Back to Reality: Huskies Still in Deep Hole
The Washington basketball team, at least for an afternoon, looked renewed, even formidable, in its 87-52 beatdown of the California Bears.
What comes next?
The harsh reality is this: likely not much changes for Mike Hopkins' players.
The Huskies (13-14 overall, 3-12 Pac-12) dug themselves such a deep hole by losing nine consecutive games leading up to Cal, they probably won't escape the conference cellar or enter the league tournament as anything but the 12th seed.
The UW could be down to just three more regular-season games and a tourney appearance, and then the Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels era of Husky basketball comes to a dissatisfying end.
There was no bravado following the Cal blowout, rather a cautious outlook. Five weeks of losing will do that to you.
"We not trying to look ahead or behind," said Stewart, who remains a staunch teammate to the end (see video). "We're happy we got one win and got it started. We're just trying to keep it going."
The Huskies host eighth-place Washington State (14-14, 5-10) on Friday and finish up with road games the following week at first-place Arizona State (19-8, 10-4) and fifth-place Arizona (19-8, 9-5).
The Cougars are beatable, but the UW still hasn't won a road game this season and typically struggles in the Arizona desert. A 1-2 finish isn't out of the question.
The Huskies stand two games behind the Cougars and Oregon State (15-12, 5-10) with three to play. Last place looks inevitable.
If the Pac-12 tournament were held today, Washington would open play against a fifth-seeded Arizona at 2:30 p.m. in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 11, maybe playing the Wildcats twice in five days.
The Huskies have to be encouraged that, after so many blow leads and near-misses over the previous month, several players stepped up against Cal.
Yet no reinforcements are on the way. Quade Green, the Huskies' academically ineligible point guard, won't get back in time for the Pac-12 tournament, even if he gets his grades in order.