AUDIO: Head coach Lorenzo Romar about WSU's Brock Motum and Davonte Lacy, the "one and done" rule in the NBA and the health of Aziz N'Diaye. Audio available here.
by Curtis Crabtree
With three games left to play the Washington Huskies are still trying to dig themselves out of a massive hole dug during the non-conference season.
Washington (19-8, 12-3 Pac-12) doesn't have a single victory over a team in the top 50 in the RPI. Their best victory came at home over Oregon on New Year's Eve, a 76-60 win over the Ducks, who is currently 51st in the RPI.
The conference as a whole had a pathetic non-conference showing without a single signature victory by a Pac-12 school.
But with three games to play, the Huskies have put themselves in reach of a fourth-straight 20-win season and fourth-straight NCAA Tournament berth. Washington is starting piece things together. After a blowout 82-57 loss at Oregon two weeks ago, the Huskies have played some of the best basketball this season.
The Huskies put together one of their most complete performances of the year in a 79-70 win over Arizona on Saturday. There wasn't the prolonged lapses on each end of the floor or lack in defensive integrity that had plagued Washington in games all year.
Now the Huskies are back in the NCAA Tournament conversation. Their profile still isn't glowing: 0-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, 3-8 vs. the RPI Top 100. But Washington also doesn't have any horrible losses either. They are 16-0 against teams outside the Top 100 in the RPI and are tied for the conference lead with California.
If they can win their final three games, all on the road, they stand a very good chance of making the tournament. First up is Washington State on Saturday before a trip to USC and UCLA next week to close out the regular season.
The Cougars gave Washington a run in Seattle in a game where the Huskies were without C.J. Wilcox. Since then, Wilcox is back playing and Washington State has lost Faisel Aden for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Wilcox still isn't practicing with the team and is limited to around 100 straight jump shots a day.
Wilcox is expected to get an X-ray later this week which could allow him to return to practice depending on how much his stress fracture in his leg has healed.
Aziz N'Diaye injured his left wrist against Oregon State two weeks ago, an injury Romar called a sprained wrist with a possibly torn ligament. Romar said the injury will likely require a procedure to fix after the season and that it isn't likely to improve much the rest of the season. However, Romar also said he can't injure it any further and that it will just be a pain management issue.
For more on the matchup with Washington State, Romar's entire press conference is located at the top of the page.