For the Huskies (Net Ranking #70), the prospects of an NCAA tournament invite are a long shot (a NCAA bid, only if Washington wins the Pac-12 tournament), however, the more realistic target is eligibility for a WNIT tournament berth.
If the Huskies were to lose their last two regular season games against USC and UCLA, as well as an opening round game of the Pac-12 tournament, their record will be 7-12 in conference and 15-14 overall — beating Stanford earlier this season may still garner Washington a WNIT invite but it would be a close call.
However you weigh it, these final games of the PAC-12 season are most likely WNIT or bust for the Dawgs.
USC is a lockdown defensive team, currently limiting teams to 54.9 points per game, which ranks #15 nationally — 58.9 ppg in Pac-12 play..
The Trojans stifling defense holds Pac-12 opponents to 40.5% shooting overall and 28.2% shooting from three-point range.
Over their last five PAC-12 games, the Huskies are shooting a mediocre 42.9% from two-point range but a (surprisingly) excellent 38.9% from three-point range.
Other areas where the Dawgs are currently excelling over the past 5 games:
(1) UW is averaging 27.0 points per game from bench players, which ranks in the Top 2% nationally;
(2) the Huskies limited their personal fouls to 12.0 per game, which ranks in the Top 1% nationally;
(3) Washington limited their turnovers to 13.8 per game, which ranks in the Top 14% nationally;
(4) UW is averaging 14.4 assists per game, which ranks in the Top 25% nationally; and
(5) UW’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.04 which ranks in the Top 16% nationally.
Significantly, Washington is taking much better care of the ball recently, which will be key against an aggressive defensive team like USC — thus, giving UW a chance at an upset road victory over the Trojans.
UW’s Road to Victory
In order to secure the upset defeat the USC Trojans, the Washington Huskies must
(1) limit Washington’s own turnovers to preferably 10 or less — against USC, Pac-12 opponents average 14.5 turnovers;
(2) generate UW offense inside the paint, preferably around 30 points in-the-paint — over the last 5 games, UW averages 21.6 points in the paint;
(3) take limited three-pointers but convert those shots they do take at a 30% or better rate; and
(4) control the defensive boards to limit the USC offensive rebounds and putbacks — the Trojans grab 17.9 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks in the Top 1% nationally.
If the Huskies do all this, it will be a competitive game and the Huskies could secure a road victory over the Trojans in Los Angeles.