By "open path," I mean playing a pair of teams they went a combined 4-0 against in the regular season.
By "open path," I mean avoiding the bracket with match-up problem Cal.
By "open path" I mean avoiding those brutal 8:30 p.m. starts that often turn into brutal 8:45 p.m. starts.
As you can see, the Huskies begin at 2:30 Thursday against the winner of the Wednesday game between Oregon State and Stanford. And the Huskies swept both the Beavers and Cardinal during the regular season.
If the Huskies advance to the semis on Friday, they would be paired against the Arizona-Arizona State winner. Again, in terms of matchups, I think the Huskies should be rooting for the Sun Devils -- who they swept -- over the Wildcats -- with whom they split. And the odds are that's the way it will work out, because ASU swept its two regular season games against UA -- four straight overall, in fact.
If UW gets to the title game, they would most likely face either UCLA or Cal -- teams they went a combined 1-3 against. But there's really no easy path to a Pac-10 championship, and if you get to the title game you just roll up your sleeves and go to work.
In any case, the Huskies say they want to do it -- that it won't be hard to put the regular season title behind them and shoot for the tournament title, too.
"Oh, it's going to be easy," Quincy Pondexter said. "I think our team, we really feel our backs against the wall because people don't respect us as much as they should. I think coming into next week, we're going to be really focused for practice and our next goal is to win the Pac-10 tournament championship."
And an interesting question becomes just how high the Huskies might climb if they do that. They would be regular-season and tournament champions of the best conference in the West. They would have a 27-7 overall record and 17-4 in league play. They would have won nine of their last 10 games.
I can't imagine that wouldn't be worth a No. 2 seed.