Washington Huskies (15-4)
- Head Coach: Mike Hopkins (2nd Season)
- Top Performer: Jaylen Nowell (16.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG)
- Points For: 72.0 PPG (T-219th)
- Points Against: 64.5 PPG (30th)
- Last Game/Streak: 61-56 win v. Oregon (8W)
Just two years into the Mike Hopkins regime, the Huskies have risen to the top of the Pac-12 Coference.
Last year Hopkins took a team that had been 9-22 the year before to the second round of the NIT, finishing with a 21-13 record. This year, they’ve taken another big step forward, and the conference is their’s for the taking.
The Huskies have recruited strong, and the dividends are finally starting to show up. Jaylen Nowell, who ESPN rated the 59th best recruit in the nation before he joined Washington, and led the team in scoring in his Freshman year. He’s doing the same thing this year, but has added some dimension to his game.
Nowell is a threat from anywhere on the court, and on Thursday hit a big 3 (with a dubious foul) to get the win over Oregon. Nowell is .419 as a three point shooter, and .515 as a field goal shooter overall. His shot selection has improved markedly from last season.
He’s helped in that regard by the emergence of Noah Dickerson as a major scoring threat for the Huskies. With Dickerson, who is averaging 13.1 points per game, in the post opposing defenses often have to double team him, leaving space for Nowell and PG David Crisp to work with.
Player to Watch
Matisse Thybulle (Senior) While the offense is humming, the thing that has allowed this team to take the next step forward is the emergence of its defense. Matisse Thybulle may be the best defender in the country. So far this season he’s at 52 steals and 43 blocks. Thybulle facing off against Kylor Kelley is going to be one of the most interesting match-ups to watch this weekend.
Washington hasn’t been beaten in the conference yet, but that doesn’t mean they look unbeatable. Oregon came close to taking them down, when a slow start from Washington was saved by Nowell’s late game heroics. They keys for Oregon State are going to be Kelley controlling the post, so that the Thompson brothers can crack down on Washington’s scoring from the perimeter.
This is going to be one of the biggest games for the Beavers this season, so get down to Gill and cheer the team on.
- Date: Saturday, January 26th
- Time: 1:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network