Despite checking the Pound daily, I haven’t posted on the blog much lately so I thought I’d do a quick write up on the husky basketball season so far. This won’t have much, if any analysis, just a quick summary of the season to date. For those of you that have followed Husky basketball at all this year know the nonconference schedule was hard to watch to say the least. Sooo I’m going to skip the nonconference slate, partially because I am lazy and partially because I don’t want to revisit that mess. In short, the Huskies beat nobody approaching the RPI top 4,000 during the nonconference, they lost to the Anteaters, and they finished 8-5.
The Huskies started their conference schedule by playing on the road @ ASU. ASU finished their nonconference with an 11-2 record and were 60th in RPI coming into their showdown against Washington. Despite being heavy underdogs, the Huskies took a 40-23 lead into halftime by playing tough defense and limiting ASU guard Jahii Carson. Washington withheld a second half run by ASU and were able to win by a score of 76-65. Washington was able to get 42 points inside the paint and had 11 offensive boards resulting in easy second chance points.
After the Huskies surprising win against ASU, they were lucky enough to play #1 ranked Arizona. The Huskies would have to match up with Arizona starters 6-8 Brandon Ashley, 6-9 Aaron Gordon, 7-0 Kaleb Tarczewski, and super athlete Nick Johnson, all highly recruited future NBA prospects. Despite being undermanned, the Huskies stuck with the Wildcats and led by 2 at half. Eventually the skill of Arizona was too much to overcome as the Huskies couldn’t hold onto their slim lead and lost 71-62 (although the game was much closer than the score indicated). Despite gritty defense, the 15 turnovers and poor 3 point shooting (2-12) were just a couple reasons the Huskies couldn’t pull off the major upset.
The third conference game of the year was the first home game for the Dawgs. They were up against Utah, who finished their ridiculously easy nonconference schedule at 11-2. I’ll admit I was unable to watch the Utah game, but know the Huskies almost gave this one away at the end. After some missed FT’s and a sloppy TO, the Huskies gave Utah a chance to tie or win it with under 10 second left. Luckily, Delon Wright missed a corner 3 and the Huskies escaped by 2, 59-57. After being up by 9 with two minutes left the Huskies were lucky to come away with a W. Utah now has 4 losses, but none by more than 3 points.
The fourth conference game of the year came against #15 Colorado this Sunday. Again I was unable to watch the game because of work, but it was another impressive showing by the Huskies and CJ Wilcox. Wilcox went off for a career high 7 three-pointers and 31 points (also a career high), 21 of which came in the second half. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was guarding Wilcox while on the court, went down near the end of the first half and was forced to leave for the rest of the game (it has since been determined that he is out for the year with a knee injury). The Huskies held Askia Booker to 0-9 from the field and once Dinwiddie went down Colorado was outscored 49-29. The Huskies went on to win 71-54, despite only 6 points from their post players. It was the Huskies first win against a ranked opponent since Isaiah Thomas’ cold-blooded 3-pointer beat Arizona in the 2011 Pac-10 Championship game. Yea, that’s right, we had not beat a ranked opponent since the Pac-12 formed.
After a rough start to the season the Huskies have played much better during conference play and find themselves near the top of the Pac-12 at 3-1. The improvement in defense, the leadership/skill of Wilcox, and the continued improvement from the young guards are a few reasons the Huskies have had some success recently. Along with the recent improvement, Romar has also had some success on the recruiting front, getting verbals from two commits in the last two days. Here is who committed:
David Crisp- Crisp is a 6-1 180 pound PG from Rainier Beach. He has offers from Nebraska and Boise State and is one of several Beach players with offers from the Huskies. Kevin Cacabelos wrote an article when Crisp committed on Sunday.
Marquese Chriss- 6-8 PF from Pleasant Grove HS in California. Chriss is a highly touted 2015 recruit with offers from Arizona, ASU, Cal, USC, and Gonzaga among others. He is a consensus 4-star recruit and a big man that the Huskies clearly need to assist their young guards. Kirk already has a video and some notes on the big man. Check it out if you want to see his highlight videos.
Although it still appears the Huskies are an extreme longshot to make the NCAA tournament, the recent success both on the court and in recruiting is encouraging. I have been a major Romar supporter since he has been here and hopefully the recent new life of the program is an indication that Romar can get the Dawgs back to the top of the Pac shortly. For the first time in awhile the basketball program is picking up some steam. Go Dawgs!