Husky Basketball Preview and Prediction: Oregon State at Washington

Jon Brockman Matthew Bryan-Amaning

I miss these guys.

It’s been WAY too long since I’ve written something, so here goes…

After starting the season 11-0, the University of Washington men’s basketball program has come crashing back reality. Four straight losses leave this team at 11-4 and an 0-3 Pac-12 record, good for 11th in the conference. A disappointing home loss to Stony Brook (who?!), followed by three straight conference losses has the Dawgs reeling and searching for answers. Suddenly, the feeling of familiar mediocrity has crept back into the minds of Husky fans, making the days of Nate Robinson alley-oops and Isaiah Thomas game-winners seem like “oh-so-long ago.” Even this team’s No. 13 ranking earlier this season is a distant memory. So…will UW hoops be able to right the ship when a hot Oregon State Beavers (11-4, 2-1) team visits Alaska Airlines Arena on Thursday night?

Well the Huskies will not have momentum on their side. The Beavers just knocked off undoubtedly the most talented team in the conference in then-No. 7 Arizona. They are led by a familiar name to most Seattle sports fans: point guard Gary Payton (the second). The 6-foot-3 Payton leads Oregon State in scoring at 12 points per game and also averages a ridiculous 8.2 rebounds per game all while playing 35 minutes per game. UW’s starting point guard Nigel Williams-Goss will be matched up with Payton for most of the night and it will be crucial for NWG to win this battle if the Huskies hope to get their first conference win. As the primary ball-carrier, Nigel needs to take better care of the ball and run this offense the way it’s supposed to be run: through him.

Speaking of NWG, he apparently called a players-led meeting this past week after the home loss to Washington State. Sometimes these kinds of meetings are what turns a club’s season around. Asked what the main topic of the meeting, center Robert Upshaw said it was “confidence.”

From a team perspective, both sides of the ball need to improve for the Huskies to get back on track tonight. Getting their confidence back could play a vital role in that happening. A key part of UW’s hot start was the defense playing extremely well. That has not been the case during the team’s current losing streak, and the offense has also fallen flat. They are terrible at shooting the three and there is just no consistent, go-to scoring threat that Dawg fans are used to seeing on Lorenzo Romar‘s teams. Until someone steps up in that department it’s going to be tough-sledding for a talented young squad with potential.

Overall, it’s hard to think the Huskies will be able to match the Beavers’ confidence. It’ll be another close game, but UW falls to a dismal 0-4 start in Pac-12 play.

Prediction: OSU 72, UW 67

Husky basketball is at it’s lowest low since Romar took over the team over a decade ago. Once packed 10,000 high and one of the toughest places to play in the conference, Hec-Ed is not even half full most of the time these days. It’s time for Romar to give Husky fans a reason to come to the games again. He’s fortunate he has an incredible recruiting class coming in next season that will hopefully spark some interest.

Here’s a video that proves we used to be good at one point. GO DAWGS.

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