After Saturday’s season-ending slate of five Pac-12 games, Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies finished in a three-way tie for sixth place in the conference race with USC and Oregon State and received the No. 8 seed for the league’s postseason tournament that begins Wednesday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Huskies will face No. 9 seed Stanford at 12 p.m.
Washington State, the No. 12 seed, will take on No. 5 Colorado, a 57-55 loser at Utah Saturday, at 2:30 p.m.
The Huskies (17-13, 9-9), picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, will have to win four games in four days in order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. They’ll start with the Cardinal, coming off a 94-62 blowout loss to Arizona Saturday in Tucson.
Washington and Stanford, due to the Pac-12’s unbalanced schedule, faced each other only once during the regular season, Feb. 18 in Seattle. The Huskies came away with a 64-53 victory, snapping a four-game losing streak, as Dejounte Murray scored 25 points and Marquese Chriss added 11. Pac-12 scoring leader Andrew Andrews managed only eight points, all from the free throw line.
Oregon, a 76-66 winner over the Trojans Saturday, earned the conference’s No. 1 seed (only Oregon’s second outright conference title since 1945) with a 25-6, 14-4 record. The Ducks are followed in the tournament seedings by:
- No. 2: Utah (24-7, 13-5).
- No. 3: California (22-9, 12-6)
- No. 4: Arizona (24-7, 12-6)
- No. 5: Colorado (21-10, 10-8)
- No. 6: Oregon State (18-11, 9-9)
- No. 7: Southern California (20-11, 9-9)
- No. 8: Washington (17-13, 9-9)
- No. 9: Stanford (15-14, 8-10)
- No. 10: UCLA (15-16, 6-12)
- No. 11: Arizona State (15-16, 5-13)
- No. 12: Washington State (9-21, 1-17)
First-round games Wednesday:
|1||12 p.m.||Pac-12||#8 Washington (17-13, 9-9) vs. #9 Stanford (15-14, 8-10)|
|2||2:30 p.m.||Pac-12||#5 Colorado (21-10, 10-8) vs. #12 WSU (9-21, 1-17)|
|3||6 p.m.||Pac-12||#7 USC (20-11, 9-0) vs. #10 UCLA (15-16, 6-12)|
|4||8:30 p.m.||Pac-12||#6 OSU (18-11, 9-9) vs. #11 ASU (15-16, 5-13)|
Washington will have to overcome a lot of negative history in order to advance to the second round. The Huskies have been eliminated in the first round of the tournament the past two years. UW dropped a 71-69 decision to Stanford last year as the 11th seed and fell to Utah 67-61 as the No. 9 seed in 2014.
Washington last won a first-round game in 2013, a 64-62 decision over Washington State. That year, the Huskies were a sixth seed.
UW hasn’t won two or more games in the conference tournament since 2011 when, starring Isaiah Thomas, the Huskies won the championship with a 77-75 victory over No. 1-seed Arizona in overtime.
Lower seeds have never fared well in the Pac-12 Tournament. The lowest seed to win is No. 6, accomplished by Colorado in 2012 and USC in 2009. Oregon won as a No. 5 seed in 2003.
Washington fell to the eighth seed after losing six of its final eight conference games, but finished on a positive note with a 99-91 win over WSU in the regular-season finale Wednesday as Andrews scored a career-high 47 points.
The Cougars enter the tournament having lost 16 consecutive games and with only one conference win, an 85-78 win over UCLA in Pullman Jan. 3.
The Cougars twice lost to Colorado during the regular season, 75-70 in Pullman Jan. 23, and 88-81 in two overtimes in Boulder Feb. 11.