Despite stunning loss, Washington’s NCAA hopes not dead

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The one constant of Washington’s up-and-down season? The Huskies’ home court.

Heading into Sunday’s showdown with in-state rival Washington State, the Huskies were 13-0 at Hec Ed this season, had topped 100 points five times and won by an average of nearly 30 points.

So how to explain an 80-69 loss to the Cougars?

Got me. Even UW coach Lorenzo Romar doesn’t know what happened.

“At this point of the year, for this to happen, that’s what is most surprising,” Romar told the Seattle Times. “Let alone in this building. We hadn’t played like that in here all season.”

It was a mess right from the start. Washington was sloppy with the ball, couldn’t hit a shot and found itself down 11-4 early in the first half, and trailed by seven at half. Wazzu even lead by 21 at one point. The Huskies made a run, but never got closer than six.

It was Washington at its worst – columnist Steve Kelley said it was a loss when “all their warts were exposed” – but there’s still hope for the Huskies’ NCAA tournament future, hard as that may be to believe.

With the L.A. schools coming to Seattle this week, that’s a chance for wins against an RPI Top 50 and Top 100 team, both of which would be key résumé builders. Add another victory in the Pac-10 tournament and the Huskies (19-9, 10-6 with an RPI of 36) are still in the running for a bid.

“I’m still confident in this team and what we can do,” center Matthew Bryan-Amaning told the paper. “This is not the game we wanted to have, but maybe this is what we need to put us on the right track.”

Right now, that’s a big maybe.

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