The Huskies en route to a 4-0 start in conference play had gotten there by playing solid defense. Tonight, that defense was nowhere to be seen. Utah was given countless opportunities for easy baskets. That got Utah, a team that has no business playing with Washington, into a confidence rhythm where they were throwing up trash and it was going in even when the Huskies played adequate defense.
I'm not a big believer in teams "not caring" but this tonight the Huskies played exactly like they would need to for someone to say that and be able to back it up. The defense was uninspired: switches were late and lazy, rotations were absent and they got beat running the floor. On offense, they became entirely a jump shooting team, and none of Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs or C.J. Wilcox could hit anything. They got down early their shot selection got worse and worse as the game progressed.
Nobody is free from blame in a disaster of a game like this, but I'm going to go ahead and dole out some specifically, starting with Aziz N'Diaye. Just a few days ago, N'Diaye was everywhere defensively, blocking shots and starting UW's offense with his defense. Tonight, he was embarrassed by Utah's big men Jason Washburn and Jordan Loveridge, who basically got two points any time they wanted to in the paint throughout the game. Aziz going for a block, missing, then (if the shot didn't go in, which was a rarity) going for a rebound and not getting it was a regular occurrence in this game.
As bad as N'Diaye was, Scott Suggs was probably the worst player on the floor. He couldn't throw it in the ocean, yet in spite of that kept shooting. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with that. He's one of your shooters, and sometimes they just need to keep shooting to try and shoot through their slump. Only, he did it in the worst way possible. Instead of letting the game come to him and trying to knock down good shots, he started jacking up bad shot after bad shot. Covered, off balance, twisting away from the basket, it didn't matter tonight for Suggs. That alone wouldn't be enough for Suggs to be the goat, but he was credited with a couple turnovers, and was responsible for at least a couple others that got credited to other players. And he got beat on defense. Frequently.
The thing that Lorenzo Romar harps on all the time about his coaching style is that he tries to find the right combinations of players to let his teams be successful. Sometimes it takes him a while to figure out how to use players, who to play them with and how much to play them. Tonight, he didn't seem to be able to figure anything out at any point. Gaddy and Suggs were killing the Huskies, and should have been yanked on several occasions. But on the floor they stayed, when guys like Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau were playing much better when given the chance. And even though Wilcox had a poor first half, the offense always needs to be run through him, but countless possessions ended without him getting a legitimate look. If someone else has the hot hand, fine, but it's unacceptable for Wilcox to be passed up so that Suggs and Gaddy can clang balls off the rim.
There were no positives. The great strides that had been made since conference play had started have been wiped away and we're still watching a team that hasn't figured anything out, and has a long way to go in all aspects. Utah is a horrible team. All the Huskies had to do to win tonight was not crap themselves, and they couldn't do it. Just embarrassing all around.