One year ago, the Huskies sleep-walked through the first half of their first NIT game. This year, as a No. 6 seed, Washington’s players are happy that they can extend their season.
GAME: Washington (18-15 overall, 9-9 Pac-12) at BYU (21-11 overall, 10-6 West Coast Conference). WHEN: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., PT, Marriott Center, Provo, UT. TYPE: National Invitation Tournament. MEETING: 19th (UW leads 10-8). STREAKS: UW L 1; BYU L 1. RANKINGS: Neither school ranked. COACHES: Lorenzo Romar, Washington; Dave Rose, Brigham Young. TV: ESPN. RADIO: KJR 950 AM
A year ago, reeling from a snub by the NCAA Tournament despite winning the Pac-12 regular-season title, Washington had a hard time embracing its appearance in the National Invitation Tournament despite its status as a top seed. This year, a Husky team that has disappointed and underachieved all season is looking actually forward to exceeding the low expectations that go with being a No. 6 seed in a 32-team field.
“I’m just excited to be able to keep playing,” said senior co-captain Scott Suggs, whose career could be extended by as many as four games. “I wish things would have turned out differently in the Pac-12 tournament, but nonetheless we’re able to keep playing. We have another chance to win something.”
“I don’t want it to be over with, either,” said guard Abdul Gaddy, also a senior. “The point is to just keep playing — home or away. It does not make any difference. I just want to keep my career going as long as possible.”
“We were hopeful we would get into the NIT,” said head coach Lorenzo Romar. “I thought it was 50-50. It’s more excitement for our guys, especially for our seniors who still get to play. I think our guys will embrace it.”
In No. 3 seed Brigham Young, a loser to San Diego in last week’s West Coast Conference tournament, Washington will face a team that went 13-3 in Provo’s Marriott Center. One of those defeats was a 70-65 setback 70-65 to No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Feb. 28.
“They are very up-tempo,” Romar said of the Cougars. “They are really good at home.”
BYU ranked second to Gonzaga in West Coast Conference scoring, averaging 76.5 points per game. But the Cougars ranked last in scoring defense, allowing 69.2. BYU also ranked third in the conference in field goal percentage (45.8) and free throw percentage (72.1). The Cougars led the WCC in rebounding (38.3), assists (15.6) and steals (8.5).
For BYU, appearing in the NIT amounts to a consolation prize. The Cougars had a streak of six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances snapped on Selection Sunday. BYU has an RPI of 68, compared to Washington’s 91.
Despite its 21 wins, Brigham Young struggled against strong competition, posting a 5-8 record against the RPI Top 100 that included a 1-5 record against the RPI Top 50 and an 0-3 mark against AP ranked teams. The Cougars posted no quality wins, and had three bad losses, to RPI #158 San Diego (twice) and RPI #161 San Francisco.
Haws, a former AAU teammate of Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, topped the WCC and ranked 11th in the nation in scoring at 20.9 points per game. The sophomore guard from Alpine, UT, shoots .473 from the field, .386 from three and .868 from the free throw line. Haws this season joined Danny Ainge as the only players in program history to reach 1,000 career points during a sophomore season.
A senior forward, Davies ranked second on the team in scoring (17.6) and first in rebounding (7.8). He also adds 2.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 steals while shooting .533 from the field. The Provo native also earned All-WCC honors. This marks the first USBWA All-District honor for Davies, who ranks in the top 12 in BYU history for career points, rebounds, blocks, steals and double-doubles.
Washington and BYU played one common opponent. The Huskies lost to Utah 74-65 Jan. 19 at Alaska Airlines Arena, while the Cougars defeated Utah 61-58 at the Marriott Center Dec. 8.
The first three rounds of the NIT are hosted at the campus site of one of the participating teams. For each game, the higher-seeded team will have the first option to host unless logistical circumstances preclude it. Following first-round games Tuesday and Wednesday. Second-round games will be played from Thursday through Monday and quarterfinal games March 26 and 27. The NIT semis and finals will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The winner of the BYU-Washington matchup will face the winner of No. 2 Tennessee and No. 7 Mercer.
Other teams in the Washington’s bracket include No. 1 Southern Mississippi and No. 4 Florida State. The Seminoles defeated BYU in Brooklyn last November.
SERIES: Dates to March 24, 1951, when the 11th-ranked Huskies defeated the 15th-ranked Cougars 80-67 at the NCAA Championships in Kansas City. Washington is 10-8 all-time against BYU, including 4-4 in Provo. The teams have not played since Dec. 9, 1997, when UW won 83-68 at BYU. Deon Luten scored 18 points and Patrick Femerling 11 for the Huskies in that game. Lorenzo Romar is 0-1 all-time against BYU, that loss when he coached at Pepperdine. BYU head coach Dave Rose has never faced the Huskies.
UW IN NIT: This will mark Washington’s seventh appearance. The Huskies also played in the NIT in 1980 (0-1), 1982 (1-1), 1987 (2-1), 1996 (0-1), 1997 (0-1) and 2012 (3-1). Washington won three straight over UT-Arlington, Northwestern and Oregon in last year’s tournament before falling to Minnesota 68-67 in overtime in the semifinals.
UW STATS / NOTES
UW HEAD COACH: Lorenzo Romar (329-214 overall, 236-124 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 Regular-Season Statistics
BYU NOTES: In 1982, BYU entertained Washington in a first-round NIT game and lost, 66-63 . . . This is BYU’s 11th appearance in the NIT. The Cougars have a 12-8 record, including titles in 1951 and 1966. In addition to the 2006 appearance, BYU’s prior years playing in the NIT were 1951, 1953, 1954, 1966, 1982, 1986, 1994, 2000 and 2002.
BYU HEAD COACH: Dave Rose has guided the Cougars to the postseason in each of his eight seasons at the helm. In his first season he led BYU to the 2006 NIT and from 2007 to 2012, Rose and the Cougars earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. BYU won NCAA Tournament games in three-straight seasons from 2010 to 2012, the longest streak of seasons with a postseason win in program history.
COMING UP: The Washington-BYU winner will play the winner of Tennessee and Mercer sometime between Thursday and Monday in the NIT’s second round. Quarterfinal games will be played March 26 and 27.
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.||—||—||W||72-62||14-12|
@=Exhibition; *=Hall of Fame Classic; ^=Pac-12 Tournament; #=National Invitation Tournament