The Husky basketball season has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions so far. It started poorly with losses to Albany, Colorado State, and Nevada, but then turned around with a 4-0 start to Conference play. This strong start was powered by defensive intensity, the improved play of Aziz N’Diaye, as well as the strong shooting of both C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs. The Huskies quickly took a turn for the worse however, losing all three of their next conference games including terrible losses to Utah and Oregon State. A lack of offense beyond superstar C.J. Wilcox has been a major problem for the Huskies in recent weeks as they have not been able to put together very much offense at all when he has not shot the ball well. That being said, the losses cannot only be attributed to a lack of offense as the Huskies just haven’t come out with enough energy these past two weeks, and it is clear that in the Pac-12, no opponent can be taken lightly.
What I really think is needed for the Huskies to go on a little bit of a win streak is a sense of urgency. In the losses to Utah and Oregon State, the Huskies just came out flat and this lack of energy put them in a hole early. The Dawgs were never able to climb out of it and this resulted in two tough losses to swallow. The same can be said for the Oregon game, as the Huskies didn’t seem to really wake up until midway through the second half, at which point they were already down double digits. I think that Romar and the Huskies need to treat this next section of games as if they are must wins, because at this point in the season and with the competitiveness of the Pac-12, they really are. If the Huskies come out with energy and a sense of urgency I don’t see any reason why they can’t go on a little bit of a run here and win four or five of their next six games.
This next week will be a good measuring stick for the Huskies to see if they can improve their play as they face both Arizona and Arizona State at home. Arizona has had a terrific season so far, being one of the top ten teams in the nation, and Arizona State just came off a great win against streaking UCLA. If the Huskies could get one win out of these two games that would be a success based on their recent play, but the more important thing is to see improvement out of this group. If the Huskies are to be an NCAA tournament team, they are going to either win the Pac-12 tournament, which looks unlikely because of the strong seasons of Arizona, Oregon, and UCLA, or make it in as an “at-large” team. To do this, the Huskies are going to need to amass some much better conference wins, which is very possible because they still have the both Arizona and UCLA twice more and Oregon once more. Three of these five games are at home, one against each of the three teams. For the Huskies to truly make a run at an NCAA tournament bid, they are most likely going to need to win all three of the home games and potentially one of the away games as well.
While this season has been a wild ride, there has been one player to really provide a boost to the team. Andrew Andrews has been a spark off the bench, but besides his recent play the Huskies haven’t had much to hang their hat on. The Dawgs need to continue playing with energy on the defensive side of the ball, and get the ball moving better offensively so they can get easier points and not have to depend on the shooting of C.J. Wilcox as much. If they do those two things then they will have a chance to compete with the two Arizona schools this week and hopefully go on a little bit of a winning streak.