Losing to the Cougars Could Be Good for UW's Big Dance Plans

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Last night's abysmal performance by the Huskies--an 80-69 loss to WSU at Hec Ed--was the nadir of a season that has been filled with constant disappointment. Not only did the defeat to their cross-state rivals snap a 14-game home winning streak for UW, it exposed every single one of the team's many flaws and weaknesses. That said, there is still a glimmer of hope for Lorenzo Romar and Co.

Two--and only two--positive things came out of last night's abomination of a basketball game, in which the Huskies committed 16 turnovers, shot just 33 percent from the field, and generally shat the bed in every conceivable manner.

First, virtually no one outside of the state of Washington saw it happen. A 7 p.m. tip-off ensured that the East Coast and Midwest were asleep by the time the final buzzer sounded. Anyone who had their TV on was likely tuned in to the Oscars or the Knicks/Heat NBA game. Yes, a loss is a loss, but most of the tournament selection committee will read a short blurb about it in today's paper. It's the old "If a tree falls in the forest . . . " situation, and fortunately for UW not many people were around to hear their season come crashing down.

Second, if the Huskies can get their act together and sweep the Los Angeles schools this coming week, then win at least one Pac-10 tournament game, they are on track for a 12 or 11 seed in the Tourney. As Percy Allen pointed out this morning, that would be a significantly better scenario than a 8-9 crapshoot game and a second-round match-up against a 1-seed.

Admittedly, the "if" in "if the Huskies beat UCLA and USC" is ginormous. What were once minor blemishes in UW's game--soft post play, reliance on 3-point shooting, and poor free-throw shooting--have become glaring vulnerabilities. If the Huskies lose one more regular-season game and then flounder in the conference tournament, they can put away their dancing shoes and pack their bags for the NIT.

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