Things got more interesting for the Huskies last week, and they'll get more interesting this week.
UW will get to watch as an interested observer on Thursday before getting back into action Saturday in Pullman.
Here are the highlights:
Washington (16-14 overall, 7-10 Pac-10) played well against Stanford and California, but beat only the Bears. That's about as good as it gets on the Bay Area trip, which the Huskies haven't swept since 1985. Even at that, UW finds hope in improved play as the Pac-10 tournament nears.
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON
Sophomore center Joe Wolfinger emerged with 29 points over the two games, including a career-high 17 at Cal. Quincy Pondexter and Justin Dentmon continue to upgrade their games off the bench. At Cal, the Huskies found a way to win despite a limited contribution from Jon Brockman.
SOMETHING TO WORK ON
Well, there's free-throw shooting, which was bad (19-of-37) yet again. Wolfinger's offensive potential is encouraging, but he remains a defensive and rebounding liability. California out-rebounded the Huskies, 38-30. Brockman needs to avoid fouls so he can stay on the floor.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Huskies have the whole week to prepare for their regular-season finale, Saturday at Washington State. The Cougars have won six straight in the series, but UW was competitive in the first game (56-52, WSU) and seems to be playing better now. Justin Holiday (ankle, knee) is expected back.
Washington is assured of a winning regular season, and that might be enough to get into the CBI. UW ranks eighth in the Pac-10 (assuming Oregon beats Oregon State tonight) heading into the final week, but only a half game out of sixth. Seventh would mean Oregon State as the opponent in the Pac-10 opening round. Sixth would mean a bye on the first day of the tournament. Both very inviting incentives.