March 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Tony Wroten (14) sets up for a free throw during the second half against Oregon State Beavers during the quarter finals of the 2012 Pac 12 Tournament at the Staples Center. Oregon State won 86-84. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
It's too early for tears. The season is not yet over for the Huskies but if they are not selected for the NCAA tournament on Sunday, it might as well be. The raw emotion that Thursday's heartbreaking collapse elicited was "One Shining Moment" material but unfortunately they don't make magical montages for Pac-12 Tournaments or the NIT, which the Huskies may have played themselves into.
Overall, Thursday's game was almost like a one act play of the Huskies 2011-2012 season. The Huskies came out sloppy, slow and unmotivated and got way too far behind before going on an epic run which then spiraled into a last second meltdown because of careless turnovers, an inability to not commit fouls and missed free throws.
Now the Huskies are forced to do something they haven't done for years, sit at home and trust that the selection committee merits them worthy of a spot in the big dance. The last time the Huskies were sweating it out was all the way back in 2004 and that team had a much better resume than the one whose best win is at home game against NIT bound Oregon back in early January.
It's truly sad that an otherwise great performance by Tony Wroten will be overshadowed by the Nick Anderson impression he put on in the waning seconds, but if the Huskies do in fact miss out on the tournament, the fact that they did so because of poor free throw shooting is long overdue. This isn't the first season that the Romar coached Huskies have struggled at the line, but it is the first where it has obviously cost them an incredibly valuable game. The Huskies poor percentage can also not be solely blamed on the abysmal shooting of Aziz N'Diaye as C.J. Wilcox, one of the best free throw shooters in the conference, has regularly struggled late in close games this season.
Year after year, it seems to be the little things that trip up Romar's Huskies in close games when everything is on the line and the problem with this stumbling is that it wasn't against UConn in the Sweet 16 or North Carolina in the second round. It was against a below average Oregon State team that hasn't made the tournament in more than 20 years and didn't have much to play for in the first round of an embarrassingly sparsely attended conference tournament that might only send its champion to NCAA Tournament.
The hours approaching Sunday's selection will be especially nerve racking and I honestly think it is about a 50/50 chance that the Huskies sneak in as a 12 seed on the merit of winning the regular season. Will they become possibly the first team with a conference coach of the year and two first round draft picks to be relegated to the dreaded NIT? It's possible, but hey, maybe they would have a chance to get revenge against the Beavers in another tournament that no one really cares about.