The Washington Basketball team entered the season full of optimism but short on answers. Now after starting 12-4 overall and 2-1 in Pac-12, does this surprising start raise expectations?
As the Washington basketball team prepared for the 2017-2018 season, there were plenty of positive signs. First and foremost, head coach Mike Hopkins delivered a very likeable, if not a tad-over-the-top zeal to be in charge of the Huskies basketball team. But behind the veneer of enthusiasm, he approached the team and season with an incredibly simply but effective message.
Simple, in that in was easy to interpret. No singling out players, no egos, no stars, no first class roles while the rest of the team only got economy class. It was the “all for one and one for all” message which in intrinsic to a young developing athlete. Team means belonging. And it’s that almost instinctive need to belong which compels young men to give a little more than asked. And that is what makes the message so effective.
Projections for .500 are too light or spot on?
I originally had the projected at 8-6. But by the time the team finished game 14, they had already grown to 11-3. Right now, the team is 12-4 coming off a two win one loss road trip. And that leads to the point of this article. Does the surprising success of the Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball Team raise your expectations for the season?
Before the season began, we discussed how this team might take steps to achieve .500 play this year. But now it feels as though a .500 season is the floor of the team’s potential. Still, that same “projection” did anticipate a robust four win two loss January 2018 for the Huskies, and at the halfway mark, the team is following the script at two wins one loss for the month. The team faces a beatable California team at home, hosts a tough Stanford team, and then travels on the road to face a decent Utah squad.
February contests define season
But in the month of February 2018, the team tangles with 11th-ranked Arizona State and 17th-ranked Arizona in back to back contests. If the team defeats either of those two teams, then I will begin to lean towards an optimistic season. For now, .500 seems about right.
Early success can be undermined rather quickly with an injury to a key player, a scoring slump, or as conference opponents prepare more effectively as they familiarize themselves with Hopkins’ Huskies 2-3. So even early success is no guarantee for a fabulous season finale. But this is essentially the team who went 9-22 last season with a few additions. And the resolve of the roster to come out swinging this quickly and effectively speaks volumes to the character of the team and the coaching staff. In the end, I’m not quite ready to up the estimation for this team beyond a .500 season.
But come February, don’t be surprised if I do. But by that time, don’t be surprised if plenty of basketball analysts do as well.