It’s very rare you see an exhibition game this early in the preseason, but Washington got the Pac-12 exhibition slate kicked off Wednesday night with a contest against Division II Western Washington. Unless you were on campus, there was no way to watch it, so there isn’t much to take away from the game recap on how players are developing. As a result, the big headline from the game is how close Western Washington kept the game, coming back from 13 down in the second half to tie it up on three separate occasions in the final 10 minutes before the Huskies finally got some separation and won the game, 88-78. Some around the country might be thinking “oh, there goes that Pac-12 again with its mid-major-level basketball. If the defending conference regular-season champion can barely beat a D-II school, how bad can the Huskies and the rest of the Pac-12 be?”
Although Washington fans would have much more preferred a blowout than a nail-biter, the closeness of the game means absolutely nothing and it would be cruel and unfair to prognosticate the fate of the Huskies based on this exhibition. For starters, Washington is transitioning to a high-post offense. At least for this year, gone are the days of freaky-athletic and quick guards like Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas and Tony Wroten. Not that Lorenzo Romar is planning on slowing it down this year (mentioned in the previous link), but the personnel for 2012-13 is more suited for this kind of half-court look. While Romar used primarily high-post sets when he was coaching at Pepperdine and Saint Louis, it’s going to take these players time to adjust to the new style of play (December is Romar’s target date for a well-oiled high-post offense).