BY Steve Rudman 07:35AM 03/11/2011

Top 5 List: UW’s March gladness, sadness

Huskies own a checkered history in the NCAA Tournament.

The Washington Huskies celebrate an 82-67 rout of No. 8-ranked New Mexico in the 2010 NCAA Tournament in San Jose, CA. / Getty Images

The University of Washington will have to wait until Sunday to find out whether it has been invited to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large entry, although that now seems inevitable after UW’s victory over Washington State in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday night. Washington has appeared in 14 editions of NCAA Tournament, with a best showing of third place in 1953. The Huskies have been ousted in the first round five times, most recently in 2004 as an eighth seed (lost to Alabama-Birmingham). In anticipation of Selection Sunday, and the bracket madness that accompanies it, the best and worst of the UW in the NCAA Tournament:


  • 5

    UW 82, New Mexico 64, 2nd round, San Jose, CA., March 20, 2010: Quincy Pondexter scored 18 points, Isaiah Thomas 15 and Matthew Bryan-Amaning contributed 15 points and nine rebounds as Washington drubbed eighth-ranked New Mexico to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the third time under Lorenzo Romar. The Huskies (26-9) played with a breakneck pace and at one point held a 23-point lead. The Lobos elected to run with the Huskies in the first half, and couldn’t, as Washington blazed to a 12-point halftime lead.
  • 4

    UW 67, Illinois 64, 2nd round, San Diego, CA., 2006: UW trailed 58-49 with 6:48 left when the Huskies embarked on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to tie the game. Two big plays for the UW ensured the win, a 3-pointer by Mike Jensen and a four-point play by Justin Dentmon. An equally bigger key to UW’s victory: the defensive job Bobby Jones did on Illinois point guard Dee Brown, who scored 15 points but made just 5 of 18 shots.
  • 3

    UW, 69, Xavier 68, 1st round, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1998: Seeded 11th in the East Regional, Washington upset sixth-seeded and No. 23-ranked Xavier 69-68 on a 17-foot jumper by Deon Luton with 11.2 seconds left. The Huskies, 200-1 longshots to win the tournament, then withstood two shots by the Musketeers for their first NCAA tournament victory since 1984.
  • 2

    UW 80, Marquette 78, 1st Round, San Jose, CA., March 18, 2010: Quincy Pondexter recovered from a poor first half (just four points) and scored on a bank shot with 1.7 seconds to play to lift 11th-seeded Washington (24-9) to an 80-78 win. The Huskies, who trailed by one point (43-42) at halftime, fell behind by 15 with 13 1/2 minutes remaining before rallying to win on Pondexter’s driving banker from the left side.
  • 1

    UW 80, Duke 78, 2nd round, Western Subregionals, Pullman, WA., March 18, 1984: Before the game, UW head coach Marv Harshman told the media that beating the Johnny Dawkins-led Blue Devils would constitute a “minor miracle.” After falling behind by 10 points in the first half, UW roared back behind Detlef Schrempf, who finished with 30 points. Reggie Rogers, soon to join the WU football team, nailed two free throws with one second showing to provide Washington with the winning margin.


  • 5

    Dayton 64, UW 58, 2nd round, Los Angeles, CA., March 23, 1984: Coming off a stirring upset of Duke in the West Subregionals, Washington had a 38-37 lead when the Huskies lapsed into a seven-minute coma. By the time UW snapped out of it, Miami of Ohio had a 10-point lead that Washington could not surmount. Detlef Schrempf had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, but game star Roosevelt Chapman had 22 points and nine rebounds.
  • 4

    Miami of Ohio 59, UW 58, 1st round, New Orleans, LA., March 12, 1999: As the clock wound down inside five seconds, 6-4 Donald Watts coasted into the key to set up a 14-foot jumper, but Miami guard Anthony Taylor swatted his shot away. UW’s Greg Clark picked up the ball, but his hasty jumper was blocked by 6-8 Wally Szczerbiak. Most blamed UW head coach Bob Bender for the defeat, owing to his decision use single coverage on Szczerbiak, who had been doubled teamed in every game since Christmas. Szczerbiak dropped 43 on the Huskies.
  • 3

    Alabama-Birmingham 102, UW 100, 1st round, Columbus, OH., March 19, 2004: Alabama-Birmingham, with three senior starters, held its poise and made nine of 14 foul shots in the final 49 seconds to hold off the Huskies, who started four sophomores and a junior. Coming off three spirited wins in the Pac-10 tournament, Washington played flat. UW fouled too much (three players fouled out), missed 10 of 34 free throws and allowed more than a century of points. Only bright spot: Nate Robinson’s 27 points.
  • 2

    Connecticut 75, UW 74, Regional semifinal, Greebsboro, NC., March 19, 1998: Rarely have the Huskies suffered such heartbreak. UW’s Donald Watts, who had made what could have been the game-winning 3-pointer to put Washington ahead 74-73, could only moan as Connecticut forward Richard Hamilton, who had the ball knocked fortuitously into his hands after a frantic scramble underneath, hit a seven-foot fadeaway basket as time expired for the one-point victory.
  • 1

    Kansas 79, UW 53, National Semifinals, Kansas City, MO., March 17, 1953: Favored to win the national championship, the Huskies checked out early after All-America center Bob Hougregs drew four first-half fouls and then exited for good with his fifth two minutes into the second half. The next night, in the tournament’s third-place game, UW destroyed Bob Pettit and Louisiana State 88-62 as Houbregs scored 42.


