The Washington Huskies hit a wall in Eugene last night, losing to the Oregon Ducks 65 – 40. Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson of the Huskies couldn’t get enough offense out of their teammates, Matisse Thybulle and David Crisp. The latter two made 3 out of 17 shot attempts for the entire game.
The Huskies were mediocre on defense. The Oregon Ducks combined to make a little over 40% of their field goals and were inconsistent from three-point range, but still managed to score over 60 points.
The offensive saving grace for the Oregon Ducks goes by the name of Troy Brown, the freshman out of Las Vegas. In the first half, this kid was an unstoppable force of nature. Brown had 16 points before the half and even scored three straight buckets to grab momentum for the Ducks. After putting the Ducks up 22 – 19, they never relinquished the lead.
This was a really poor offensive showing by the Huskies, but that’s because the Ducks were able to apply pressure tactfully. The Ducks dared the Husky guards to make tough outside shots instead of being able to rely on Dickerson to bail them out down low. Dickerson only got 9 field goal attempts for the entire game.
Holding the Huskies to 40 points for the entire game is exactly what the Ducks needed after the blowout loss to Stanford, where they gave up 96 points. Next, they host the Washington State Cougars on Sunday, where fans should expect an easy win at home against a struggling program.
The Ducks win tonight further muddles the PAC-12 standings. Right now, it’s largely expected that three or four teams from this entire conference will be able to make it through to March Madness, and if the Ducks can snag the win over WSU, they’ll punch themselves a ticket to the black hole that is the middle of the PAC-12 standings.
USC, UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, and soon Oregon define this self-destructing conference. It’s too early to tell if any of these teams will break away right now, but time is ticking.
For Oregon, they get an easy WSU game and then have to travel to California to face USC and UCLA. From there they host both colleges from Arizona before their rematches against Washington and WSU. That’s a tall task.
I don’t see the Ducks being able to get the wins they need to make it to the March Madness without at least going deep in the PAC-12 tourney. Don’t expect the teams from Arizona to let up like they did against the Huskies, as they hope to seek their own separation in the PAC-12. Arizona is currently ranked 13th in the nation.
The Huskies can’t afford to lose either, and while the loss against the Oregon Ducks doesn’t destroy their Madness hopes by any means, there’s no room for error on Saturday when they travel to Corvallis against the Oregon State Beavers. Given that OSU isn’t exactly a pushover, it’s imperative that the Huskies regain confidence quick.
From there, the Huskies will host Utah and Colorado at home before traveling to California to square off against Stanford and middling Berkeley. They finish off the season against the teams from Oregon.
The schedule is working out in favor for the Huskies. If they can recover, getting to 22 wins might be enough to have their resume on the table for Selection Sunday. The Huskies have beaten tough teams in Kansas, USC, Arizona, and Arizona State so far this year.
Don’t forget, anything can happen in this year’s PAC-12. If anything, it looks like Washington and Oregon might be heading for a PAC-12 tournament matchup in the first round. Both fans still have a ton of meaningful basketball ahead.