I’m going to sound like an asshole saying this after the fact, but you have to believe me when I say that I saw this game coming a mile away.
Teams don’t look as bad as the Huskies have looked at times – mostly early in the season, against the likes of Saint Louis, South Dakota State, and Colorado – and just turn it on the rest of the season. There was EVENTUALLY going to be a game like last night’s. Where our offense was crushed under the weight of our own poor shooting, our own poor ball-handling, and a baffling inability to score at the free throw line. Tack on the fact that our defense took the night off at the very same time when Oregon’s offense was the best it has been all season, and you’ve got a recipe for a 25-point road blowout loss.
Just so you don’t think I’m a total 20/20 Hindsight Turd, I’ll tell you this: don’t be surprised if we go home from this Oregon weekend winless and mired somewhere in 2nd place with a ton of other teams.
How did I see last night’s game coming? I’ll point to the Wazzu game and the UCLA game as Exhibit’s A & B. We played like absolute shit in both of those games (at home, no less), and it took an other-worldly effort by Terrence Ross to pull us out of the fire. Here’s the thing: we can’t keep spinning our wheels in the mud in the first halves of ballgames, then expect one guy to explode for the difference in points! Because eventually, you’re either going to dig yourselves a hole too big to climb out of (like last night), or you’re going to find your golden goose sorely lacking in his miracle eggs.
There was nothing good about last night. You can find the numbers; the Huskies were as bad as they’ve ever been. But, there was nothing SURPRISING about last night. That defeat was coming at one time or another. Better now, against an upstart Oregon team in a rowdy environment, than later, like in the all-important Pac-12 Tournament.
Because make no mistake, that Pac-12 Tournament is IT. Unless the Huskies find a way to win out – which is easier said than done, considering our lack of experience and our injuries to key guys like Wilcox & Wroten – they’re going to have to go all the way in the conference tourney. Last night’s loss didn’t just set us back in our quest for a regular season title, but it set back the whole conference. With the Pac-12 as bad as it is against everyone else in college basketball, you can’t have a bunch of parity like we’re seeing right now with something like half the conference within 2 games of the top. If they were hoping to see more than one Pac-12 team in the NCAA Tourney, the Pac-12 REALLY needed just two or three teams to severely separate themselves from the pack. Washington, with its abysmal RPI, was the most in need of distancing itself, and with last night’s loss, it failed in that regard.
It’s easy to say Sunday’s game against Oregon State is a must win, but really, ALL of their games are must win. Except, not really. Just the Pac-12 Tournament games. Nevertheless, it would be ideal to have a high seed going into that thing.