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February 20, 2012

Huskies have look of an NCAA Tournament team

Throughout the Washington Huskies' 79-70 victory over the Arizona Wildcats Saturday, there were clear signs that the Huskies looked like a legitimate NCAA Tournament team.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, however, their resume says otherwise.

The Huskies are currently No. 56 in the RPI, which isn't bad, but they have no victories against RPI Top 50 teams and are a mediocre 4-8 against RPI Top 100 teams. According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, Washington will be the very last team to make the field and will be in a play-in game.

That prediction was before UW's win over Arizona, which Lunardi has an 11-seed, but nonetheless, the Huskies are the definition of a bubble team.

"I think Arizona's resume is respected and valued, so I think (sweeping them) definitely helps us," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said.

If the Huskies continue to play like they did Saturday, they won't have to worry about their RPI. They won't have to convince the committee of their worth. They won't be a bubble team.

"We put together 40 minutes," Romar said. "We did a really good job, (Arizona) is tough to play. They are physical and aggressive. I thought our guys did a good job today of playing Husky basketball."

Essentially, Washington passed the "eye test" against the Wildcats.

Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross reminded everyone why they are potential high NBA draft picks and if they are part of the NCAA Tournament, they can do some special things.

The duo was unstoppable against Arizona. Ross had 25 points on an efficient 11-for-19 shooting to go along with five rebounds and five steals. Abdul Gaddy summed it up perfectly when he simply said, "no one can guard him."

Wroten wasn't as efficient from the field, but he still managed 22 points, nine rebounds and one rim-rattling dunk over Angelo Chol, who picked Arizona over UW.

"It was just funny because it was Chol," Wroten said. "He wanted to come here and didn't and I got him."

The Huskies' success didn't just hinge on those two, although this team is almost unbeatable when Wroten and Ross play like that.

Aziz N'Diaye provided quite possibly the play of the year as he blocked Nick Johnson's jumper, grabbed the ball at half court, threw it to himself (Romar later laughed and said "no, of course not" when asked if it was a travel), took one dribble, two big steps and threw it down with authority.

"Maybe we're using him wrong," Romar joked.
No, coach, you're using him just right. N'Diaye was great in his "normal" role, scoring off offensive rebounds and jump hooks. He tallied eight points to go along with 12 rebounds and four big blocks.

Gaddy was again terrific as the "quarterback." He had nine points, but most importantly added six assists and no turnovers.

C.J Wilcox again looked like is getting closer and closer to game shape. He only took five shots, but still managed 11 points and two big 3-pointers late in the game.

Yeah, I'd say they passed the eye test.
You know who didn't have a great resume last season but passed the eye test as a really solid team? Virginia Commonwealth University. You know who made the Final 4 last season? VCU.

I'm not saying the Huskies are going to repeat what VCU did last year, but sometimes it's best to ignore resumes and pay attention to what a team can really do on the court. The Huskies showed Saturday they can be extremely dangerous on the court.

The Huskies look like a tournament team, no matter what their resume ends up looking like.

Now, if they just go ahead and win their three remaining conference games, all on the road, at Washington State, UCLA and USC, they won't have to worry about that bubble.


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