Game Preview (sort of): UW at USC (game #19)


Who: Washington Huskies (3-4, 12-6 overall) at USC Trojans (3-3, 11-7 overall)

When: Saturday, 7:30 PM

Where: Galen Center

There is only one thing you need to know about Saturday night’s game against USC: The Huskies are going to win.

Here’s why:

It was only a jumpshot.

Consider where we’d be right now if we’d won by that single point against UCLA, instead of losing by one. Isn’t it likely that you and I would be on Cloud Nine about the Huskies right now? Sure, we should’ve covered against the Bruins — beaten them by more — but we’d have escaped from Pauley with a win. Would you really be quibbling? I certainly wouldn’t.

All would have been good. We’d have been on a three-game winning streak, and the losing from only two weekends ago would’ve been a distant memory. Coach Romar would’ve led his boys into Pauley — that sixth circle of Dawggy hell — and came out with the victory.

The Huskies would be sitting at 4-3, aiming for their first SoCal sweep since 2006, and the conference championship would seem oh-so-within the team’s grasp.

Now, that didn’t happen, of course. A former walk-on guard found himself open at half court, dribbled to the top of the key, got an open look on some shoddy D, and buried it. Dawgs lose by one. But, it was right there. Just a jumpshot away.

I’m bummed about the finish Thursday. Really bummed. But, what I’m not bummed about is the Husky effort. We didn’t get blown out by 17. We even came back in the second half.

We came in and nearly dealt with our road bugaboo and earned what would’ve been an impressive victory. They came, they fought, they lost.

Sure, they lost to a team with less upside. But the point is, we were a poorly guarded jumpshot away from winning. Which means we were a poorly guarded jumpshot away from feeling completely differently about the team’s prospects.

So, yeah, I think we’re going to come into USC even hungrier, knowing we let one slip away that had nothing to do with unpreparedness to play on the road. Tough game, good effort, so-so production, rough loss.

Each loss makes the road ahead harder. And, there might come a point where talking about the conference championship is just mathematically silly. But, we’re not there — SO not there. The Pac-10, the NCAA Tournament, it’s all still there for the taking.

It’s up to you, but I say, don’t give up on these boys. I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen the rest of the way. This team is too hard to read. But, I know what’s going to happen Saturday at the Galen Center.

And when we flex that mojo and come out with a SoCal split, we’ll be looking ahead at four straight at home. Things won’t look nearly so grim.

So don’t you lose your mojo. It was only a jumpshot.