NIT Bracket 2012: Tournament Is Washington's to Lose

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIMarch 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 08:  Head coach Lorenzo Romar of the Washington Huskies reacts in the second half while taking on the Oregon State Beavers during the quarterfinals of the 2012 Pacific Life Pac-12 basketball tournament at Staples Center on March 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Washington will hope to rebound from a rough month of March that saw them fall from NCAA Tournament team to a part of the first four teams out list.

Washington was named a No. 1 seed in the NIT Tournament Sunday following the Selection Sunday coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

Other No. 1 seeds include Tennessee, Seton Hall and Arizona.

This is the Huskies' tournament to lose mostly because it was their NCAA Tournament bid to lose, as well. Looking back, a trip to the PAC-12 Tournament Championship may have been enough nudge them into the field of 68 teams. Yet the Huskies fell to lowly Oregon State in the opening round, pretty much signaling the end of their tournament bid hopes.

It is a shame, too. Washington's athleticism would have been enough to challenge most teams in the NCAA Tournament, just as they did back when Quincy Pondexter led them to the Sweet 16 in 2010.

They are a severe mismatch for most teams they come across, but it is the lack of intensity when it matters most that ultimately drives them to the loser's column. They simply looked past the most important games of their season, the last two.

Losses to UCLA in the final game of the regular season already put them in a hole for a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but losing in the opening round of the weary PAC-12 Tournament to Oregon State was just the last straw for this team and their dancing hopes.

However, they do get a good chance to prove people wrong in the NIT Tournament.

They will host Texas-Arlington in the opening round, then the winner will play the winner of No. 4 Northwestern and No. 5 Akron.

If the Huskies are to run the table in their side of the bracket, they will have to get past Oregon and Dayton on their way.

But winning this tournament is expected out of them, with all the turmoil this team has been through over the past two weeks. Showing off that athleticism should be the key to winning the NIT Tournament.