Coming off a football season where nothing went right, the Washington Huskies basketball team has gotten off to a hot start in Pac-10 play.
Early non-conference losses to Kansas, Florida, and Portland made the season look similar to that of Washington's 2007-08 campaign, which was mediocre.
But after a 4-1 start in conference play, the Huskies are tied for first.
For the first time in several years, there is no clear favorite in the Pac-10.
UCLA isn't quite as good as they've been the last few years. The departure of Kevin Love left a bit of a void at center, and let's not forget that virtually this same Huskies team knocked off the Bruins last year.
Cal handed Washington their only conference loss so far, and came in triple overtime. Jon Brockman has sparked this team, averaging 15 PPG and 10 RPG, and he's on the Pac-10 Player of the Year radar. And on Jan. 15, he broke the record for most career rebounds for Washington.
Brockman saw a trip to the Sweet 16 as a freshman, and in his final year, the Dawgs look like they'll be getting back to the dance.
Freshman Isaiah Thomas has Nate Robinson written all over him. At 5'8", Thomas plays a lot like Robinson did at the UW, and is already averaging 15.8 PPG. Thomas is a true scorer, and while he runs the point, he fits in more as a two-guard, as does Robinson.
The Huskies biggest test comes this week when they play defending conference champ UCLA, and defending conference tournament champ USC. These games will both be played in Seattle, and if Washington can beat USC and either win or hang close with UCLA, I think they deserve to be ranked.
For the past two seasons, Husky basketball has been locked in the doldrums. Brandon Roy and Spencer Hawes both took off for the NBA, and Washington has finished in seventh place for the past two seasons.
Now sitting at 13-4 and tied for first in the Pac-10, the Dawgs are back, and should be back in the Top 25.