With an 85-63 win over Loyola (MD.) Sunday and a brutal 63-62 loss to the Albany (NY) Great Danes Tuesday, Lorenzo Romar’s University of Washington basketball team is 1-1 with the prospect of a 1-3 start likely, based on a lack of energy and passion the Huskies have displayed so far.
The Huskies are idle until Saturday when they play Seton Hall (first meeting between the schools) in the third round of Tip-Off Hall of Fame Classic in Uncasville, CT. Less than 24 hours later, Washington will play its final game in the tournament, probably against No. 4-ranked Ohio State.
In Washington’s first two games, we’ve learned at least two things: The Huskies have not developed a player who is ready to command the offense in the manner that Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten did before they skipped to the NBA.
Worse, the Huskies seem utterly disinclined to exert a sustained effort on defense. Last Sunday, Washington allowed Loyola to collect 19 offensive rebounds, which boils down to a startling lack of effort. Tuesday, Washington permitted Albany, of the American East Conference, to take a 31-27 halftime lead that could have been far more substantial.
UW committed six turnovers in the first eight minutes, C.J. Wilcox missed his first six shots, and the Huskies botched 16 of their first 22 attempts.
Romar demanded that the Huskies ramp up the pressure to start the second half against Albany, and they did, turning a 35-32 deficit into a 45-38 lead in a four-minute burst.
But then the Huskies let the game slip away through a combination of mental mistakes, poor defensive positioning and a lack of execution.
“Disappointing, very disappointing,” said Romar, who assumed blame for the loss. “We needed to do a better job of defending them, especially down the stretch. And we didn’t. And that’s my responsibility, to have them better prepared against the offense they were going to run.”
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Washington has played eight games in preseason tournaments away from home. The Huskies are 1-7, the lone victory coming in the 2010 Maui Classic against Virginia.
That’s not a pretty history to take into neutral-court games against Seton Hall and Ohio State (assuming Ohio State defeats Rhode Island), especially coming off two lame performances at home.
If the Huskies return 1-3, that would be their worst start since Romar’s 2002-03 club started 0-3 en route to a 10-17 finish. Which begs the question: