Coming off a brutal loss to Washington State on Sunday, there are plenty of Chicken Littles proclaiming that the sky if falling for the Washington Huskies
And indeed Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar has already said that his team has not progressed very well over the course of the season while the visiting UCLA Bruins have arguably improved since losing to UW in Los Angeles on the first weekend of the season.
Nevertheless, nobody has called the season yet, the Huskies are still a reasonable candidate for the NCAA tournament, and whether we attribute their struggles to inconsistency or injury, they have a chance to re-establish themselves at home tonight against the Bruins.
Rightfully not dismissing the Huskies, Diamond Leung of ESPN.com gives them the benefit of the doubt by saying that the Bruins would have to "somehow escape" with a win.
Joshua Smith expects tough crowd at UW - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN
It'll all be tested against Washington, which has 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye to counter Smith's size and the capability of ruining his return home.
But if Smith and the Bruins can somehow escape with a win after having lost their previous six games in Seattle, look out for this team that's growing up by the game.
And while UCLA has indeed lost six straight games at Hec Ed, a win is not improbable - UCLA is tied for first in the Pac-10 for a reason.
"UCLA - if you had to pick today - I'd say UCLA was probably playing as well as anyone in this league," Romar told media on Tuesday.
DCBruins of SBN's Bruins Nation is hopeful that the Bruins can pull off a Hec Ed "upset" and the reason he gives could indeed play a big role.
UCLA at Washington Preview: The Seventh Man and Forty Minutes - Bruins Nation
How does the UCLA Bench play tonight because this is a game they will likely play a key role. (Even though Smith does not start, I consider him a starter for this purpose.) Further, Jermie Anderson has been solid off the bench and has become a true sixth man. But the reason I write the seventh man in the headline is because Lamb, Lane and/or Stover may be the key if UCLA is to pull off an upset tonight.
CBH's use of these three has been fascinating. In the one of the last three games each of them has been the seventh man and played over 10 plus minutes while the others have barely played in the other two games. And arguably CBH has done a great job rotating these three.
And depth has certainly started to emerge as a problem for the Huskies, particularly given their style of play - with Abdul Gaddy out for the season and Scott Suggs out the last few games, the Huskies have been playing shorthanded. Against a deeper team that is managing that depth well, it could prove to cause some problems.
The bottom line is that while Suggs is expected back tonight, UW can't afford the rumor about a Darnell Gant injury to be true at this point in the season.