Huskies and Fans Wait in Fear for Sunday

University of Washington basketball team can do no more to burnish their NCAA Tournament resume. Final submission came with a typo–yesterday’s upset loss to Oregon State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. Sunday at 3 p.m., live on CBS, the 10 members of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will announce the seedings for the 68-team tournament.

With yesterday’s loss, the Huskies’ hope is to be one of the 37 teams to win an “at-large bid,” that is, to get a spot in the tournament despite not gaining the automatic bid awarded for winning the conference tournament. “We’re at the mercy of their decision,” Husky coach Lorenzo Romar said yesterday.

  • What the Huskies have going for them: They won the Pac-12 regular season title, they won 13 of their last 17 games, six of their ten losses came against likely NCAA tournament teams.
  • What the Huskies have going against them: They didn’t beat any highly-ranked teams, the Pac-12 is not a good conference this year, they lost their last two games against substandard competition.

All this means that Washington is “on the bubble,” in the parlance of bracket-watchers. ESPN says the Huskies will make the tournament, but CBS Sports says they won’t.

It all depends on what other “on the bubble” teams do in their conference tournament. Our Scandinavian brethren in Minnesota did us a favor last night, knocking bubble-team Northwestern out of the Big Ten Tournament. Seton Hall and South Florida both lost in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. All positive developments. Still, a few conference champions must still be decided, and a surprise victory could dash the Huskies’ chances. Were Minnesota go on to win the Big 10 Tournament, they would go from a team that doesn’t even merit at-large berth consideration to a automatic qualifier, potentially blocking the Huskies’ path to the tournament. The Huskies’ tournament destiny could well be decided by an upset in Atlantic City or Atlanta.

If the Huskies don’t make the NCAA tournament field, it would be a huge letdown for the team and its fans. But they will have another game. As the regular season Pac 12 champion, the Huskies are guaranteed a bid in the second-tier National Invitation Tournament.

Husky Nation will have a tense Sunday afternoon, waiting to see if the Dawgs get the call.