The Husky men had played their away basketball games this season like reluctant pups afraid to venture into a pond and attempt the dog paddle. Once they saw how easy it was to win away from home Saturday, they seemed to relish the experience
If they can win one of their remaining games in Oregon next month after triumphing twice at home and one more time in Pullman Feb. 27, the Dawgs may just bob near enough to the top of the shallow pond of Pac-10 basketball to attract the attention of the bracket-pickers of the NCAA tournament.
The Stanford win Saturday was relatively easy. UW took the lead for good after just four-plus minutes. But the Cardinal drew within two during the second half before the visitors took command, winning 78-61.
Next on the sched: USC and UCLA at Hec Edmundson. Neither of the Los Angeles-area teams has been consistently impressive. The USC contingent (14-9 as of Sunday morning), though, was at its best when it blew out the Huskies 87-61 last month. More on the minds of Dawg players will be the one they gave away two days prior, missing a win against UCLA (11-12) by a nanosecond or two.
The Huskies also ought to be motivated in Eugene March 4, given that the Oregon Ducks own the only visitors'ê victory at Hec Ed this season. Two days later the regular season ends in Corvallis against an Oregon State team that has won big on the road and lost infamously at home (99-48 to Seattle University).
If the Huskies, then, are able to claim a minimum of 20 wins going into the post-season tourney, a first-round victory in the Pac-10 pageant might just be enough to muster support for an NCAA berth. Obviously the U-Dub would qualify automatically with a league-tournament win but, hey, we'êre talking about pond-swimmers here. Until these Dawgs show they can win on the road a coupla-three times, they'êre obviously not ready to get into water over their heads.