BY SPNW Staff 06:35PM 03/21/2012

Huskies Have Big Apple Date With Minnesota

The Washington Huskies (24-10) will travel to New York City over the weekend, and will take on Minnesota in the semifinal round of the National Invitation Tournament

Tony Wroten broke Isiah Thomas's freshman scoring record with 22 points against Oregon Tuesday. The Huskies will play x in the NIT semifinals / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Washington Huskies (24-10), who qualified for the NIT semifinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden by defeating the University of Oregon 90-86 Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena, will play the Minnesota Golden Gophers next Tuesday at America’s most famed basketball arena. A victory over Minnesota would put the Huskies into position to win their first-ever NIT championship.

The Washington pairing with Minnesota came about as a result of Minnesota’s 78-72 victory Wednesday night over Middle Tennessee State in Murfeesboro, TN.

Washington is 9-6 all time against Minnesota, a No. 6 seed in the NIT, but the teams have not met since 1991, when the Huskies registered a 77-61 win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Minnesota (22-14) scored its biggest victory of the season Jan. 12, when the Gophers traveled to Bloomington, IN., and defeated the No. 8-ranked Hoosiers 77-74.

The Gophers and Huskies played two common opponents in 2011-12. Minnesota routed South Dakota State 71-55 Nov. 14. A month later, the Jackrabbits, who became an NCAA Tournament team, blasted Washington 92-73  in one of the epic losses in UW basketball history.

Minnesota also defeated Southern Cal 55-40 Dec. 3. UW posted two wins over the Trojans in Pac-12 play.

Minnesota finished the regular season with an RPI of 72 while playing the nation’s 43rd-toughest schedule.

By beating the Ducks, Washington punched its ticket to the Big Apple for the second time this season. In December, Washington participated in the Jimmy V Classic vs. Marquette and in the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic vs. Duke. The Huskies lost both, 79-77 to Marquette, 86-80 to the Blue Devils. Those were the only games UW had against nationally ranked teams.

“We have a chance to win a national championship in the NIT, and I think that’s number one,” coach Lorenzo Romar after Terrence Ross scored 24 points and Tony Wroten22 in the victory over Oregon. “That, along with us being able to travel, playing in the Garden again.”

The Huskies, who inexplicably lost to Oregon by 25 points a month ago in Eugene and then became the first winner of a major conference to fail to make the NCAA Tournament, struggled to beat Texas-Arlington in the first round of the NIT as they attempted to shed their disappointment over being snubbed by the NCAA.

Washington then drubbed Northwestern 76-55 in the second round of the NIT, setting up the third meeting of the year with the Ducks.

“This just shows our maturity as a team, how far we have come,” said senior Darnell Gant, minutes after becoming the first Husky men’s basketball player with 100 career wins in his portfolio.

NOTES: Wroten has scored freshman-record 550 points this season, nine more than Isaiah Thomas had during his freshman year, 2008-09. Wroten also holds UW freshman records for assists (130) and steals (63) . . . Gant is the only player in UW history to play on four title teams, two regular-season champions and two conference champions . . . Fans interested in purchasing tickets now for the NIT semifinals and finals at or by calling 866-858-0008.


  • Brett

     Agreed.  Whoever starts the third preseason game must be your starter in week 1.  This isn’t the time to mess around.  The competition has to be over by tomorrow.  Flynn needs all the reps he can get, and the team must get behind him as the starter.

  • 3 Lions

    Flynn didn’t come here to be a back up. Obviously, he is not being given the job but has earned the right to get the first start of the season. They have not had one game w the offense at full strength & I think the team would benefit from some consistency. They are grooming Wilson & he will no doubt get his chance during the season. If they start Wilson & he gets hurt due to his style I hope we have a ready & motivated Flynn ready to step in. Ultimately, they will be OK w either…

    • Artthiel

      They signed Flynn as FA because he was an upgrade, and didn’t anticipate the availability of Wilson, who has done things Carroll could not have anticipated — and not just in games. They wouldn’t have done the reps in thirds if they didn’t want to at least give Wilson a fair shot, and that includes playing him with the ones.

