What is wrong with the Husky basketball team?

Feb 14, 2013, 7:04 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2013, 10:33 am
Wednesday's defeat at the hands of No. 23 Oregon was Washington's seventh loss in its past eight games, bringing its overall record to 13-12. (AP)
(AP)

By Justin Lester

With just two weeks left until March, Husky fans are asking a question that hasn’t been asked in a long time.

What is wrong with the Washington men’s basketball team?

After Wednesday’s defeat at the hands of No. 23 Oregon at Alaska Airlines Arena, the Huskies are 13-12 (5-7) on the year, a lousy record considering the success head coach Lorenzo Romar has had at the UW for the past decade.

ESPN’s Dave Pasch has been manning the play-by-play for recent Husky games, and he’ll be the first to tell you that there’s something different about basketball on Montlake this year.

“You watch them and you just don’t see a lot of passion,” Pasch told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” Thursday. “I don’t know if the guys don’t like playing with each other. Something’s not right there.”

Lack of chemistry is a rarity for a Romar-coached team, and it’s nearly impossible to win in this sport unless everyone is on the same page. It would be one thing if the Huskies were getting beat by top-notch competition, but they’ve had more losses than wins during a down year in the Pac-12.

Brock Huard weighed in on the Huskies’ disappointing season Thursday, saying that the UW is deficient in more than just team chemistry.

“You don’t have the assassin that Lorenzo has had through the years,” Huard said. “You don’t have a Brandon Roy, you don’t have a [John] Brockman, you don’t have that guy that just says when push comes to shove, ‘enough is enough, and we’re going to get this thing done.'”

Guard C.J. Wilcox was supposed to be that guy for this year’s team, but the junior has failed to live up to most people’s expectations. He is shooting just 26 percent from 3-point range in the last seven games, partly due to a slightly-injured left foot.

Poor offensive efficiency has become a theme this season for Wilcox and his teammates, defined by their performance against the Ducks. The Huskies shot just 21-60, including 2-13 from the 3-point line, a category in which Washington ranks 10th in the Pac-12.

“If you can’t score, it’s awfully hard to win, and they’re just not a good offensive team,” Pasch said. “I think part of it is probably the injury with Wilcox. Some people say it’s really not an issue, others say it is an issue. Clearly the left foot is a problem.”

Another key cog of the UW attack that hasn’t lived up to expectations is senior point guard Abdul Gaddy. Is it time to bench Gaddy for potential-filled freshman Andrew Andrews? Either way, the future at the position is brighter than its current situation, with Andrews returning and McDonald’s All-American Nigel Williams-Goss on his way.

As a result of inconsistent play, the Huskies’ postseason opportunities are in doubt. The UW may not even be able to make the NIT, which seems strange for a team that has had its eyes set on the NCAA Tournament for the past few years.

But the Huskies still have talent, and as witnessed last year, anything can happen at the Pac-12 Tournament. The UW will need a magical run to save its season.

“The Pac-12 Tournament, just like last year, is going to be really interesting,” Pasch said. “They do have a veteran team. If they get hot, they’re one of a handful of teams that probably can win it.”

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What is wrong with the Husky basketball team?