That Awkward Moment When The Huskies Don’t Deserve To Go Dancing

My gut feeling is that the Huskies will — yes, will — be going to the Big Dance. They’ll make it and it will totally be undeserved. I liken the Dawgs making the NCAA Tournament to a reckless teenager being bequeathed a brand new BMW by his wealthy, oblivious parents…right after he totaled the last BMW they previously gave to him.

This version of the Huskies has been given chance after chance after chance. Amazingly, they’ve continued to blow those chances, one after the other, only to later pay witness to good fortune falling squarely in their lap.

Take, for instance, the Pac-12 regular season championship. Heading into the final days of conference play, Washington had a golden opportunity to win the league title outright by knocking off an embattled UCLA team. They squandered that opportunity, thus putting their fate in the hands of the California Golden Bears. A Cal victory over Stanford meant Washington would share the title with the Bears; a Cal loss meant the Huskies would be blessed with the crown. As we all know now, California lost and Washington signed for a shiny package delivered at their doorstep. They won the Pac-12 title, but did they really earn it? I guess that depends on one’s perspective.

All year long, the Huskies have been frustratingly maddening. They lose games they should win, win games they should lose…they’re a manic roller coaster ride of constant anxiety. There are a bevy of reasons for this, of course — excuses, more or less — which any Kool-Aid-sipping fan can rattle off with relative ease: this team is young, they’re inexperienced, they’ve been beset by injuries here and there, the list goes on.

But what it really comes down to is the fact that a) this ballclub has underachieved, and b) they’ve failed to capitalize on the reality of their circumstances. What are the reality of their circumstances, you ask? The answer to that can be found in a down year for the Pac-12, a disappointing journey through the non-conference slate (including three straight losses, at one point), games that have been lost in the closing seconds due to mistakes or poor execution (see: Marquette, Nevada, California, UCLA, etc.), and winnable contests that were simply blown (see: Nevada, South Dakota State, Colorado).

No, no team is perfect. Yet this year’s Huskies have fallen far short of anything even remotely resembling excellence. Worse yet, they’ve come across to many fans as entitled and deserving in their pursuit of whatever it is they’re after (ask each player his goal for the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone gave you a different answer). One can’t really put statistics behind the definition of attitude, but the Dawgs have lacked any apparent desire to try hard or give a spirited, passionate effort consistently throughout the year. That might be the most disheartening fact of all. They don’t seem to care. And for any fan of the school and the ballclub, that absolutely…sucks.

All that said, I’ll reiterate my original point: Washington probably will make the NCAA Tournament. No regular season major conference champion has ever not made the Tournament; this would be a first. And in order for the Huskies to really get snubbed, a substantial number of bubble teams would have to win their conference tournaments, or at least put up strong showings this weekend, which in all likelihood probably won’t happen.

But do they deserve the trip? If the history of this season is any indication, worthiness won’t matter. Going dancing will simply be the latest gift for the 2011-2012 Washington Huskies.

8 thoughts on “That Awkward Moment When The Huskies Don’t Deserve To Go Dancing”

  1. I can’t believe anyone could watch this team play and think that they don’t care or try hard.

  2. Well, I do. So, there’s one. And I know my friends do. So there’s a few more. Maybe I’m just jaded by those surrounding me. But I feel like we represent a fair microcosm of the fan base. Whether or not that’s accurate remains to be seen, but the fact is that feeling does exist.

  3. Are you insane? Lazy passes where we might as well give them possession on a platter. Ridiculous attempts at 3-point shots by players that should NOT, under any circumstances, try that shot. Either you’re blind, or you have low standards and you’re an idiot.

  4. This team absolutely does not try that hard. They lack the leadership to transcend the general hard work and effort that every college basketball team puts in. They don’t have an IT, Quincy, Brockman, et al. who’ll inspire them to play out of their minds. I whole-heartedly agree with you Alex. That’s not to say they don’t try at all but they definitely don’t try their hardest in my opinion.

  5. You nailed it on the head with this comment.

    “They don’t seem to care. And for any fan of the school and the ballclub, that absolutely…sucks.”

    For us fans, that is really what it boils down to. When you see the players joking around on twitter 5 mins after a disappointing loss or deciding which shoes they’re going to wear tomorrow, one can not help to think, “do they really care and/or get that upset over losses?” As fans, I think we can all agree we are ‘okay’ with losing and understand it is part of the game, as long as we feel a disappointing loss ‘stings’ and that the players gave it their all. I’ve watched every single UW game this year, or at least all of the ones on TV, and I can tell you for a fact that there have been plenty of games where this team has not given it their all. Whether losses really hurt this team emotionally could be debated but, from what I’ve seen, I’d have to say the answer for several players is “no”. Not saying they don’t want to win but, I don’t get the feeling they really hate losing. I got that feeling from IT, and I think the impact of his early departure on this year’s club, could not be overstated.

    I don’t know if this team will make it in to the NCAA tournament but, like you, I honestly don’t think they deserve it. Perhaps in the long run an NIT bid might help this team re-focus for next year. Time will tell.

  6. Four blown “free” throws when you’re up by one sums up this year! If TW thinks he is NBA ready he is nuts. Great talent, I’ll give him that, but he still plays selfish street ball. I love the Dawgs, but this team this year wasn’t remotely the same Husky basketball I have grown to love. Hopefully they will stay intact because I believe Romar will whip them into the running exciting basketball team I love to watch! Keep up the good work Alex, I enjoy reading your blogs, you say it like it is!

  7. I don’t get it. Where was this article last year and the year before when those extremely talented huskies went a pathetic 11-7 in conference play? This team lost to a bunch of tournament teams in non conference and then went 14-4 in conference play. 14 and f***ing 4. They did not sleep walk their way to winning 14 games in the Pac 12 this year. Yes they blew it at UCLA at against Oregon State, but that doesn’t make this team a bunch of a pathetic losers. Its a wonder that anyone would want to play for this team with the kinds of fans we have.

  8. A couple of observations from the game:

    1) Defense is a pride thing. Every defensive possession your pride is on the line. If your guy gets past you or the other team easily scores you should be pissed. Champions have that attitude. Shouldn’t require being down by 13 to finally get up to play defense.

    2) Does anybody else cringe when we open up games by shooting unlimited 3 pointers before we’ve even gotten our touch by working the offense and putting pressure on the defense by getting to the bucket? Rule of thumb on offense: Do to them what they DON’T want you to do.

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