I’d Say More Like One Out Of A Million: Why The Huskies Still Could Make The Big Dance

Yesterday, I wrote about why the Husky basketball team has been a big, fat disappointment.  And right around this time next week, when they get bounced in the Pac-12 Tournament, I’ll be writing the same damn thing.

But, today, we get to dream a little dream.  It’s an implausible dream.  It’s a dream where you wake up muttering to yourself, “What the hell did I eat last night?”  It’s going to take A LOT of suspension of disbelief, but I’m going to need you to go with me on this, because the 2016 Mariners season is still in its zygote stage, and I can’t for the life of me think of anything interesting to write about the fucking Seahawks right now.

The last time the Huskies won the conference tournament was in 2011.  I think you hear me knocking; I think I’m coming in.  Cold Blooded, motherfuckers.

That was a better team than this Husky team, by far.  A deeper team, a more veteran team.  Five upper classmen played significant roles, compared to this team’s two (and Dime is an upper classman in name only, because he’s a JuCo transfer in his first year in the program; plus, all the announcers keep mistaking him for a Freshman anyway, so why not roll with it?).  That team also finished 3rd in the regular conference season, compared to this team’s (7th? 9th?) garbage finish.  As such, that team got to enjoy playing one game less than this team will.  It edged by a decent Wazzu team, pounded an over-their-heads Oregon team, and won that all-time classic against Arizona in the finale.

This team, as I mentioned, has a much tougher route.  Next Wednesday, probably in the afternoon, the Huskies will have to beat a team that’s probably its equal (a team in the Stanford/UCLA range), on a neutral floor.  It’s what we’re going to go ahead and call a “winnable” game, even though it’ll probably come down to a final possession, maybe some free throws, or even a crazy, jacked-up three pointer at the buzzer.  On any given night, this Husky team could beat any team in this conference, so I’ll bite and call this game a 50/50 affair.

That puts us into Thursday, probably right around the same time of day as the previous game, against one of the top four teams in the conference.  On zero days rest.  So, yeah, whoever’s playing the Huskies will be heavily favored.  It’s going to be a significant upset, but if the Huskies can get their shooters going, or hope for the other team to come out cold, maybe they can keep it close and pull out a miracle in the end.  I probably give the Huskies a 10% chance of winning this game.

That gets us to the Semis on Friday, most likely against another top four team.  What are the odds the Huskies beat two top four teams on back-to-back days?  Probably pretty slim; I give us a 5% chance in this one.  Which leads into the showdown on Saturday, against some other top four team who’s also really good.  Beating three top four teams, on back-to-back-to-back days?  On our fourth straight day of basketball?  With no bench help whatsoever, and a roster only 7-deep?  Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say we’ve got a 1% chance of winning this one.

So, why even bother?  Why not just throw in the towel right now?

Because Andrew Andrews is playing for his basketball life.  He’s not going into the NBA.  If he decides to pursue a basketball career as a player, he’s going to have to go overseas, which is fine.  He’ll get to see the world and continue pursuing a passion.  He might even find success, and I hope he does.  But, as far as his American basketball career is concerned, this is it.  He’s got this, and if he fails, he’s got the N.I.T. for the second time in his college career, with zero NCAA Tournament appearances.  He’s going down as one of the all-time greatest Huskies (whether you like it or not), and for him to be iced out of the Big Dance is beyond criminal.  No one will be playing harder than Andrews, and I believe he’s got the stuff to rival I.T.’s shot against Arizona five years ago.

Because Murray and Chriss are still playing for draft positioning.  The conference tournament isn’t the be-all end-all, but it’s a significantly bigger stage than the regular season.  This is their last chance to make an impact on a more national stage before they’re swallowed up in the N.I.T. where no one is watching.  The more the Huskies win in the Pac-12 Tourney, the more exposure they’re going to get for scouts and NBA executives.  Their paydays could rightly be riding on next week.

And because I have to believe that Lorenzo Romar is going to pull out any and all stops.  This is no longer about getting your younger guys experience.  This is no longer about the players coming in next year, or in the years to come.  This is about right here and now.  Do or die.  If someone isn’t getting it done, fuck it, he’s got to have a quick hook and put someone in there who WILL get it done.  Here’s to hoping he’s got a secret up his sleeve that he’s been saving all year, because it’s now or never.

It would be the miracle to end all miracles.  Four games in four days, against solid competition.  The disappointing players need to get their mojos back, the stars need to shine, the shooters need to be on point from long range, the big men need to rebound like their lives depend on it, the foul-prone need to tighten things up, and the refs need to drink all their brain & nerve tonic, because we can’t have their bullshit deciding games.

Or, shit, if some rich Husky fan could bribe everyone involved, I’d settle for that too.

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