Everybody's an expert when the NCAA tournament comes 'round, as the H.R. lady who can't tell the difference between a basketball and a honeydew is virtually guaranteed to whoop Jay Bilas' ass in a head-to-head bracket showdown. Punditry's cheap, but science is hard, folks. Hence, with the University of Washington Huskies set to challenge the University of New Mexico Lobos in Saturday's round of 32, we decided to bypass the usual suspects and focus instead on which animal, a Husky or a Lobo, would be likeliest to prevail if the actual canines--and not the large humans running around with cartoon dogs on their tank tops--were to face one another on the basketball court.
This Husky has sweet eyes, which doesn't bode well for UW's chances against the Lobos.
For this task, we enlisted the analytical abilities of expert handicapper Kay Joubert, Director of Companion Animal Services for PAWS.Huskies, explains Joubert, "are one of the arctic breeds, and everybody knows them traditionally for pulling sleds, which has helped conquer many parts of North America."
Conquer? UW grads (including yours truly) have got to love where this is going, and it only gets better: "The Huskies have been used by Eskimos and other Native Americans, and they really are bred for pulling. So for us Americans in warmer climates, if we're going to have a Husky, they're going to be needing a lot of exercise. They can go for miles and miles and are very athletic dogs. They do tend to bond with other dogs in their packs. As far as their relationship with humans, they're known for being a little more aloof. When they're pulling the sleds, they have to figure out what's ahead, so they're definitely leaders, and they set a fast pace."
Athletic. Leaders. Setting a fast pace. Bonding with the other dogs in the pack. The Huskies can't lose, right?
When asked point blank which team of dogs she feels would win a hypothetical canine game of hoops, Joubert doesn't hesitate with her response. "I'd have to go with the Lobos. Wolves retain their natural hunting skills and predatory capabilities, so they're always going to be looking for the weakness in their prey. They too have a lot of stamina and are very athletic. And they haven't been domesticated at all to soften up."
The Lobo's lack of domestication makes it a vicious foe.
Husky fans shouldn't abandon all hope, however, as Joubert is a Wazzu grad, so her opinion should be taken with a grain of alcohol. Plus, remember what Bobby Knight once said to New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, who played for Knight at Indiana: "I don't think you could lead a whore to bed."
Husky fans had better hope Alford shows similar ineptitude with his pack of wolves tomorrow.