Oregon v. Washington: Apathy, excitement, revenge, and Prom

I wrote an excitable little number about Arizona playing in the NIT and how Wildcat Nation and I needed to get into it. That worked.

Arizona promptly lost as I apathetically got drunk alone. So much for taking my own advice. And what’s more, I’ve found it difficult to follow the National Invitational, gaining a whole new perspective on why it’s considered a damning invite.

But if you manage to filter through all of the (deserved) Kyle O’Quinn parables, glass shoe fittings for teams from Athens to Raleigh, Hummel hyperbole, and musings on the meaningfulness of Kendall Marshall, you’d notice that Oregon and Washington will be squaring off in the NIT.

I knew it was a possibility when I reluctantly first looked at the undersized bracket but now it’s come to fruition and I’m oddly fascinated while simultaneously at a loss for what to make of it.

I figured Washington would be waving the white flag soon after Selection Sunday. Let’s liken it to Prom. You’re going all in, inviting the most popular girl in school who’s already moved past flavored vodka and is on to Manhattans and college dudes (which, as we gain life perspective, allows us to realize that she’s really just moved on to bigger losers) to accompany you as your date. Her response resembles a confidence and charm you’ve only seen portrayed by adults playing teens in movies as she says, “Oh sweetheart! I’d be flattered to go with you but I’m already going with Steel Thompson from [opposing high school].” At which point you’re utterly defeated by the swift rejection; embarrassed at your ill-conceived presumption that she’d say “yes” just because the two of you had talked about an AP test at a party; fearful of your social fall out; but all the while grasping to a sliver of pride for what you in fact just did.

Yeah, that about sums up Washington’s feelers following their Pac-12 championship and subsequent dance snubbing.

And so now – following a pair of anything-but-impressive-but-wins-nonetheless against UT-Arlington and Northwestern – the Huskies are one win away from Madison Square Garden, the NIT’s holy land.

To get to said holy land, Washington will be hosting the Oregon Ducks, who we can also fit into our Prom analogy. They kinda wanted to go but didn’t have the nerve to ask anyone or looks to have a cute girl’s friend tell them to ask her and are ultimately pretty content just getting drunk at the after party and being the most fun person there.

The Ducks have come into this whole NIT thing looking to win; as evidence by their dismantling of LSU (sweet football revenge!) and a high scoring victory over Iowa – a box score that led me to believe maybe the NIT is something of a non-All-Star game in which defense is dismissed?

Alas, we find ourselves with two squads arriving at the same NIT quarters on two very different hikes.

For all of the aforementioned Husky apathy, I could see a fire being lit under a collective ass and them taking the Ducks to the woodshed. In their last meeting, Oregon obliterated and embarrassed the Huskies 82-57 and my non-insider perspective says LoRo and Co weren’t too happy about it. Just a guess. Of course the Ducks can stake claim to that 25-point thrashing and should come in to HecEd as confident as anyone.

So who’s it going to be? The Prom reject or the Prom passer? Dogs? Ducks?

Woof, woof! Quack, quack! Tuesday, 6pm, ESPN.

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