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Dots: Back on the Right Track

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Who knew that kicking back and watching T’Challa wreck bad guys for a couple of hours was the key to getting back into the NCAA Tournament conversation?

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Hopkins has righted the ship, and all it took was two hours and a handful of tickets to Regal Cinemas to make it happen.

Along with watching Black Panther and subsequently soundly beating Colorado, the Washington Huskies men’s basketball team honored alumnus Isaiah Thomas by retiring the NBA star’s No. 2 jersey in an emotional halftime ceremony. In addition, the softball team improved its record to 10-0, while the women’s basketball team extended its losing streak to nearly a month.

The Seattle Times — With honoree Isaiah Thomas offering support, Huskies snap skid by beating Colorado 82-59

After a brutal three-game skid that did tremendous damage to the program’s hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament in head coach Mike Hopkins’s debut season, the men’s basketball team finally stopped the bleeding Saturday with an impressive 23-point victory over the Colorado Buffaloes. Matisse Thybulle was the star of the show, scoring 26 points and hitting four of five shots from beyond the arc, while Noah Dickerson earned a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. For what it’s worth, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has Washington missing the Big Dance as one of his first four teams out.

The Seattle Times — Isaiah Thomas deserved his ceremony — and after the past year, he needed it, too

It’s not unreasonable to think that many fans in attendance for Saturday’s game against Colorado were there for the halftime show more than they were for the actual game. Isaiah Thomas had an unforgettable run with the Huskies, culminating in the legendary ‘Cold Blooded’ shot against Arizona to secure Washington’s conference championship in 2011, and his NBA career (including two all-star selections) has only increased his profile. IT was visibly touched by the ceremony, which former coach Lorenzo Romar and players Markelle Fultz and Marquese Chriss also attended.

The Seattle Times — UW Huskies weren’t having fun so Mike Hopkins surprises them with a trip to see Black Panther

Credit to Mike Hopkins: Mired in the midst of a three-game losing streak, he recognized that his team’s struggles were as much (or more) mental than physical, and another day of practice wasn’t going to cure what ailed them. So instead of sending his team to the hardwood, he gave them a chance to get their minds right by treating them to see Black Panther, the latest blockbuster entry into the Marvel cinematic universe that grossed an estimated $235 million in its opening weekend. Hopkins’s decision was rewarded by UW’s performance the next day, when they soundly beat Colorado by a final score of 82 to 59. (Also, I’ll take this chance here to plug Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s previous films — also starring Michael B. Jordan — Fruitvale Station and Creed, both of which are excellent and worth watching immediately.)

Sports Illustrated — Which School Landed the Best Recruiting Class at Each Position?

Thanks to the commitment of two top-tier signal-callers in Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff, Washington is judged here to have reeled in the best quarterback class of any program in 2018. What makes that distinction even more impressive is that it doesn’t factor former five-star prospect Jacob Eason’s decision to transfer to UW. Chris Petersen certainly appears to have set himself up well for post-Jake Browning life at Washington, though we will of course have to wait and see what kind of players they become at the Pac-12 level.

The All-American — For Washington’s Bush Hamdan, changes of location but not of preparation

Chantel Jennings got in touch with Chris Petersen’s offensive coordinator, who returns to Montlake after spending the 2017 season as the quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons. As for his relationship with Petersen, Hamdan says:

“Being back with Pete is probably the closest thing I have to feeling like I’m back home aside from going wherever my parents are,” Hamdan said with a laugh. “That’s the biggest thing. Chris Petersen feels like home.”

The All-American — Q&A: Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith on the benefits of knowns and unknowns in hiring and recruiting

Jennings also spoke with the former Washington offensive coordinator and current Oregon State head man about how he went about assembling his first coaching staff, including the addition of Smith’s own former head coach Mike Riley. You can see clearly the influence Chris Petersen has had on Smith here, such as when he describes the importance of recruiting a quarterback every year and how that played into the team’s success at Washington.

USA Today — NCAA considers changes to allow immediate eligibility for some transfers

In a move that could have monumental implications for the nature of college sports,

The NCAA is considering allowing athletes who are doing well in the classroom to transfer with immediate eligibility and permitting incoming freshmen to back out of a national letter of intent if there is a head coaching change.

It’s difficult to overstate the impact this could have on college football, and the way it could make its recruiting ecosystem even crazier than it already is. Imagine, for example, if this rule was in place in 2008, when redshirt freshman Kellen Moore led Boise State to a 12-1 record and a No. 11 ranking in the AP Poll. What do you think the chances are that teams across America wouldn’t attempt to back-channel communications to Moore and entice him to take his shot at a Big 10, SEC, or Pac-12 program?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in maximizing college athletes’ chances to realize their dreams, and a relaxed set of rules surrounding transfers would go a long way toward making that happen. All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if (or perhaps when) the unintended consequences of a rule change fundamentally reshape their respective sports.

The Seattle Times — Washington sets softball record with its seventh consecutive shutout, topping Seton Hall 10-0

Washington’s softball team is now somewhere on the spectrum between “Goliath” and “juggernaut,” having bested 10 consecutive opponents to start the year undefeated, including shutouts against four of its last five opponents. Up next is a doubleheader today versus Lamar, with the first pitch of game one at 12 p.m. Pacific.

The Seattle Times — Washington women fall to 1-15 in Pac-12 after Utah’s big third-quarter run nets 81-46 victory

We knew that life after Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor would be tough for the women’s basketball team, but this is something else entirely. The Dawgs aren’t just losing games: they’re getting demolished on a near-nightly basis. It’s been roughly a month since the Huskies earned their sole conference victory over Washington State on Jan. 21; since then, the team has dropped eight straight by an average of 19.5 points per contest, with the low point being a 38-point embarrassment at the hands of No. 15 Oregon State. Head coach Jody Wynn has two more games — against No. 14 Stanford and California — before her first regular season comes to a merciful end.