    • Vonnn20

      Wilson will start this week and will continue his great play. Flynn isnt quick in the pocket just like jackson and has taken too many sacks though he is clearly better than Jackson. Flynn has only started 2 regular season games and really shouldnt deserve to start over Wilson due to his experience alone. The on the field performance should be the deciding factor. Flynn wouldnt have moved the offense like Wilson did! Wilson had no protection or talent with the 3 and 4th stringers. I have watched all the Seahawk games since 76 and I have never been so excited about our Qb situation. Wilson just has that rythem with the offense that I havent seen since occasionally with Hass. I feel confident in Wilsons ability to run the offense even when he is getting no protection. Denvers D was playing great and Wilson frusterated them…he literally ate them up and spit em out! Wilson will be a star for the Seahawks he has the heart, mentality, and athleticism and that star or it factor.
      Dont think I dont like Flynn cause I do but Wilson is just so much better at this point that I think it would be foolish to start Flynn over Wilson when most of coach Carols personel moves have been awsome but the QB personel moves have been disappointing until drafting Wilson.

  • big

     Coach Bubbles (you got to love PC) has to walk his talk and give Wilson time with the first unit.  The kid has earned the opportunity

    • Artthiel

       Odd situation, but Carroll wanted it, so he has to follow through,

  • PokeyPuffy

    Have to agree Art!   I was in the get some-reps-and-continuity-for-Flynn camp until last night.   Wilson looks awesome, and individual performance aside, the timing for the whole team looks better when he’s in.   Even if the hawks went 500 this season they would be a blast to watch with him in control.

    It is interesting to consider however that if 1. TO caught the perfectly thrown TD pass from Flynn and if 2. Wilson’s horribly underthrown TD catch against the Titans had turned out differently, this controversy would not have nearly as much legs. 

    • Artthiel

       Lots of if-thens in exhibition play, but when you do QBs in threes there’s never enough game or pratice time for thorough evals. Carroll is definitely out there in this one because Flynn will take it hard if he is a backup AGAIN, even if he gets starter’s money. I think they will go with Flynn against AZ, but it will get wild if Wilson lights it up vs. KC.

      • Flynn has been playing football his entire life and should be used to the idea that someone can come in and take over his job, by now.  The talk about him being negatively affected by that shouldn’t be as much of an issue.  He needs to come in and demand the job with his performance and he hasn’t been horrible, but he wasn’t good on Saturday either.  It’s life as a professional athelete.  If he doesn’t prove himself, he knows it’s on him.

        • RadioGuy

          Flynn has spent a lot of his football life in college and the NFL on the sidelines watching someone else play quarterback.  Everyone refers to his playing behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, but how about being the Peach Bowl MVP as a soph for LSU as an emergency starter and then going back to holding the clipboard as a junior while JaMarcus Russell started the next season?

          One of the intangibles that Matt Flynn brings is an inordinate amount of patience with a willingness to be quiet when things don’t go his way.  Whatever Carroll decides on his QB situation, don’t expect Flynn to complain if Wilson is picked as the starter.  That’s just not his way.

  • RadioGuy

    Why not?  It’s still a preseason game and, no, you don’t have to have your starters named with two games to play before they start counting.  That’s why it’s called a competition.  Let’s see what Wilson can do with the first unit next weekend at KC.  If he’s not ready, plug Flynn back in and call him your season-opening starter.

    • Artthiel

       I realize that NFL custom is to go with your ones in the third fake game, but is not customary to put a third-rounder into competition with two veterans. Customs are not rules. It’s like the nonsense about having broadcasters not discuss a no-hitter in progress. That isn’t in the Constitution, the Magna Carta or J.P. Patches Clean Plate Club. Carroll may be nuts, but he’s got to play the hand.

  • Jamo57

    ‘Chaos Theory’.   Good one.   But I would say that is a better descriptor of Carrol’s approach to the competition than Art’s commentary.   LOL.

