And now Washington's fate is up to the committee.
After losing Wednesday afternoon to the ninth seeded Oregon State Beavers, we're left to wonder what is to become of this Husky squad?
They're talented with two projected first rounders in Ross and Wroten, a first team defense center in Aziz N'Diaye, and an impressive support staff in the form of C.J. Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy, and Darnell Gant.
Washington, on paper, is not a first round exit. Wednesday afternoon, they were, and so the question becomes: what to make of this Husky squad?
I'm hesitant to call it "monumental" but with Washington's dance hopes in the air, I'm curious what to make of their program.
As a conference champion, they've closed on a two game losing steak and their resume - along with most Pac-12 schools - doesn't appear to stack up. They're winless against the RPI top 50, just 6-5 on the road, and have played the nation's 86th toughest schedule. You've just read their resume as many will list it, and, let's face it, it's less than stellar. Alas, they're a major conference champ and - in all likelihood - will be dancing.
But the real question is what to make of this program?
I've long been disappointed at their inability to move into elite status during the rest of the conference's decline. But this year impressed me. While they underwhelmed in the pre-season - losing to South Dakota State (at home) and St. Louis and Nevada - they took the conference season by storm despite what could be perceived as major issues. They won the regular season title whether you're impressed or not.
And that's why Lorenzo Romar's post-game quote had me so sad. Following the Huskies' painful second/first round loss to Oregon State, Romar had this to say, "I would think the Pac-12 champion would be able to find a place in the NCAA tournament."
He was hoping.
To hope, to ask or to request or to beg is to admit defeat. I don't want to pour on this defeat but if Romar's quote is indicative of the program's feelings, then they didn't necessarily expect to win that game.
The winner of a major conference doesn't think they should make anything but a CBS highlight video.
So while Washington's loss was no doubt disappointing, their body of work is indicative of their effort: hopeful, because winners do and - while I hate to use the term - losers hope.
Hence my sorrow at Romar's admission of hope.
That's not to call him or his program loser's but we're left grossly confused by what to make of a talented (we've already addressed this) group of Huskies who have failed to win on the biggest of stages unless it involves Arizona.
And so, on the heels of this painful loss, I'm forced to ask whether or not it's a debilitating loss? Should the Huskies hopes not come to fruition - that's to say they don't make the tournament - Washington is facing an overwhelmingly disappointing close to their season, the possible loss of Wroten and Ross to the NBA, and a barren 2012 class.
That list, my friends, is a recipe for a 2012-13 season in which we begin to toss around phrases like "transitional," "rebuilding," and "hot seat."
Of course winning can salvage a whole lot and the Huskies should have an opportunity to do such. Be it the big dance or a National Invitation, UW has a few more to play.
The season is not yet over, but hoping it isn't won't help the situation.