The Pac-12 released the 2012/13 basketball schedule this week which means two things: November is inching closer and it’s time to plan your road trips. With the addition of Utah and Colorado last year, the league switched from a home-and-away 18 game schedule to a less-perfect system where you play one set of teams at home only and one set on the road only.
Last season the Huskies played at Utah and Colorado only while getting to play Cal and Stanford at Montlake only. We discussed last summer at how this could be a huge advantage as Cal and Stanford looked to be in the top half of the conference while Colorado and Utah were new with a lot of holes. As it turned out, Colorado became an extremely good squad and you could argue that a few opportunities for road victories against Cal and Stanford could have been exactly what the Dawgs needed to make the Big Dance.
The schedule this season is opposite of what it was last year in terms of the home/away series. The Huskies will host Utah and Colorado while heading down to the Bay Area for their only meeting with Cal and Stanford.
At first look it seems like a bad draw. Stanford could be greatly improved with a lot of returning pieces and Cal is always tough to beat at Berkeley. However the opportunity to get two big road wins is probably worth the extra risk of the loss if that makes any sense. Key wins were something that UW needed badly last season and this could be a chance to give an extra boost to their RPI/resume against teams that are beatable on the road. Also, it will be nice to avoid the altitude in Colorado and Utah while also introducing them to the best student section in the league. Go get ‘em Dawg Pack.
The next thing to look at is how the Huskies’ schedule fits with the way that Romar teams develop; slow and late. It looks like there’s some good news and bad news in regards to this point.
The bad news is that UW starts it’s season off with it’s first 5 of 7 games on the road. That’s probably not the best thing for a young and developing team whose coach historically struggles during it’s first half of the season. They kick things off in Pullman against a Coug team that should definitely be improved over last year and then they head straight to the Bay Area. That’s not a kind first three games.
The good news is that the Dawgs play Arizona and UCLA (the consensus two best teams) four times in their last eleven games. Hopefully that means they will be peaking and can challenge them for the Pac-12 title. That’s all you can really ask for when it comes to conference play. As you’d expect when you open with 5 of 7 on the road, the Huskies finish with 5 of 7 at home which may come in handy. Especially with the final game being against UCLA.
Other than that, the schedule is what it is. Win more games than everyone else and you make it the big dance. That is, and should always be, the goal.
The best news about this year’s Pac-12 season has nothing to do with the regular season at all. The Pac-12 Tournament’s new location in Las Vegas should be the start of an annual trip that I know I will be partaking in. I hope to see all of you there as well. Bet it all on Purple! Bow Down.