December 19th, 2004. I will never forget that day. I spent most of it outside, huddled under an awning extending forth from Hec Edmundson Pavilion. I was a student then, content to loiter for hours on end for a good seat at Husky basketball games.
The Huskies played North Carolina State that day. It was a Sunday. A 5:00 p.m. tip-off on the West Coast.
Just one year prior, the Dawgs had been on no one’s radar. They had been in the midst of a four-year stretch of futility that spanned two coaching regimes. But then they kicked off the 2004 calendar year by winning ballgames. And lo and behold, they returned to relevance by making the ’04 NCAA Tournament. Now here we were, nine months later, and Washington was in the early stages of their 2004-2005 season, ranked 18th in the nation, playing a meaningful game against a nationally-ranked opponent.