BY Art Thiel 07:12PM 03/11/2020

Huskies shoot themselves out of the season

Turns out Huskies’ three wins in the final four regular-season games was a false positive. Washington was 3-from-23 from beyond the arc and crashed out of the Pac-12 tourney.

After two great seasons, Mike Hopkins’ third year was a clunker. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Nothwest

So much for four in a row. The Huskies couldn’t get one. Now they’re done.

Four days after beating the Wildcats in Tucson, Washington was a horrendous 3-for-23 beyond the arc and crashed out of the Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball tourney in Las Vegas Wednesday afternoon with a 77-70 loss to Arizona. The defeat almost certainly ends their season, unless the NIT field is even worse off than the basketball world already knows.

After winning three of their final four regular season games, the Huskies (15-17) tried to talk themselves into thinking they were capable of running the table from the tourney’s 12th seed for the automatic berth in the NCAA tourney. Hah.

The Huskies starters missed 11 of 12 threes, and as a team committed 19 turnovers to put the lie to the late-season revival.

Don’t blame Isaiah Stewart. The precocious freshman had a career-high 29 points (and the lone trey by a starter) and 12 rebounds, helping get UW to within five in the final minute. But fifth-seeded Arizona (21-11) had plenty of cushion, thanks in part to a 6½-minute run in the first half when they held UW without a field goal.

The Huskies, picked third in the Pac-12 preseason poll, got off to a 10-2 start, then lost point guard Quade Green to academic ineligibility. They fell apart, until sweeping the Arizona schools on the road, including a 69-63 Saturday at McHale Center.

Coach Mike Hopkins, conference coach of the year his first two seasons at UW, changed lineups and strategies, to no avail, finishing last in a mediocre league. He ended up benching freshman Jaden McDaniels, who Wednesday had 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and made four turnovers before fouling out after 30 minutes.

McDaniels and Stewart have been assumed eager to declare for the NBA draft, although anything beyond the next hour is suddenly a profound mystery in American sports.


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YourThoughts

  • Husky73

    Assuming that both freshmen declare for the NBA, Hopkins is left with a bottom-of-the-conference roster. It will be interesting to see what he does in the next six months to put together a viable 2020-2021 team.

    • coug73

      The one and done rule is a sad situation for college hoops. Losing talent early hurts the game. However, I respect players having the opportunity to cash in on their talent. Cougs get a tournament win for the first time in ages. The Cougs will lose talent after this season.

      • Husky73

        The Cougs got a good coach, and I like the football coach. Both are big upgrades. The “Oregon formula” of 3-4 year players is the way to go.

        • art thiel

          Coaches don’t intend to recruit one-and-dones, except maybe Calipari. They all want four-year guys, but the marketplace is what it is.

      • art thiel

        First in 11 years for Cougs. Elleby is fun to watch.

    • art thiel

      He is permitted to recruit.

      • Husky73

        Most are already committed.

  • jafabian

    Nice seeing the team finally play to their potential but it was going to go only so far. At least Stewart played with the team instead of opting out to save himself for the draft.

    It seemed the team began to have problems when they blew a 14 point lead to Houston in the Diamond Head Classic. Their issues were much deeper than losing Quade Green. I would be very surprised if some players weren’t gently nudged to explore their options at other schools.

    • art thiel

      Doubtful about the nudge from Hopkins. They had no quality point guard, and Jaden McDaniels is selfish and overrated. Remember Tony Wroten?

      • 1coolguy

        Without a quality point guard, fuggedaboutit! Same as if Eason was lost for the season, it would have been a disaster. A quality point guard is the bb teams QB.

  • WestCoastBias79

    With the conference tourney canceled, I guess their miracle shot at the tourney was doomed even if they won, but I can’t think of a more disappointing season since the Bob Weiss Sonics.

    • Husky73

      How about the 77-19 Mariners?

      • art thiel

        The Mariners started 13-2 last year, Huskies started 10-2. Hmm . . .

        Difference was no one expected anything from Mariners. Then, or ever. Huskies had talent.

        • Husky73

          Ever? Geez, give me some hope….

          • 1coolguy

            Yes, EVER.The M’s are a lost ship at sea, always in search of port.

      • 1coolguy

        How about every Mariner team since 2002?

        • Husky73

          Most season tickets are bought by businesses who use them for employees and clients.

  • Richie Rich

    There needs to be a different avenue for players who intend on being 1-&-dones. As seen here, it hurts the team, could put coach’s jobs at risk (a’ la’ Romar), and makes the college game harder to watch.
    I was spoiled during the ’80’s and ’90’s when you’d watch teams grow up and battle each other year-after-year. Hardly see any real rivalries any more.

    • art thiel

      The same complaint has been levied since the NBA imposed the rule in 2006. What might change it is the NCAA having to compensate players starting in 2023, allowing the players to argue they no longer have to go to a college for a year because they are professional either way.

    • Kirkland

      I’m interested to see how many go to the G-League versus college. Having multiple developmental routes alongside the NCAA works out for baseball (low minors like the Aquasox), hockey (WHL) and MLS (team academies).

  • PeterGunn

    The NIT? My left foot!
    There won’t be an NIT; not this year in any case. They’re turning off the lights on Broadway, calling out the National Guard to a NYC suburb. Nope… NO NIT this year!

  • 1coolguy

    So if they were 9 for 23 from 3 they win – oh, they will remember this meltdown the rest of their lives. What a shame, and 9 for 23 is a very do-able 39%. Wow.

    • Dan Kearney

      Not even nine — had they hit six of 23 three-point shots (~25 percent), that’s 79 points.