Cross-posted at Nestor's request:
This was an ugly loss, certainly, but was it any uglier than our late-season loss to $C two years ago or our Pac 10 Tourney loss to Cal last season?
One reason (not excuse) for this loss was that the loss of Luc lined up with U-Dub's strength: rebounding the ball. The one chance the Huskies had to run with us was beating us on the boards. Per Ken Pomeroy's numbers, Luc rebounds 14% of opposition misses and 9% of our own misses; the only players that do better in these categories for us are our centers. Luc is substantially better than Aboya in this respect (amongst many others).
And while some may point to effort in the rebounding deficit, and it may have been a factor on some plays, the fact is we were facing a very good rebounding team, one that has been statistically better than ours this season. Brockman did beat Love sometimes; but other times Love had Brockman boxed out and the ball went too high and far off the rim for Love to reach, allowing Brockman to grab it himself or bat it back to one of his teammates. U-Dub got some bounced, but excels at this part of the game and deserves some credit.
The other big factor, of course, was the performance of Darren Collison on both sides of the ball. While some are saying he lacked effort, I thought it was more related to focus. He was also tentative once he got his fourth foul, and I think Coach Howland was too slow to switch his defensive assignment with Russell Westbrook's; Dentmon's ability to drive and create down the stretch was essential for them to outpace our comeback efforts, and Collison's hands were tied by the foul situation. If Collison plays an even average game (for him), we probably win that game.
So, yes, it's a bad loss, and an ugly one. Effort may have been lacking at certain points. And while there are certainly things to correct and lessons to learn, I don't think this is the end of the world. I think this is still one of the four best teams in America, despite the lack of a consistent outside threat.
I'm loathe to bring up this next point, as I don't want anyone to misunderstand. I am not blaming the officials for this game. But let's not pretend that the officiating wasn't unacceptable, or that it hasn't been in the Pac 10 for some time. I'm not going to run through each of them, but there were at least eight or nine complete WTF calls in the game (against both teams) that jump immediately to my mind -- calls that simply defy all explanation. For what may be the premiere men's basketball conference in the country, this is simply appalling. The complete lack of consistency in what is and isn't a foul, the late whistles, refs far away from a play making calls instead of refs right in front of the play, losing track of whether or not a foul was a shooting foul(!) ... it just seems like there is no end to the ineptitude of our conference's officials. I don't know what can be done about it, but it can be sickening to see the rules so frequently turned into a farce.
And I'd be saying that if we had won, and, hey, if the officials were on their game, maybe we'd have lost by more. But the situation just does not seem to be improving, as far as I can tell.