The University of Washington will have to wait until Sunday to find out whether it has been invited to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large entry, although that now seems inevitable after UW’s victory over Washington State in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday night. Washington has appeared in 14 editions of NCAA Tournament, with a best showing of third place in 1953. The Huskies have been ousted in the first round five times, most recently in 2004 as an eighth seed (lost to Alabama-Birmingham). In anticipation of Selection Sunday, and the bracket madness that accompanies it, the best and worst of the UW in the NCAA Tournament:
UW 82, New Mexico 64, 2nd round, San Jose, CA., March 20, 2010: Quincy Pondexter scored 18 points, Isaiah Thomas 15 and Matthew Bryan-Amaning contributed 15 points and nine rebounds as Washington drubbed eighth-ranked New Mexico to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the third time under Lorenzo Romar. The Huskies (26-9) played with a breakneck pace and at one point held a 23-point lead. The Lobos elected to run with the Huskies in the first half, and couldnt, as Washington blazed to a 12-point halftime lead.
UW 67, Illinois 64, 2nd round, San Diego, CA., 2006: UW trailed 58-49 with 6:48 left when the Huskies embarked on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to tie the game. Two big plays for the UW ensured the win, a 3-pointer by Mike Jensen and a four-point play by Justin Dentmon. An equally bigger key to UW’s victory: the defensive job Bobby Jones did on Illinois point guard Dee Brown, who scored 15 points but made just 5 of 18 shots.
UW, 69, Xavier 68, 1st round, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1998: Seeded 11th in the East Regional, Washington upset sixth-seeded and No. 23-ranked Xavier 69-68 on a 17-foot jumper by Deon Luton with 11.2 seconds left. The Huskies, 200-1 longshots to win the tournament, then withstood two shots by the Musketeers for their first NCAA tournament victory since 1984.
UW 80, Marquette 78, 1st Round, San Jose, CA., March 18, 2010: Quincy Pondexter recovered from a poor first half (just four points) and scored on a bank shot with 1.7 seconds to play to lift 11th-seeded Washington (24-9) to an 80-78 win. The Huskies, who trailed by one point (43-42) at halftime, fell behind by 15 with 13 1/2 minutes remaining before rallying to win on Pondexter’s driving banker from the left side.
UW 80, Duke 78, 2nd round, Western Subregionals, Pullman, WA., March 18, 1984: Before the game, UW head coach Marv Harshman told the media that beating the Johnny Dawkins-led Blue Devils would constitute a “minor miracle.” After falling behind by 10 points in the first half, UW roared back behind Detlef Schrempf, who finished with 30 points. Reggie Rogers, soon to join the WU football team, nailed two free throws with one second showing to provide Washington with the winning margin.
Dayton 64, UW 58, 2nd round, Los Angeles, CA., March 23, 1984: Coming off a stirring upset of Duke in the West Subregionals, Washington had a 38-37 lead when the Huskies lapsed into a seven-minute coma. By the time UW snapped out of it, Miami of Ohio had a 10-point lead that Washington could not surmount. Detlef Schrempf had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, but game star Roosevelt Chapman had 22 points and nine rebounds.
Miami of Ohio 59, UW 58, 1st round, New Orleans, LA., March 12, 1999: As the clock wound down inside five seconds, 6-4 Donald Watts coasted into the key to set up a 14-foot jumper, but Miami guard Anthony Taylor swatted his shot away. UW’s Greg Clark picked up the ball, but his hasty jumper was blocked by 6-8 Wally Szczerbiak. Most blamed UW head coach Bob Bender for the defeat, owing to his decision use single coverage on Szczerbiak, who had been doubled teamed in every game since Christmas. Szczerbiak dropped 43 on the Huskies.
Alabama-Birmingham 102, UW 100, 1st round, Columbus, OH., March 19, 2004: Alabama-Birmingham, with three senior starters, held its poise and made nine of 14 foul shots in the final 49 seconds to hold off the Huskies, who started four sophomores and a junior. Coming off three spirited wins in the Pac-10 tournament, Washington played flat. UW fouled too much (three players fouled out), missed 10 of 34 free throws and allowed more than a century of points. Only bright spot: Nate Robinson’s 27 points.
Connecticut 75, UW 74, Regional semifinal, Greebsboro, NC., March 19, 1998: Rarely have the Huskies suffered such heartbreak. UW’s Donald Watts, who had made what could have been the game-winning 3-pointer to put Washington ahead 74-73, could only moan as Connecticut forward Richard Hamilton, who had the ball knocked fortuitously into his hands after a frantic scramble underneath, hit a seven-foot fadeaway basket as time expired for the one-point victory.
Kansas 79, UW 53, National Semifinals, Kansas City, MO., March 17, 1953: Favored to win the national championship, the Huskies checked out early after All-America center Bob Hougregs drew four first-half fouls and then exited for good with his fifth two minutes into the second half. The next night, in the tournament’s third-place game, UW destroyed Bob Pettit and Louisiana State 88-62 as Houbregs scored 42.
The Rotations weekly schedule:
- Monday: That Was The Week That Was A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
- Tuesday: Wayback Machine — Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
- Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us — We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
- Thursday: Water Cooler Cool — Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
- Friday: Top 5 List — The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.