Washington Huskies: NCAA Tournament Outlook

Kevin CacabelosSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2009

The Huskies find themselves back in the NCAA tournament after a successful regular season, capped by winning the Pac-10 conference regular season title. Out of all the teams entering the tournament from the Pac-10, the Huskies have boasted the most wins against tournament teams.

The Huskies have beat:

  • No. 15 seed Morgan St.
  • No. 13 seed Cleveland St.
  • No. 13 seed Portland St.
  • No. 12 seed Arizona
  • No. 8 seed Oklahoma St.
  • No. 6 seed UCLA
  • Two wins over No. 10 seed USC
  • Two wins over No. 6 seed Arizona St.

Lorenzo Romar is ready for his third go around with another talented team.  With a tough bracket, the Huskies will be tested from their first round game right off the bat. The Mississippi St. Bulldogs create some matchup problems for the Huskies.

Most notably, Jarvis Varnado, a 6'9" forward with some maniac shot-blocking ability. He’s the best shot-blocker in the nation. Inevitably, Jon Brockman will be shut down offensively.

Against USC shot-blocker, Taj Gibson, Brockman was ineffective offensively, scoring only 10 points in two games.

However, Brockman contributed in a different way, grabbing a combined 27 rebounds in those two games. Brockman won’t have a huge game for the Huskies, but his rebounding prowess will still play a major factor in the Huskies’ success.

The Bulldogs have also strived on their guard play. It will be a dual between Thomas/Dentmon and the experienced Barry Stewart.

Dentmon has been cold as of late, but after watching him all season, you know he can get hot at any moment. He’s hit clutch shot after clutch shot for the Huskies.  Without a doubt, he’s become the consummate go-to player for the Huskies during crunch time.

Isaiah Thomas has also shown the desire to have the ball in his hands during crunch time. He’s no ordinary freshmen, and it is unlikely he’ll freeze up on the big stage of the NCAA tournament.

Thomas loves being in the spotlight, I predict a strong tournament performance from I.T.

If the Huskies are to advance, they’ll most likely face off against No. 5 seed Purdue.

The Boilermakers are a scary team for the Huskies to play in the second round. Purdue has strong post defense and is a better 3-point shooting team than the Huskies.

Again, Jon Brockman will have trouble against the duo of Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson. Against MSU and Purdue, the play of Quincy Pondexter will be critical. He has come up big for the Huskies when Dentmon, Thomas, and Brockman have had off-games.

If Pondexter can play at a high-consistent level, then the Huskies will likely find themselves in a Sweet 16 rematch against the other Huskies, the University of Connecticut.