As fun as it all was, this was bound to happen sooner or later. Even with the conference being as bad as it is, I think the last thing we needed was to finish 18-0. That’s just setting you up for DISASTER down the road, when expectations would’ve been sky-high. As it is, we’ve done enough to warrant a Tourney berth, and maybe inadvertently helped the conference ensure a second team also makes it.
The Sun Devils are a fucking mystery. I mean, they clearly were the only team in the Pac-12 to make a dent in their non-conference slate – beating ranked teams like Mississippi State and top-ranked Kansas – but they’ve also lost home games against Princeton, Utah, and Washington State as recently as last Thursday. I think the committee REALLY wants to include them in the NCAA Tourney based on their resume, but the Sun Devils are making it nearly impossible.
Dismantling the Husky zone, however, was a nice feather in their cap.
I missed this game, but the numbers tell the whole story. It doesn’t look like the Huskies played particularly bad in this one. We had our usual turnover issues (17) but countered that with 12 steals, 2 blocks, and forcing them into 24 turnovers of their own. Crisp, Nowell, and Dickerson all scored in double digits to keep us in it (though Crisp’s 4/14 from three was pretty … ugh), but this game entirely boiled down to the Sun Devils shooting almost 62% from the floor. That’s NUTS! Sure, they hit 35% from long range, but that just means they had their 2-point shots on lock, to a degree we haven’t seen in quite some time.
What’s yet to be determined is if it was just a fluke – like a computer video game opponent in Fuck You mode – or if they unlocked some sort of Pandora’s Box secret to beating our defense. I’m inclined to believe it was the former, but as I said up top, it’s good that this happened. The Huskies needed a reality check, and if you’re going to lose a game, there are worse teams to lose to. The Sun Devils are still respected nationally, so it makes sense to lose in their house. Beating them – and thus having the Washington schools come in there and sweep – would’ve almost ensured they’d need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to make it in the Big Dance. This way, they still have a realistic shot at an at-large bid.
Look at that, a win over the Huskies is actually an accomplishment! It’s been a while since we could say that!
Up next, we’ve got Part 2 of the Apple Cup, this time over in snowy Pullman. With Dickerson’s ankle still banged up, this is fortuitous timing, allowing him a few extra days to heal.