So it has come to this, the NIT. It should have been obvious when there wasn't one of those always 2.75 second delayed cameras on the Huskies sitting around watching the selection show that they weren't getting into the tournament.
The NIT is usually pretty strange in that the best teams rarely seem to win due to lack of motivation and unfortunately the 2011-2012 season for the Huskies has been a triumph in lack of motivation. Never the less, the Huskies will get at least one more home game and hopefully a fired up home crowd is just what the Dawgs need to take the UT Arlington Mavericks seriously.
In the Mavericks, the Huskies will be facing a fellow regular season champion who slipped up in their conference (Southland) tournament and cost themselves a shot at the NCAA Tournament. While missing out on the big dance is a disappointment for the Mavericks, the chance to play a power conference champion on national TV is still a huge opportunity for the program. If they had made the tournament, UTA would have a resume similar to South Dakota State and if the Huskies come out flat we could see a result similar to the beatdown the Jackrabbits dealt the Huskies in December. The Mavericks also hung tough with Baylor and Texas early in the season so they have experience against the big boys.
The Mavericks are led by senior guard LaMarcus Reed III who will be looking to extend his career and outperform Husky stars Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten on what is possibly the biggest stage he has played on during his college career. Reed is a pure scorer much like Ross and Wroten and it will be up to the two hyped underclassmen to outscore him if the game becomes a shootout.
This type of game doesn't favor the Huskies because of motivation and emotions (two things that have hurt the team all year) and a loss at home would be particularly embarrassing. However, I honestly hope for whatever outcome will make Ross and Wroten want to come back the most though I have no idea what would be. Overall though I just can't envision the Huskies losing to a team of this caliber at home and though I think it will be close, Ross and Wroten will in fact be able to outscore the Mavericks and extend their careers for at least one more game.