There’s nothing sadder than a mediocre team who thinks they still have a chance for the post-season.
Let’s face it, unless you were the pie-eyedest of all homers, you knew pretty early on this season (like, for instance, game 2 at home against Albany; a 63-62 defeat) that for the Huskies to make the NCAA Tournament, they would have to win the Pac-12 Tournament. Nothing has changed. At least earlier this season, there was hope of a turnaround. You know, the kind of turnaround that would cause a team to catch fire and possibly overcome all those regular season defeats to jump up and manage to WIN that conference tournament.
Now: not so much.
It’s hopeless, okay? It’s hopeless. The best thing this coaching staff can do: look towards next year.
That doesn’t mean tank. I want to make that perfectly clear. There would be no logical reason to tank a college basketball season anyway, so let’s not go nuts. What I’m getting at is a simple tweak. For instance: let’s beef up the rotation. Right now, we’re on a thinner-than-thin 7-man rotation. I don’t think it would hurt one God damned bit to see guys like Jarreau or Breunig getting 8-12 minutes a game. Do we REALLY need Aziz playing 30+ minutes? I know he’s our best defender, but he’s gone after this season! Would it kill this staff to spread some minutes around to other guys, to see if they have a chance in Hell of contributing EVER in their college careers?
Also, I would seriously consider giving the starting job to Andrews over Gaddy. At this point, what are you clinging to? Husky fans actively hate the player Gaddy has become. He may be a wonderful person off the court, but he’s a walking liability and every Husky fan is counting down the days until he’s out of our lives forever. Sorry, but that’s the way it is (and I’m not really sorry).
The fact of the matter is, there’s not really a lot you CAN do with this team. But, one thing you could do, in theory, is return the offense to the Motion offense. The big storyline this year has been the switch to the UCLA High-Post offense. We hired a new assistant coach who specialized in the thing, and it was supposed to help this offense succeed with the personnel they have on the team. But, obviously, since we’ve only been averaging 68 points per game (good for a lowly 152nd in college basketball), I would say that’s been a total and complete flop.
I’m not saying that said offense is hopeless, but maybe just let it go for the rest of THIS season. There’s a poignant moment in an episode of The Simpsons. Bart’s dog has been acting out and if he doesn’t pass Obedience School, the family has vowed to get rid of him. Well, the night before the big final exam, Bart is frantically trying to get Santa’s Little Helper to learn what’s necessary to pass, ultimately suffering through tearful frustration at a dog who won’t understand. Lisa comes up to him and asks him if he wants to spend his last remaining hours with the dog torturing him – and himself – or would he rather spend those last hours running and playing and having fun?
That’s my suggestion for this Husky team. What’s the point in forcing this High-Post offense down their throats when the primary starters on this team – Aziz, Gaddy, & Suggs – are all Seniors and another – Wilcox – is a Junior who might leave early for the NBA? Why not, instead, let them run the offense they’ve run every other year they’ve been on this team?
Early in the season, Romar would abandon the High-Post in games when the Huskies were losing by a lot and needed a spark. Ultimately, abandoning the High-Post worked, and the Huskies were able to play their way back into some games. But, now, Romar seems weirdly stubborn about sticking to this High-Post thing. Give it up! Let your seniors go out doing what they do best!
It would make sense for just about everyone. Who is coming back next year that figures to be a major part of the team? Andrews, Kemp, Simmons, and MAYBE Wilcox. If you want to return to the High-Post next year, fine, go nuts. All of those guys would have experience – having played it through most of this 2012/2013 season – so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for them to pick it back up again; and all of the incoming Freshmen would have no real history with the Motion Offense, so they wouldn’t be all that confused by a switch.
What am I most looking for out of these final six regular season games? Well, ideally, I’d like to see the Huskies win some fucking games! The way we’re going right now – having lost 7 of their last 8 after starting conference play 4-0 – if this trend continues, it’s only going to throw more buckets of gasoline on the Fire Romar campaign. I’m not even asking for a “signature win”! Just give me a victory over the Beavers tomorrow, the Cougs on March 3rd, and the Trojans on March 6th. All are home games, all are games against beat-able teams. We can get trounced at Arizona, Arizona State, and at home against UCLA, then follow that up with a 1st round exit in the Pac-12 Tournament, but if we win the three games I listed above, I think Romar is safe.
But, if we find a way to lose out, then you have to make the argument that this is the first-ever Husky team that has given up on Coach Romar. There won’t be any other way to spin it. At that point, I wouldn’t be shocked if Romar is canned. What I think is more likely is that Romar gets one more season, but starts out on the hot seat from Day 1. Look bad during non-conference play NEXT season, and I think Romar gets fired without an opportunity to recover.