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.