2011/12 Dawgs…NIT bound?
The regular season for the Washington Huskies men’s basketball team officially wrapped up with their heartbreaking loss to Oregon State in the semi-finals of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday. It was the first time in conference history that the #9 seed took out the #1 seed.
With that loss, there is wild speculation that the Huskies tourney bid is in jeopardy despite winning the regular season title.
I was more optimistic about the Huskies making the NCAA tourney, but optimism has vanished and pessimism has entered the discussion. The Huskies lost their season finale to UCLA followed by a loss in their first game in the conference tournament to Oregon State.
The Huskies were skating on thin ice as it was and this gives the selection committee all the more reason to make an example out of the Dawgs.
Do I hope and wish that the Huskies will still make the tournament? Absolutely.
Do I think they deserve it? Absolutely not.
The Huskies did a lot right and a lot wrong during their Pac-12 tourney matchup. Let’s break em down, shall we?
Tony Wroten was electric as always, setting a career high and Husky freshman record for points in a game with 29. He had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to go along with the 29 points. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year was dominant when he could get himself in the lane and working with his left hand. As advertised, he lit Oregon State up en route to his record-setting performance.
He played 38 minutes in the game, about his average and often lead the team like a true leader. As the season progressed, Wroten has improved on one facet of his game or another, but one thing remained the same…when he goes left, you lose.
The Huskies were down by 15 coming out of halftime. Things actually looked bleak when they went into the locker room to close the first half. Then Lorenzo Romar got a hold of them. The team came back in the second half and not only erased that 15 point deficit, but jumped ahead by 8 themselves at one point.
The comeback showed the team’s versatility and will to win although it fell short. The determination shown by the Huskies was awe-inspiring as they came together as a single unit and dominated for a good portion of the half. This is something Husky fans have not seen for a good portion of the season.
It isn’t Romar’s fault his guys took stupid shots. He actually set up a good game plan for the Dawgs.
Going into halftime, he worked his magic and said SOMETHING right, because the team came out and erased that 15 point deficit. That was good ol Romar, giving it to the guys at halftime, inspiring them to pull their head out of you know where and actually play the game they were taught.
Lorenzo Romar has been a godsend for this basketball program. His consistent winning ways have made the Huskies a formidable team year in and year out.
If you’re a true Husky fan, you feel the same way. Love him AND hate him. The guy is a scorer, that’s all he’s ever done. It gets him trouble at times, and it hurt this team against Oregon State. Yes, he had 29 points. Yes he went 10-19 from the field. Did you see the 9 shots he missed, though?
Those 9 shots were forced, sideways, and awkward. If he had made better choices, been more patient, been more mature, those 9 shots would’ve been extra points to his total or assists if he had been looking around for an open man instead of taking it himself.
Then you come to the two weakest areas of his game all year: free throws and turnovers. Wroten had 4 more turnovers against Oregon State. Yes, that number is lower than it would have been earlier in the season, but it is still 2 more above the next guy on the team. He needs to protect the ball better.
And his free throws? He went 9-16 in the game. Yes, that is slightly above his average, but 60% will just not do. Not at the position he plays. He is supposed to be a shooter. Free throws are the basic element to scoring in this game. To not be able to make free throws make your worth go down, period.
The team’s aggressiveness has been applauded at times and chided at other times. You want an aggressive team, yes, but not aggressive enough to foul players out of most game this season. The Huskies are so aggressive that at least one player fouls at every game. You can’t have that, especially your important guys down the stretch. And that’s exactly who this is happening to.
When your team needs you on the court down the stretch, committing stupid fouls just hurts the cause.
Poor free throw shooting…again
I highlighted Wroten’s free throw numbers earler. Not bad, like I said, but should be better. The rest of the team, however, have no excuse for the pile of crap they threw up from the free throw line.
Wroten went 9-16 from the free throw line. The rest of the team? 3-10.
There’s not a whole lot more you can say after looking at that stat. That’s terrible. Just plain terrible.