The Husky Basketball Team Is Collapsing Down The Stretch

It’s a shame, because I really have enjoyed this team this season.

The month of February wasn’t kind to the Washington Huskies men’s basketball team. Granted, it’s not totally fair when your schedule gets all its most difficult games clustered in a three-week stretch, but you play them in the order they’re laid out, and you do it without complaints. There was always two ways this could have gone: the Huskies could’ve taken this as an opportunity, to parlay a better-than-expected season into perhaps a final push towards post-season basketball … or fall on their faces. They opted for the latter. Or, rather, had the latter thrust upon them.

Our very best all-around performance happened at home, on February 10th, against the Arizona State Sun Devils, a game we won by 23. We’ve since lost 5 of our last 6 games, often by staggering amounts. We lost by 24 to Arizona, 10 at USC, 26 at UCLA, 8 at Wazzu, (before beating Wazzu at home by the same exact score), and 11 last night at home to UCLA. This Thursday, we host the Ducks, a team we previously lost to by 28, in probably our worst performance of the season. Our record after that ASU victory was 13-9 (8-4); we are now an even 14-14 (9-9). I would expect we’ll split our last two games to keep things even Steven heading into the Pac-12 Tournament.

It’s no secret why the Huskies are struggling. They’ve got Terrell Brown doing his thing game-in and game-out, but without secondary scoring, it just doesn’t work. In the loss to Arizona, Brown scored 29 of our 68 points (if memory serves, most of that was in the first half, when we kept things reasonably close); the next-highest scorers were Roberts and Matthews with 10 points each. As a team, we shot 3 for 17 from long range.

In the loss to USC, Brown had 23, Matthews had a whopping 20, but Cole Bajema had the next-highest scoring total with 8 (five of them on free throws; he shot 1/7 from the field). In the first loss to UCLA, Brown only had 13 (still leading the way), Bey had 12, Fuller had 10. In our loss to the Cougs, Fuller led the way with 23, but Brown and Bajema only had 11 each. Finally, last night, Brown had 20, Bey had 14, but once again we were sub-standard in our shooting, hitting under 30% from long range.

It’s a bummer, but not entirely unexpected. The Huskies feel like a .500 team, so it shouldn’t surprise me to see them play like one. What’s more intriguing is the fact that the Pac-12 might actually be good at basketball again, and make some noise in the Tourney like they did last year. That’s not as fun for my wallet – betting against the Pac-12 has been a big money-maker in recent years – but better for the overall strength of the conference. We might not be worth much of a damn in football, but there’s no excuse for us to be inept at basketball too. Baby steps!

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