It’s amazing how fast things change in a week in college basketball. A week ago at this time the Huskies were 4-0 in conference play, with a home game against an 0-5 Utah team that struggled mightily up to that point. Well the Huskies got out to a slow start and never recovered leading to a 74-65 defeat. Then Wednesday night was another winnable game on the road versus Oregon State (yes a winnable road game for the Huskies, I’m shocked too that those are words I typed). Well same story different night, the Huskies went down by as many as 19 in the first half, but pulled to within one in the second half, only to fall short 74-66. Saturday brings in a whole new animal, 16th ranked Oregon, on the road, with a two-game losing streak threatening to become three on the line. Oh by the way Oregon in 17-2 and 6-0 in conference play. Judgement day has arrived for the 2012-2013 Washington Huskies
This is as close to a must-win game for the Huskies as it gets before the Pac-12 tournament. After Saturday the Huskies come home to play sixth ranked Arizona, and Arizona State who is currently tied with the Huskies in conference play at 4-2. So the schedule doesn’t get any easier, especially with a visit to the LA schools the following weekend.
With a win this could be a season changing win, and potential program changing win for the Huskies. An example was when the Huskies went to Oregon State in the 2003-2004 season. The Huskies at that point were 0-5 in conference play and struggling. The Huskies were down by 16 with just over 10 minutes to go and in serious danger of going 0-6. But the Huskies rallied, and Nate Robinson hit a game-tying three to force overtime, and the Huskies won 103-99. The Huskies would go on and win 13 of their last 16, defeating a number one ranked, undefeated Stanford team, a finals appearance in the Pac-10 tournament, and an eight seed in the NCAA tournament (lost in the first round to UAB). That led to the most successful run of Husky basketball in school history, with three conference tournament championships, two conference regular season championship, six NCAA tournament appearances, two Sweet 16 appearances, and seven current NBA player. A win would just build on that success in recent year, and it’s always sweet to beat Oregon (God I hate Oregon, even more than WSU).
A loss however would extend the current losing streak, and potentially send this Husky team into a tail spin. As I noted the upcoming schedule you have four very tough match-ups coming up after Saturday, this team following a loss Saturday could completely just collapse. Chances of a an NCAA bid this season? Gone. Loss of confidence in each other? You bet. Calls for Romar’s head? Please hold and an operator will get to you in 12 hours. Ok maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic, but a loss on Saturday could signal the end of the run of success over the last nine seasons, and Lorenzo Romar being shown the door after the season.