Time for the games to really count
The Washington Huskies modest four game winning streak came to an end on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Connecticut Huskies, 61-53.
For some, the loss could be seen as acceptable, considering it was their first failure since December 8th, however when you check the schedule and note the non-powerhouse names such as Seattle University, Jackson State, Cal Poly and Northern Illinois, those four teams aren’t exactly going to boost the Dawgs RPI numbers.
Sitting at 8-5 as December comes to a close, the Huskies are sitting eleventh out of the twelve teams in the conference, with only the lowly USC Trojans looking up at them.
At this point in the season, UW is looking at half the amount of losses that they totaled at the END of last season and with eighteen games left on the docket, chances of the team going 13-5 is going to be quite a stretch.
Taking a look at the opening month of the conference schedule, first up for the purple and gold is a three game run, starting off against rival Washington State (Jan 5), followed by a pair of games in California, one against the Golden Bears (Jan 9) and then the Stanford Cardinal (Jan 12).
The Huskies are 2-2 on the road to start the season, if you were to include the neutral site game at Key Arena against Seattle University, so at this point it is hard to judge how they play away from the Alaska Airlines Arena.
The WSU Cougars are currently riding a five game winning streak and have seen victory in seven of their last eight home games, although as with the Huskies, the only game of significance would be the two point loss to the #10th ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Sitting at 9-4, the Cougs are only percentage points better than their in-state rivals. The key to victory for the Huskies will be containing senior forward Brock Motum.
Cal hasn’t played up to the standards they set last season, while Stanford is on par from where they were in 2011-12.
Of the three games away from home, all of which are winnable for the Huskies, realistically coming back to campus with a 2-1 record would be more than acceptable for this club.
*Predicted record 2-1*
Upon returning to HEC Edmundson Pavilion, the Huskies will face a tough Colorado Buffalo squad that at the end of their non-conference schedule sits 10-2, with a victory over the top 25 ranked Baylor Bears.
Three days later, the Utah Utes come to the Northwest, in a game that the Huskies should not overlook, but should come away with a “W”.
*Predicted record 3-2*
While the Beavers are doing their best to erase a horrible season last year, the Ducks are slowly pecking away for some honorable mention in the top 25.
A victory on the road against both Oregon teams will be hard to come by, however out of the two, chances are better against the Beavers.
*Predicted record 4-3*
The Dawgs close out January with a home game against the Arizona Wildcats (currently ranked #3).
This will be only the second time this season that the Huskies will have played a nationally ranked team (if everything stays as is).
Unfortunately for UW fans, chances of locking down a home court victory are pretty slim, however, this could be the game that the Huskies measure their season on, win or lose.
*Predicted record 4-4*
All things considered, with this current roster, coming out of the first month of conference action with a .500 record isn’t as bad as spilled milk.
Unfortunately, where the Huskies are getting beat, is up front, where only Aziz N’Diaye has proven to be a nightly threat in the paint on both ends of the court.
If Coach Romar can get his younger Huskies to step up their games a notch or two over the next two months, the outcome of the conference season may be on the more positive side.