The Washington basketball team starts their regular season this week. They play a pair of tough games one at home and one on the road.
The Washington basketball team starts their regular season this week playing Western Kentucky in Seattle on November 6 followed by a road game at Auburn University on November 9.
The Huskies start the season ranked #25 in the nation. They are one of the PAC-12 favorites this season along with Oregon. These two games will give us an idea whether they should be the #25 ranked team or higher or not at all. Mike Hopkins enters his second year as the Huskies head coach in what promises to be an exciting 2018-19 season.
The Huskies will be returning their starting five from last year’s team. They will have plenty of experience especially with the zone defense Hopkins brought over from his time as an assistant at Syracuse University under Jim Boeheim.
The three starters at the top of the key are led by Matisse Thybulle, a senior who was the PAC-12, 2017-18 defensive player of the year. He is joined by fellow senior David Crisp and sophomore Jaylen Nowell, who led the Huskies in scoring last season with an average of 16 points-per-game (PPG). The Huskies don’t have a pure point guard so Nowell will be the main man with the ball in his hands.
Starting down low will be the reliable 6′ 11″ junior Sam Timmins out of New Zealand and senior Noah Dickerson who considered leaving for the NBA early but changed his mind. Dickerson averaged 15.5 PPG 8.4 rebounds (RPG) to lead the Huskies.
Tuesday, November 6
Who: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Conference USA) at Washington Huskies
Where: Alaska Airlines Arena
When: 7:30 p.m. PST
According to Brian Rauf from our sister site, bustingbrackets.com, WKU starter Lamonte Bearden will be out of action for academic reasons. Desean Murray, a.k.a little Charles Barkley, was suspended after his arrest for marijuana possession.
Projected starters for the Hilltoppers include sophomore Taveion Hollingsworth last year’s leading scorer with 13.3 PPG. 6’6″ wingman Josh Anderson, known as the team’s top defender and projected NBA first-round pick. Finally, there is Charles Bassey who is 6’10,” 220 pounds. Though he can nail the three-ball but best known for his inside play.
Friday, November 9
Who: Washington Huskies at Auburn Tigers (SEC)
Where: Auburn Arena
When: 6:30 p.m. PST
This will be a tough game for the Huskies not only because playing the Auburn Tigers on the road, but AU is also ranked #11 in the nation. Head coach Bruce Pearl will be starting his fifth season with the Tigers. Last season Auburn was 26-8 overall with a record of 13-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Clemson.
Auburn’s projected starting lineup is junior point guard Jared Harper (13.2 PPG and 5.4 APG in 2017-18), he is joined in the backcourt by 1st team All-SEC, senior guard Bryce Brown (15.9 PPG and 2.0 RPG).
Junior forward Anfernee McLemore averaged 7.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.7 shots blocked per game. He missed the end of last season and the NCAA tournament because of a dislocated ankle, fractured tibia, and torn ligaments against South Carolina on February 17. He is now back to good health.
Rounding out the starting five are center Austin Wiley, and junior forward Danjel Purifoy. Neither played in 2017-18. Sixth-man, sophomore forward Chuma Okeke averaged 7.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG coming off the bench in all 34 games.
These two teams will give the Huskies a tough time and we will see how things shake out for them. This is a good non-league schedule the Huskies can use to get them ready for the PAC-12 schedule.