TOP OF THE TOWN – A Washington men’s basketball team that has two potential NBA lottery picks is sliding toward the bottom of NCAA Division I. It is now tied with cross-state rival Washington State for last place in the Pac-12 with a 1-3 conference record (11-6 overall) and things don’t look any better with an upcoming schedule that has the Huskies playing home to Oregon State (11-4, 1-2) on Thursday and Oregon (14-3, 3-1) on Saturday and then playing, in order, at Utah (10-4, 1-1), at Colorado (12-3, 1-1) and then at home with Arizona (11-4, 1-1) and Arizona State 10-6, 1-2).  It’s a back-breaking schedule that will either break the Huskies’ season almost before it starts or put them back on track to get a post-season berth. Right now the odds are stacked against the Huskies, who are playing without their point guard, Quade Green, who is academically ineligible won’t be available until winter quarter ends on March 20th. By then, the way the Huskies are playing, they will be out of the post-season so Green’s season d may be over. No question the Huskies miss his 11.6 points per game and his 5.3 assists, along with his 44.7 percent shooting from three.  But the Husky problem goes deeper than Green. Teams have figured out how to limit the inside play of 6-9 freshman Isaiah Stewart with double and triple teams, so the Huskies have to look for scoring elsewhere and right now are not getting that. Jaden McDaniels, the other possible lottery pick with Stewart, is a 6-9 freshman whose immaturity has hurt him on the floor.  He’s played better the last two games, but still has a way to go to have a major impact. The other scorer for the Huskies has been 6-6 junior Nahziah Carter is a human turnover machine that can be counted upon to combine highlight dunks with lowlight charges, bad passes and bad shots all at critical moments in games. Hameir Wright, the other starting forward, is a 6-9 junior that has no shot and is a non-factor on the offensive end. The fifth starter, now that Green is in street clothes, is anybody’s guess. So what was a pre-season promising season has turned into a season nightmare for the Huskies whose superior talent does not equal success. Coach Mike Hopkins, the Pac-12 Coach of the Year his first two seasons as Husky coach, is scratching his head trying to find the spark that will turn this season around. He has hinted that the upperclassman have to step it up. That would be Carter and Wright and to a lesser degree, 6-11 Sam Timmins, the backup center who comes in when Stewart needs a break or is in foul trouble. So it goes. I’m outta here.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

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