The University of Washington men’s basketball team, once considered a candidate to reach the Sweet Sixteen, and maybe even the Elite Eight, has lost three in a row for the first time this season. Question is, has any Husky team lost four or more in a row and then done anything at all in the NCAA Tournament?
The short answer: nyet.
Washington has participated in the NCAA Tournament on 15 occasions. Only twice has a Husky team lost four in a row or more in a season and even merited a trip to the Tournament. Both of those teams barely two-stepped in the Big Dance.
In 1986, with Chris Welp leading the way, the Huskies dropped their final four non-conference games as well as their conference opener at California, five consecutive setbacks. But UW went 13-5 thereafter and made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed. Michigan State ousted the Huskies in the first round.
UW also dropped five in a row during the 2004 season and still reached the Tournament. All five defeats came at the onset of Pac-10 play. But from there, the Huskies went 14-4 and reached the Tournament as a No. 8 seed. Alabama-Birmingham knocked the Huskies out in the first round.
Of the 15 Washington teams that have made the NCAA Tournament, three never had so much as a two-game losing streak — Bob Houbregs’ 1953 club, the Detlef Schrempf-Welp team of 1985, and Lorenzo Romar’s 2005 bunch that earned a No. 1 seed and reached the Sweet Sixteen.
Four other Washington teams never even lost three in a row during their Tournament seasons — 1943, 1948, 1984 and 2009. And six UW teams kept their droughts to three consecutive losses: 1951, 1976, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2010.
Of the six that dropped three in a row (as the current Huskies have), two — the 1976 James Edwards club and the 1999 Todd MacCulloch team — didn’t win a single game in the Tournament.
The Huskies will be trying to avoid a fourth consecutive setback Thursday night when they host California.