAA Tournament, regardless of how we played in the Pac-12 finals.

So, that’s that.  It’s all decided this week.  I’m gearing up for the N.I.T., but I’m willing to get my hopes up if the Huskies win a couple games.