The Washington Huskies basketball team is one of the most successful college basketball programs in the Northwest. The Huskies success on the hardwood dates back to the early 1920’s, when the team won 4 conference championships, and brought 10 conference titles back to Seattle before the first NCAA Tournament was even played. This success early in the history of the Washington Huskies basketball program, placed them as one of the powers in the early years of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies first played in the Big Dance in 1943, losing a hard fought game against the Texas Longhorns 59-55. Washington would return to the NCAA Tournament 5 years later, once again falling in the opening round of the Tournament.
The Washington Huskies first win in the NCAA Tournament would come in 1951, when the Huskies took down Texas A&M with a 62-50 score. The win put Washington into their first ever Elite 8, and boosted confidence in the programs ability to win big games in the NCAA Tournament. Two years later, Washington would return to the NCAA Tournament and have one of their best runs in the history of the program. The Huskies took down regional rival Seattle in the 2nd round of the Tournament, before posting a 12 point trashing of Santa Clara in the regional final. Washington would advance to their first ever Final 4, losing to the Kansas Jayhawks. The Huskies would defeat LSU in the 3rd place game, to post their first ever 3 win NCAA Tournament.
Despite the major success in the 1953 NCAA Tournament, UW would not have reach the NCAA Tournament again until 1976, and would not be a consistent presence in March again until the 1980’s, when the team posted a school record for 3 consecutive trips to the Big Dance in 1984, 1985, and 1986. The hiring of head coach Lorenzo Romar in 2002 boosted the Huskies to a level that they had not experienced in decades. Washington would reach the Sweet 16 in back to back years in 2005 and 2006, winning 29 games in the 2005 season. After a 2 year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament Washington returned to their winning ways, reaching the NCAA Second Round in 2009, and the Sweet 16 again in 2011.