The Huskies are 5-2 after a tougher-than-it-had-to-be victory over Eastern Washington last night. I’m still pretty sure I haven’t seen a minute of this team play this season, but let’s get real. These are the same guys we’ve seen for 4 years. They’ve progressed a nominal amount. So, in that sense, it’s like I’ve seen EVERY game.
Now, part of why I haven’t seen the Huskies play this season has to do with the Pac-12 conference and our inept commissioner, Larry Scott, who is this disease that just won’t go away. The exposure-level for this conference is non-existent. These games against some relatively good schools are being televised NOT on the Pac-12 Network – because no one HAS the fucking Pac-12 Network – but rather the SEC Network (at Auburn) or the Big 10 Network (Minnesota). It’s 2018 and I live in Tacoma, Washington. I shouldn’t have to listen to the radio in 2018 to know what my basketball team is doing, because I don’t subscribe to the most elite sports cable package in existence! These games should be on NORMAL cable sports networks, and they’re not, and that’s a failing that goes right to the top.
Also, I mean, what’s with these 8pm starts? Are you fucking kidding me? Who on the East Coast is going to be able to stay up until an 11pm start time to watch our product? We have ZERO national presence in a day and age where sports are more popular than ever and they’re more in demand than ever! If ESPN wants to shunt us off to the middle of the night, then maybe we don’t do a deal with ESPN anymore. Maybe we jump to FOX or maybe we take our product to Amazon, and we get some reasonable fucking start times for these games!
But, I digress. Our worthless commissioner isn’t the only reason why this season is going down the shitter. The conference itself is in the worst shape I’ve ever seen it in. Oregon is the only team in the Top 25. ASU and UCLA are receiving votes, but come on. I read somewhere that the Pac-12 has the worst record against Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 teams among all the power conferences, and it’s not even close! Time’s running out in the non-conference season, and there’s no reason for that to get any better over the next month. We’re going to head into conference play – where we always cannibalize ourselves into oblivion – as the consensus worst power conference in basketball and when it comes to Tournament time, we’d be LUCKY to get 3 teams in. Odds are, it’ll be 2. Non-power conferences are going to start lapping us!
How is it that an entire 12-team conference can be so bad at bringing in basketball talent? And how can we be so bad at developing the talent we do have?!
The longer this goes on, the more ingrained in the rest of the nation this perception (reality) is going to be. We’re ALREADY an afterthought in any national college basketball column, at what point are we ignored entirely? At what point do we become the Sun Belt Conference?
So, we’ve got that going for us. Then, there’s our actual record. 2 losses against the only 2 quality opponents we’ve faced this season. Auburn’s a top 10 team, and the game was played down there, so that’s understandable. But, losing that game to Minnesota on a last second shot – where we essentially threw the game away on a Jaylen Nowell turnover with an opportunity to extend our lead and at least push it into overtime – is a crisis-level event.
Looking forward, the odds of going to Gonzaga and beating the #1 team in the nation is 0.00%. Even if that game wasn’t starting at 8pm, there’s no fucking way in hell I’d watch that massacre! That puts us at 0-3 against the big teams. All that’s left is a neutral-floor game against a highly-ranked Virginia Tech team. Where is that “neutral-floor”? Atlantic City. 2,836 miles away from Seattle, and only 446 miles from Blacksburg, VA. You tell me, who’s more likely to win that one?
Ultimately, it’s probably going to come down to whether or not the Huskies can win the Pac-12 Tournament. Given the state of the conference, I like our chances as much as anyone. It would help if we could get into the Top 4 and have a BYE for that first round. But, I mean, I’ve watched this team. I’ve watched it for four years. It’s the same team that can’t shoot, that goes LOOOOONG stretches without scoring, and while it has some nice defensive pieces, it still gets into foul trouble at the drop of a hat. I would NEVER trust this team to win 3 consecutive conference games with our season on the line!
The fact of the matter is, this team just isn’t getting any better. It is what it is. When we shoot well – like we did, for the most part, last night against the Eagles – we’ll most likely win. When we don’t, and we’re stuck playing a close game down to the final possession, we just don’t have the talent to win in crunch time.
We’re in our second season post-Romar, but being stuck with all of his guys makes it feel like nothing’s changed. I can’t wait until we’re able to cycle through these duds and see what Coach Hopkins can do with his own players.