Washington Huskies Wins Pac-10, Will Face Marquette In NCAA Tournament

March 15th, 2010 – By John Ritter

It is of the opinion in some circles that conference championships are relatively meaningless, and some what pointless.

But it’s hard to argue with what the Pac-10 tournament has done for Washington. A bubble team on Monday, the Huskies completely rewrote their future on Saturday with a 79-75 win over top-seeded California, and now won’t have to sweat out Selection Sunday. Washington is in after winning seven-straight games to end the season, and couldn’t be any happier after a terrific run through the conference tournament.

“What a college basketball game,” head coach Lorenzo Romar told the Associated Press. “It was obvious something was on the line for both teams. I couldn’t be happier to see these guys experience a championship-type situation.”

It was a dazzling game that saw the lead teeter back-and-fourth, a welcomed surprise after a forgettable tournament filled with blowouts and mistakes. Quincy Poindexter led the charge for Washigton with 18 points, and Isaiah Thomas added another 16. Venoy Overton had the honors of icing it with 2.1 seconds remaining, nailing two free throws to keep the lead out of reach.

“We’re going to be able to sleep tonight — finally, man,” Poindexter told the AP. “There’s so many questions that come about, but we told each other that if we take care of business, we don’t need a committee to tell us if we’re good enough.”

Certainly not. The Huskies stormed to a lead early in the game, and were ahead 61-52 midway through the second half. And after the Bears reclaimed a five-point lead on a Washington shooting drought, the game again flipped with a 12-2 run by the Huskies. It gave the underdogs another big lead, which wouldn’t be recovered by Cal.

The Bears were down three when Jerome Randle received two foul shots with 4.4 seconds left. After sinking the first, he intentionally missed the second to enable a rebound, but a Cal player was flagged for a lane violation, which gave the Huskies the ball.

“I thought we were in position,” Bears’ head coach Mike Montgomery said. “I thought Jamal had it. It’s rare that an official would call a violation, so you just have to beat them to the middle.”

“We only have one way to react, and that’s to get back to work,” Theo Robertson, who led the team with 25 points, added. “We can’t dwell on this loss. As much as we wanted to come out here and have a better performance and win the championship, there’s a new season that’s going to take place.”

Washington wasn’t a guarantee to make the tournament, but must now prepare to face Marquette. By drawing the 11th seed in their bracket, the Huskies were bound to face a decent team from a major conference. As it stands now, the Huskies are 1 1/2 point underdogs according to betting lines for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Despite being underdogs, winning with it’s back against the wall as a bubble team is something that gives the Huskies plenty of confidence heading into the Big Dance.

“The anxiety that you may have as a team knowing you’re one-and-done is something that’s been going on with our team for a while,” Romar said. “We did get a lot of experience, a lot of practice in playing one-and-done games.”

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