If seasonal form holds, Washington, which plays Oregon State at home Saturday night, will finish with a losing record for the first time since 2007-08.
GAME: Oregon State (13-12 overall, 2-9 Pac-12) at Washington (13-12 overall, 5-7, Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 8 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena. TYPE: Conference. MEETING: 293rd (Washington leads 154-138). STREAKS: UW L 3; Oregon State W 1. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. COACHES: Craig Robinson, Oregon State; Lorenzo Romar, Washington. TV: ESPN2. RADIO: KJR 950 AM
Since opening the Pac-12 season with four consecutive victories, three on the road, the Washington Huskies have dropped seven of eight to fall out of NCAA Tournament at-large consideration with a RPI ranking of 87 (first time UW has lost seven of eight since January-February, 2003). The Huskies are now considered an NIT “bubble team” and, given their remaining schedule, will be fortunate to end the regular season with winning record.
Only two of the final six games appear winnable, Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena against Oregon State and March 3 against Washington State, also at home. The other teams on Washington’s schedule — Arizona, Arizona State, USC and UCLA — either will have home-court advantage against UW (Arizona, Arizona State) or have defeated the Huskies this season (USC, UCLA).
If form holds, Washington will wind up 15-16, which would mark Lorenzo Romar’s first losing season since 2007-08, when the Huskies finished 16-17 and eighth in the Pac-10 Conference.
“I think our team is very, very disappointed in the situation, and in themselves,” Romar said after Wednesday’s face-plant against Oregon. “We’re all disappointed, but I don’t think our team is ready to quit at all. I think this team is still going to stay strong. In a situation like this, in a lot of cases, teams begin to think about the spring and next year — everything except coming back and still being a team.
“I’ve seen that happen with a couple of teams, but I don’t think this team will do that. I think this team will come back Saturday and play a strong game.”
Since scoring 96 points against Arizona State Feb. 13, the Huskies have put up 57, 60 and 52 points in losses to UCLA, USC and Oregon, the 52 against Oregon a season low. Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox, hampered by a stress fracture in his foot, scored just 30 points total in those games, including eight vs. Oregon.
But Washington’s offensive problems go beyond the last three contests. UW shot 45 percent or better in just 10 of 25 games. Wednesday marked the eighth game under 40 percent, and the 35 percent shooting against Oregon was UW’s third-worst night of the season.
“Even in our first year, when the team won 11 games, we still scored points,” said Romar.
“I feel like teams take us out when they’re holding our wings, Scott (Suggs) and C.J., so everything isn’t as crisp,” said guard Abdul Gaddy. “That’s on us. We need to make sure that we do the little things, like screen and cut hard. C.J. and Scott especially, because they’re our best shooters and scorers. If they can get away from their defender, that’s really going to help our flow. Teams are trying to take those two away and make the rest of us make plays, and it can be a rhythm-breaker.”
Oregon State lost four of its past six, but defeated Washington State in Pullman Wednesday 67-66. Roberto Nelson, who had 17 points against the Cougars, leads Oregon State with a 17.1 scoring average, a couple of ticks below Wilcox’s 17.3. Three other Beavers average in double figures, and Eric Moreland leads OSU in rebounds at 10.7 per game, better than Aziz N’Diaye’s 9.8.
Each of Washington’s next three games, thanks to the Pac-12 Network, have 8 p.m. tip times. Washington also has an 8:30 p.m. start against USC March 13 and 12:30 p.m. and 11 a.m. start times against Washington State (March 3) and UCLA (March 13).
Washington has a 5-7 record against the RPI Top 100, but a 1-7 mark against the RPI Top 50 and an 0-4 record against AP ranked teams. While the Huskies have a single quality win against RPI No. 25 Colorado, they also have four bad losses to RPI 166 Oregon State, RPI 161 Utah, RPI 125 Nevada, and RPI 178 Albany.
SERIES: Dates to Feb. 11, 1904, when the Huskies lost to the Beavers 22-19 in Corvallis. Washington has won 10 of the past 13 meetings dating to 2008, but Oregon State has taken the last two, including a 74-67 decision Jan. 23 in Corvallis. In that game, the Huskies fell behind by 20 points and rallied back behind the 23 points of C.J. Wilcox, but fell short.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (324-212 overall, 231-122 UW) is coming off a year in which the Huskies won the Pac-12 regular-season title. Romar has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times and won three Pac-10 Tournament titles (2005, 2010, 2011). Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011. He had his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach on Jan. 21, 2012. Romar was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Romar played for the Huskies under head coach Marv Harshman during the 1979-80 seasons (served as team captain his senior year), and had a five-year NBA career with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). He became a college head coach at Pepperdine in 1997, where he coached for three seasons, then spent three years (1999-02) at St. Louis University before taking the Washington job in 2002-03.
2012-13 Washington Statistics
OREGON STATE NOTES: Oregon State ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (73.7), 12th in scoring defense (69.8), 11th in free throw percentage (66.5), 3rd in field goal percentage (45.7), 1st in 3-point percentage (37.3), 2nd in rebounding (37.9), 3rd in blocked shots (4.7) and 2nd in assists (15.3) . . . Oregon State ranks 169th nationally in RPI . . . The Beavers are coming off a 67-66 victory over Washington State in a game in which Roberto Nelson scored 17 points, Challe Barton added 11 and Eric Moreland had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Prior to that win, Oregon State had lost five games by eight points or less.
OREGON STATE HEAD COACH: Craig Robinson, recently returned from the inauguration of his brother-in-law, is in his fifth season as head coach of the Beavers. Last year, Robinson led the Beavers to their best season in more than two decades — 21-7 overall, 7-11 Pac-12. Robinson began his head coaching career in 2006-07 at Brown University, where he spent two seasons. He also served as an assistant coach at Northwestern from 2000-06. Robinson won 64 games in his first four seasons at Oregon State, more than Slats Gill (57) and Ralph Miller (58) in their first four years. Robinson is a native of Chicago and a Princeton graduate.
COMING UP: The Huskies take their final regular-season road trip next week with games at Arizona (Wednesday) and Arizona State (Saturday).
University of Washington 2012-13 Schedule
(Rankings From Associated Press)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/11/12||@vs. W. Washington||—||—||W||88-78||0-0|
|11/17/12||*vs. Seton Hall||—||—||W||84-73||2-1|
|11/18/12||*vs. Ohio St.||—||4||L||77-66||2-2|
|11/24/12||vs. Colo. St.||—||—||L||73-55||2-3|
|11/28/12||vs. Saint Louis||—||—||W||66-61||3-3|
|12/13/12||at Seattle U.||—||—||W||87-74||5-4|
|12/15/12||vs. Jackson St.||—||—||W||75-67||6-4|
|12/20/12||vs. Cal Poly||—||—||W||75-62||7-4|
|12/22/12||vs. N. Illinois||—||—||W||67-57||8-4|
|1/23/13||at Oregon St.||—||—||L||74-66||12-7|
|2/16/13||vs. Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/6/13||#Final 4 Semi||—||—||—||—||—|
|4/8/13||#Final 4 Champ.||—||—||—||—||—|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=NCAA Tournament