The Rotation’s weekly schedule:

  • Monday: That Was The Week That Was — A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
  • Tuesday: Wayback Machine — Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
  • Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us — We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
  • Thursday: Water Cooler Cool — Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
  • Friday: Top 5 List — The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.


  • Manny

    Not including the 2006 UConn game is a mistake, winning htat puts them up against George Mason for the right to go to the Final Four

  • Eric K

    Given how he is playing looks like a lot of NBA teams should have listened to whoever thought Thomas would be a 1st round pick:-)

  • John

    As someone who grew up watching Bonds, I feel these guys deserve a place.  Bonds was arguably the best player in the history of baseball (ready for the angry response for that statement).  I say steroids don’t help you make contact with the ball.  And who knows what players were doing before drug testing was common?

  • Tian Biao

    I’ve never agreed with the ‘steroids don’t help you make contact with the ball’ argument. it’s true, they don’t, but they make the ball fly one heck of a lot further once contact is made. So without the steroids, those balls die on the warning track. i just don’t understand how that is an argument.

  • D Hawk

    “The Seahawks do look superficially silly for investing potentially $26 million in a backup.” Not as silly as you look for saying the Seahawks might have invested $26 million into a backup. It is a $19.5 million contract with escalators that could get to the top-end. Flynn can’t hit those escalators if he’s a backup.

  • dinglenuts

    I know this is off-topic a bit, but was that Clipboard Jesus I saw slinging the ball around for San Diego on Sunday? I assume it had to be based on the prominent ‘stache.  Wonders never cease.

  • RadioGuy

    I wouldn’t write Flynn off just yet.  He’s proven at both LSU and Green Bay that he has a LOT of patience and can stand and deliver big-time when called upon in a pinch.  Wilson has rightly earned the starter’s role so far, but we’re more than a week away from a 16-game regular season.  Let’s see how things go when the games start counting.

    Art nails one thing for sure:  How can anyone look at Wilson and Flynn and not consider them a major upgrade over Jackson and Whitehurst?

  • Soggyblogger

    Wilson/Flynn or Flynn/Wilson – I don’t care. While QB may be tied for third in priorities for this team, QB play remains the single most important position played in the game, and PC/JS know it. I’d hate to see Pete use early hooks on either starter, while at the same time, I am highly confident both could carry us to more wins than losses. Wilson has us all salivating like a St. Bernard, and has the tools to be great. Let the dynasty begin. Once we have sowed up the conference championship and cemented home field advantage for the playoffs, we can insert Flynn for the last couple of games to showcase him for a trade to one of the many teams with lesser talent at QB for appropriate draft choices. 

  • Matt712

    One fact that seems to be overlooked a lot is that Flynn was acquired more than a month before the draft. At that time, no one could have known if a Russel Wilson would be available. I remember the consensus being that the Hawks got a pretty fair (as in not exorbitant) deal for Matt Flynn given the cost of free-agency. But when they found themselves looking at the board in the third round and Russell Wilson is still there…

    I mean, the question – and I remember it being asked often – was why go after a QB when you already got what you wanted? And the only answer now seems to be, “Because this one’s even better.”

  • 3 Lions

    Don’t forget about how much they spent on Touchdown Jesus & how excited Pete was about him too
    (great competitor no doubt)

  • None

    Another great article. Thanks.

  • Artvintage97

    Nice article.  I just don’t see how a QB who is somewhere between 5′ 8″ and 5′ 10″ can be successful over the long term.  His game will involve running around, and two things happen when one is running for ones life…  Injury and a decrease in completion  percentage.

    • Jtkxyz

      The difference in height between Wilson and Drew Brees is about the length of your finger nail.  And if you take into account hand size and arm length, Wilson’s release point is probably “taller”.  The height issue should really be put to rest.

      And as for “running for ones life”, I don’t think anyone would describe Wilson’s running style that way.  He has a deliberate running style, his head always up and eyes looking down field, and he’s smart enough to slide or run out of bounds before contact.  He is not a reckless runner, nor does he have happy feet.  He’s a pass first QB–in the KC game when the pass protection was better with the first string offense notice how he stayed in the pocket all game with the exception of the two break downs.