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NIT Tournament 2012: Washington Bows Out In Predictable Manner


The Washington Huskies are an utterly frustrating squad to watch. Their typical game involves them starting off slowly, rally with a flurry of long jumpers, then either win in bizarro fashion and invite the catcalls of being underachievers, or lose and invite the catcalls of being underachievers. Not a fun team to watch in any real way, especially if you believe Lorenzo Romar is a genius.

The way they lost in the NIT Tournament was pretty much a microcosm of their season. The Minnesota Golden Gophers worked the ball inside and got easier buckets, allowing them to rack up an early lead on Washington. When the Huskies came back on a late run, they could only force overtime before finally falling at the end.

Washington's offense was putrid: Tony Wroten missed his customary set of layups and shot 4 for 16, Abdul Gaddy missed his customary set of layups and shot 3 for 10, Terrence Ross 7 for 19. C.J. Wilcox and Darnell Gant had to carry them offensively for most of the game. Washington shot only 27% on their two pointers in the first half.

It was another offensively impotent NIT semifinal. Other than Minnesota getting their baskets inside (23 of 46 on two pointers), neither team was playing all that well. UW and Minnesota combined to turn the ball over 35 times, with Minnesota's 21 keeping Washington in it. Minnesota didn't get to the free throw line nearly enough (13 of 20 free throw attempts compared to 10 of 16 for UW) to really distance themselves from Washington. Minnesota's poor ball-handling nearly cost them when Wilcox stole the ball to force overtime, but poor Washington shooting (as usual) was the culprit in this contest.

Now the attention turns to the Washington offseason, which probably could have much bigger long-term ramifications for the Huskies. Ben Knibbe of UW Dawg Pound thinks it's very important for Wroten to come back, not just for the benefit of Washington but the benefit of his pro career.

Oh and please develop a right hand. I recently got a wrist brace for a painful ganglion cyst, and found out what it is like to only be able to finish with your strong hand. It turns easy lay-ups into awkward-angled finishes. It takes away so much from your game. In your case Mr. Wroten, it would add so much. Tonight you found yourself attempting to finish bodied up on the left side. You found yourself being bodied into difficult finishes because you were forced nearly beside the backboard with your left shoulder facing the baseline. How you even got the shots up was beyond my comprehension, let alone my ability. A right hand turns that exceedingly difficult shot into a simple (in comparison) finish. The NBA will see this. Developing a jump shot and a right hand will open up more game than you could imagine. Look at the development of Gant's jumper, the development of Ross's polished offensive arsenal. You can improve yourself so much by staying at least another year. Please do.

With Ross likely on his way out, Wroten's decision could be the sticking point with whether Washington returns to the tournament or whether the Huskies are stuck in limbo next season and possibly looking at another middling NIT appearance. Just not enough for UW.