The Huskies aren’t a Top 10 team in the AP Rankings and I don’t think they ever will be this season. Indeed, as I write this, we’re not even in the Top 25, though I would expect that to change at some point. The Huskies are 7-2 and are technically 27th in voting, which also feels right given our tough loss to Gonzaga on Sunday.
It was a fairly crisp, back-and-forth affair that would see Gonzaga take a sizable lead, only for the Huskies to repeatedly come back and make it close. But, we could never quite get over the hump, as the Zags shot almost 48% from the field and nailed a good chunk of their free throws to win it 83-76. The game was closer than the score would let on, but at no point did the Huskies seriously threaten to win the game. We led 5-4 early on, and never grabbed the lead back again, coming as close as 75-73 with just under three minutes to go, but our defense pretty much fell apart from there.
The tale of this game came down to turnovers (we had 7 more than they did) and offensive rebounds (they held an 11-2 advantage). Otherwise, the Huskies beat them in field goal percentage and nailed three more 3-pointers than they did (while matching them dead even in foul shots attempted & made). Ergo, the ultimate takeaway from all this is what we’ve been saying all season: this is a good Husky team, this is a young Husky team, and this is a Husky team that should vastly improve as the season goes on.
Our two defeats came to Tennessee (19th in the AP) and Gonzaga (6th in the AP) while our best victory is still over Baylor in the opener, who is currently ranked 11th (ours is their only defeat so far). I mean, of course, as a Husky fan I would’ve LOVED to see us beat the Zags, but for the most part we’re right where we want to be. We’ve played a tough non-conference schedule, we’ve beaten all the teams we’re supposed to beat, and we even stole one from a quality opponent to give our resume a little kick come Tourney time.
As for the rest of the Pac-12, it’s a far cry from the ineptitude we saw in last year’s non-conference slate. The Ducks are currently in the Top 10, with quality wins over Memphis and Seton Hall. Arizona and Colorado are also in the Top 25; with the Huskies nipping on their heels, you could say the Pac-12 has put up a respectable fight so far, with about three weeks to go before the confernece season starts.
The Dawgs get another nice, long break before a Seattle U tune-up game on the 17th, then we go to Hawaii for a little Christmas-week tournament. I don’t see any potential high-profile victories among that group, but winning it would be a nice way to close out the non-conference part of the season. Come January 2nd, the games matter just a little bit more.
Steady progress from game-to-game, that’s the goal at this point. God Awgs!