Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Washington Leaves New York Winless, But Optimistic
NEW YORK –– The Washington Huskies will leave here having gone 0-2 during their stay in the Big Apple and facing a question mark about one of their key players going forward.
Yet they remain optimistic they can compete for a Pac-12 title.
“We’ve lost some tough ballgames and I think we’ve learned a lot of things about ourselves, mainly that we can compete at a high level,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar told SNY.tv after No. 5 Duke beat the Huskies, 86-80, at Madison Square Garden.
“I think we’ll take this experience and take it back home and be confident that we can go out and play and be real competitive.”
Just how competitive they can be could depend on the fate of 7-footer Aziz N’Diaye, who suffered a sprained knee landing on a soaring dunk early in the second half.
“We won’t know until Monday,” Romar said of N’Diaye.
Freshman guard Tony Wroten had a brilliant game for the Huskies, scoring a career-high 23 points before fouling out.
According to Washington’s Website, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Wroten, “You played a great game. That was a hell of a game. We can’t keep you in front of us.”
Washington is now 4-4 and riding a three-game losing streak, but they lost those three games — to Nevada, Marquette (at MSG) and Duke — by a combined 11 points.
“I feel like we have seen the two best teams we’re going to see this season, before the NCAA tournament,” guard C.J. Wilcox said of the two games in New York. “We know where we need to be, and that we can compete with anybody.”
Pac-12 teams dropped to 0-12 against ranked teams with the loss, and not a single Pac-12 team is ranked in the Top 25.
So with the league’s collective struggles, do the Huskies feel they can make a run for the league crown?
“No, not really because if you’re talking to them [the other teams], you can say the same things about us,” Romar said. “So if we can say it, they can say it.
“Everybody feels like we’re going to be better. Regardless of what’s going on around us, we have to take care of our business. And if we do that we should be fine.”
In the wide-open Pac-12, they could be more than fine.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.