  • Artthiel

    Read the comment below regarding the game three custom. It’s already out the window with the three-QB deal. You’re right about the contract being (mostly) non-guaranteed. I think Wilson will have a struggle with No. 1s, and Flynn is currently more likely to do well in the first real game. But Carroll senses something about Wilson that none of us on the outside can’t know. So forget the game 3 habit. Inoperative.

    • Jtkxyz

      What makes you think Wilson will struggle against the ones?  What do you think are his weaknesses?

  • Artthiel

     Carroll knows better, Obi, than to play to popular sentiment, but he’s always been a risk-taker in personnel. I’ve never seen him in Seattle quite as jacked about a single player as Wilson. Might make him a fool, but he lessens that chance with a start of Wilson.

  • Artthiel

    I won’t be shocked to see Flynn start, but Wilson needs to prove or dispel his ability to handle a starting NFL defense at such an early career stage, based on Pete’s unusual belief in him.

  • Joe Fan

    Gotta go with Flynn Art.  I think Flynn has looked slightly better than Wilson, and he has the advantage of some experience versus being straight out of college.  Got to go with Flynn until Flynn proves to make bad decisions.  Saturday, I believe he was the victim of having to play the first quarter with T.O; otherwise his numbers would have looked much better.

    • The misconnections with TO were a mixed bag. The first back shoulder throw wasn’t a good choice because the CB wasn’t over-pursuing, that’s why TO went for the back of the endzone where he was wide open.  There were other routes that he ran wrong but 3/5 were bad throws or decisions by Flynn and the other 2 were on TO.  They were all miscommunications but it wasn’t all TO.  You have to hold Flynn to some of them.

      • TO did drop that wide open TD pass.  I’ll give you that though.  Had he caught that, it would look a bit different, but I think Wilson would’ve made more out of the first broken pockets and wouldn’t have held the ball as long as Flynn.

  • Jtkxyz

    Why does everyone keep on making the Flynn-didn’t-have-all-his-weapons excuse?  Wilson doesn’t either.  Yes, he’s playing against the second unit defense, but with the talent of his second unit offense.  And doesn’t that level the playing field?  Or, is there some little known rule that the second unit offense is always superior to the other team’s second unit defense?  

    In this league, where the competition is fierce and the difference between a win and a loss often comes down to a play or two, Wilson is far more dynamic of the two, and deserves a chance to state his case. 

    • Flynn plays, in practice, with the starting first-teamers. He gets 2nd teamers in-game. Wilson practices with 2nd and 3rd teamers. He gets 2nd and 3rd teamers in-game. That’s the problem.

  • Mlusins

    So Flynn – the likely regular season starter – then plays the second half being protected by 2nd and 3rd stringers.  That would be really intelligent. 

    • The first string didn’t protect him well, according to Carroll, so what’s the difference?

      • Joe Fan

        I believe that Flynn will be the starting QB on opening day and thus needs to start and play the first half on Friday.  I’m impressed so far by Wilson, but I cannot see going with a rookie QB to start the season.  Our defense isn’t THAT good yet.

  • start Flynn, as soon as he goes down, Wilson won’t relinquish the job.  #12thMan

    • If that’s the case, then why not start him now?  The idea that Matt Flynn would lose the job to Wilson and never get it back if he were to get injured, should right away say that Wilson should be in now. Why wait for an injury?

  • The thought of starting Flynn over Wilson is intriguing, but there is no way the Hawks should eat a 3-year, $26-million contract before allowing Flynn a chance to start a meaningful game.  Giving Wilson a year to learn the system from the sidelines will only help his career down the road.  Let’s remember that Flynn has only started a pair of games.  If memory serves me correctly, it took the most successful quarterback in Seahawks history almost a full season before he looked NFL ready.

    No reason to jump ship on the Bayou sensation just yet.

    • RadioGuy

      “Only” $10 million of that contract is guaranteed, Adam, so the Hawks aren’t on the hook for the other $16 million.  Yes, his contract does give Flynn an advantage over Wilson as far as Paul Allen and his accountants are concerned, but Pete Carroll isn’t a CPA.  He’ll go with whoever he thinks he can win with.