NCAA Tournament 2010: The Washington Huskies March on to the Sweet Sixteen

Kevin CacabelosSenior Analyst IMarch 21, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 20:  Forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning #11 and Abdul Gaddy #10 of the Washington Huskies celebrates after a play against the New Mexico Lobos during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HP Pavilion on March 20, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images


A short two months ago on January 23rd, many people gave up on the 2009—2010  Washington Huskies team.

How could the Huskies even think of playing postseason basketball after losing a road game to USC, 87—61?

In many people's minds, the season was over.

I admittedly, was ready to give up, as well. At this point, the Huskies had a record of 12—7 and had lost all five of their road games.It was soon declared that the Huskies would have to literally win the rest of their games to be able to play in the NCAA tournament.

The conference was perceived by many to be a weak conference, whose only bid was going to be the conference tournament champion. Well, the Huskies did not win every game, but since that USC loss they have compiled a 13—2 record and are currently running a nine—game win streak.

Apparently, it just started clicking for the Huskies.

Abdul Gaddy gained the starting spot, providing stability on the perimeter , Matthew Bryan—Amaning finally lived up to his potential and head coach Lorenzo Romar rallied his troops to gain them an automatic bid .

This is the team the Huskies were supposed to be. It took some bad losses to learn their lessons, but the Huskies have performed up their potential and now find themselves in a great position to make some history.

Whatever happens now is icing on the cake. This year's team no longer needs to be compared to Brandon Roy's team in 2006 or Nate Robinson's team in 2005. No, now future Husky teams will be compared to this one.

Not only is this team defined by its trademark fast break and pressure defense basketball, it is defined by its mental toughness. This team did not give up when it could have back in January. They stopped listening to the critics. They ignored the Top 25 rankings. Instead, they focused on what they needed to achieve.

Now the Huskies find themselves to be one of the sixteen remaining teams in the tournament. After seeing Kansas fall to Northern Iowa, there is no reason to count the Huskies out against any opponent. With the Huskies playing up to their full potential, they can compete with any team in the nation.

The Huskies have the best on—ball defender in Venoy Overton. The Huskies also have two of the most explosive scorers in Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas. The Huskies have a plethora of role players that play productive minutes off of the bench.

If there was one comparison to make to previous Romar's teams, it would be the re—discovered, "Husky Swagger," better known as excessive trash-talking, unnecessary dunks and numerous jersey pops...and of course hand salutes to their teammates and Husky fans.

This team is having fun, no doubt in my mind. But, Romar and company know that they can not be satisfied with a two—and—out performance.

This team won't go down without a fight and if anything, they'll probably find themselves dancing by the end of the season.