March 13, 2011
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE - The Huskies' latest dance will begin in Charlotte.
The Pac-10 tournament champion Huskies (23-10) learned Sunday they have earned a seven seed in their third consecutive NCAA tournament and will play 10th-seeded Georgia (21-11) in the second round Friday in Charlotte, N.C.
The winner of that game will face the winner of Friday's game between second-seeded North Carolina (26-7) and Long Island University (27-5) in the third round on Sunday.
Huskies fans and others around the team had hoped, in a perfect world, to go to the sub-regional sites in Tucson, Ariz., or in Denver. Those are the only two western locales for the tournament's first weekend.
Instead, Washington will travel Tuesday or Wednesday across three time zones, in the bracket next to North Carolina, the regular-season champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Whatever, the Dawgs say.
"Once you get invited to the NCAA tournament, you just go where they send you, and that's the approach we're going to take," coach Lorenzo Romar said at a selection-show party for fans inside the Don James Center at Husky Stadium Sunday afternoon.
"I thought we'd be a seven seed," he said the day after UW won its second consecutive conference title game - last year's earned the Huskies an opening NCAA tournament weekend in San Jose, Calif. "You always like to be closer to home, but when you don't have that luxury you just have to bring it."
Fans interested in purchasing Huskies tickets for March Madness should read the information at the bottom of this story.
This is Washington's 16th NCAA tournament appearance, and sixth in Romar's nine seasons as UW's coach.
The Huskies have never faced Georgia (21-11), which finished third in the Southeastern Conference's East division in the regular season. The Bulldogs have beaten tournament teams UAB and Kentucky this season. They are coached by former UW assistant Mark Fox. Georgia's leading scorer is 6-foot-10 forward Trey Thompkins, who averages 16.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Thomas knows Thompkins from playing with him in AAU leagues and summer camps. Romar knows enough about Georgia to know Thompkins is "a tremendous, tremendous player" who can shoot from outside and be physical inside.
But, as Romar later said while noting NCAA tournament games are often more physical and called more loosely than in the regular season, "Our guys don't mind that at all."
The coach and his staff are going to be balancing the day they travel and the amount they give the players each day to study on Georgia with the fact this is UW's final-exams week for winter quarter.
Washington is in the tough East region, where the top four seeds are overall tournament No. 1 Ohio State, then North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky.
UW's madness began in Los Angeles. The wild rally past Washington State in Thursday's Pac-10 quarterfinals. The rout of another rival, Oregon, in Friday's semifinals. Then Isaiah Thomas' "cold-blooded" shot Saturday that won the title.
Washington earned the Pac-10's automatic berth into the tournament in the most dramatic way imaginable Saturday in Los Angeles. The resilient, third-seeded Dawgs rallied from four points down to top-seeded Arizona with 26 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the game into overtime on a 3-point shot by C.J. Wilcox. Thomas then won the game and the conference title with a fade-away 18-footer as time expired in the extra period.
On the flight home, players took turns playfully hugging members of the Husky band and posing for pictures in the aisle of the team's commercial jet on the flight back from winning another Pac-10 tournament championship. They kept watching and reacting joyously to Thomas' winning shot -- co-captain Justin Holiday estimated they watched it on the flight "at least 10 times."
Inside the terminal of SeaTac Airport, at midnight on a rainy Saturday night, about a half-dozen fans wearing UW gear cheering the Huskies as they exited the secured concourse. One greeted Thomas, the Pac-10 tournament's most outstanding player, with a high five and a hug, which the gracious - and exhausted -- point guard returned.
Thomas, who set the league's tournament record with 30 assists in three games, missed all the fun on the plane home. He played 123½ of a possible 125 minutes over the three days in Los Angeles.
"I was asleep," he said, laughing. "I'm good now though. I slept until 1 o'clock."
The following information is from the Husky Ticket Office on the purchase of tickets for the NCAA tournament:
UW's NCAA Tournament tickets are first reserved for men's basketball season-ticket holders through Monday each week of the tournament. They are being notified by email today, Sunday March 13th, about online ordering instructions for first- and second-round games.
Tickets to all rounds of the tournament will be allocated based on Tyee Club men's basketball rank in the following priority order (with ticket limits):
Tyee Club Rank 1-300 - 4 ticket maximum
Tyee Club Rank 300-1800 - 2 ticket maximum
Non-Tyee Club Season Ticket Holders - 2 ticket maximum (ranked by consecutive years of season ticket purchase)
The deadline for requesting NCAA first- and second-round tickets is Monday, March 14th at 4:30pm. Pacific time. Ticket requests are not guaranteed, and ticket confirmations will be sent by email in the evening of March 14th.
If tickets remain available after the priority deadline, they will be opened up for sale to the general public on Tuesday, March 15th at 8:30 am. The general public ticket limit will be four.
The Husky Ticket Office is beginning to accept NCAA ticket requests upon the completion of the NCAA Selection Show today, Sunday March 13th. Ticket requests will also be taken by phone at (206) 543-2200 and in person at the Husky Ticket Office at 3910 Montlake Blvd., NE, Seattle, WA 98195. Hours for phone service are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 14th. Ticket office hours for in-person service are 8:30-5:00.
A credit card is required for NCAA Tournament ticket purchases. If your order is fulfilled, there are no refunds or cancellations. Unfulfilled orders will be issued a full refund.
NCAA tickets must be picked up at the venue will call on game day only. Will-call tickets will only be released to the account holder, unless a different will-call name is provided at the time of the ticket request. Picture identification is required for the release of tickets. Will-call location and operating hours will be provided in the ticket order confirmation email on Monday evening.