Top-50 Team Countdown: #32.Washington Huskies
The Huskies overachieved last year by being in contention for an at-large bid late in the season and making the NIT, however, in year two under Mike Hopkins the Huskies are expecting to make the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies return all of their top eight players in minutes played from last season, which is added with a recruiting class that has three four-star recruits. All this returning experience has many people suggesting that the Huskies should be the team to beat in the Pac-12, however, it would still be a good season for the Huskies if they just make the NCAA Tournament.
The Huskies have one of the better backcourts in the Pac-12 as they return three players who averaged double figures last season for the Huskies. The Senior in the backcourt is Matisse Thybulle who is a great defensive player for the Huskies, winning Pac-12 defensive player of the year. He is very long and athletic and he does have the ability to step out and shoot when needed. Jaylen Nowell is by far the best offensive player on Washington, last year he put up 16 points per game as a freshman. Point Guard David Crisp brings some experience to this Huskies team, Crisp is acts as a floor-general for the Huskies and does his best to get everyone involved. The Huskies also bring Dominic Green off the bench, a long guard who can shoot the three at a high level. Jamal Bey is a four-star wing who will get minutes as a freshman this season, while fellow freshman Elijah Hardy will act as the backup point guard for the Huskies this season. Nahziah Carter is a wing who appeared in every game last season for the Huskies, however, he is not necessarily guaranteed minutes this season. This backcourt has everything that Washington needs, from defense, to scoring, to shooting, and ball-handling, which makes it one of the better ones in the Pac-12.
The Huskies have s solid front court, which is led largely due to the return of Noah Dickerson. Dickerson is a 6’8” forward, who is a great post-player, while being a good stretch four. His offensive ability combined with his length on the defensive end help make him one of the best players in the conference. Sam Timmons will likely start the season at center in large part due to his experience and ability to anchor their defense in their 2-3 zone. Four-star recruit Bryan Pen-Johnson is a 7 foot center who should play lots of minutes and could take the center job away from Timmons. Hameir Wright is another sophomore who played good minutes as a freshman last season and should continue to get minutes this season. With Dickerson’s offensive ability and the talent and experience alongside him this make this one of the best front courts in the Pac-12.
The Huskies have put together a pretty decent schedule this season, which will help them come NCAA Tournament time if they are on the bubble. The Huskies start the season on November 6th against Western Kentucky and they will play at Auburn on November 9th. The Huskies will play in the Vancouver Showcase against Santa Clara, Texas A&M, and Minnesota November 18th-21st. The Huskies also play at Gonzaga and Virginia Tech in Atlantic City in non-conference play. On January 5th the Huskies will start Pac-12 play against Washington, with it wrapping up on March 9th with a home game against Oregon. The Pac-12 Tournament runs March 13th-16th, with the NCAA Tournament starting March 19th if the Huskies make it there.
What to expect this season
The Huskies this season expect to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Mike Hopkins this season. Look for the Huskies to be competitive in non-conference play, likely going around 10-3 in non-conference play. Once Pac-12 play the Huskies should start to get on a roll. Look for them to go around 12-6 in league play which will get them into the NCAA Tournament. Assuming they make the NCAA Tournament they have the talent to surprise people and win a few games in the NCAA Tournament. All in all this should be a good year for Washington as they prove themselves to be a top-tier program in the Pac-12 once again.
PG: David Crisp
SG: Jaylen Nowell
SF: Matisse Thybulle
PF: Noah Dickerson
C: Sam Timmins
Key Reserves: Dominic Green, Elijah Hardy, Jamal Bey, Nahziah Carter, Hameir Wright, Bryan Penn Johnson
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