#16 Washington (10-0) vs. Tulane (9-1), 8:00pm Monday, Pac-12 Networks.
Only two days removed from a nail-biting 69-67 win against #15 Oklahoma in Las Vegas, the Huskies will play Tulane within the friendly confines of HecEd.
Tulane has played an extremely weak schedule, but you can hardly fault a team for going 9-1 against the teams scheduled for it.
The lone loss came in the season-opener against Wake Forest (5-6) by margin of 22 points. Since that first game, the Green Wave have run off nine straight, often by 15+ points. None of these nine teams rate in the top-100 in RPI.
After running through the last several opponents, this is Tulane's chance to make national noise.
Likely Starting Five: PG Jonathan Stark (So., 6-0, 170), G Louis Dabney (Jr., 6-3, 210), G Jay Hook (Sr., 6-4, 180), F Tre Drye (Sr., 6-6, 225), C Ryan Smith (So., 6-11, 250).
Jonathan Stark will run the point. He averages 3.9apg compared to 2.5 turnovers. He chips in 11.4 ppg on 46% shooting from the field, but only 23% from deep.
Dabney leads the team with 13.1ppg, and he is shooting a healthy 47% from beyond the arc, while Hook is right behind him at 12.1ppg and 38% from three-point range. Hook also leads the team in rebounding (5.0rpg) despite standing 6-4.
Drye stands out as a severely undersized four man that will have to contend with Shawn Kemp Jr. down low. He averages a modest 5.9ppg while converting over 65% of his shots.
Smith typically starts the game, but he averages only 12 minutes per game along with 2.8ppg and 2.9rpg. F Payton Henson (So., 6-8, 215) is typically first off the bench. Henson averages almost 20 minutes along with 8.2ppg and 4.6rpg.
Along with Henson, C Dylan Osetkowski (Fr., 6-9, 255) and G Kajon Mack (So., 6-3, 185) make up the core of the rotation.
This is a well-balanced, efficient offensive team. No one player dominates the ball or the shot attempts, and the team as a whole has shot 48% from the field (36th in the nation).
That being said, the Huskies have held opposing teams to 33% shooting (5th in the nation), and the quality of Washington's opponents has been significantly higher.
While I'm sure you're tired of hearing me say this, size will once again be a critical factor.
Drye is starting in the post at 6-6. Smith is 6-11 and 250-pounds, but he is also 9th on the team in minutes and has not been all that impactful when on the floor. He may sub out for the first time right around the moment Upshaw checks in, assuming Tulane's rotation remains unchanged.
If Tulane allows Drye to share the floor with Henson or even Osetkowski at the five, denying the lob to Upshaw or Kemp will be next to impossible. Meanwhile, NWG will have four inches on Stark.
Tulane is a solid team that will, of course, require Washington's full attention. If the Huskies come out tired and complacent after a taxing trip to Las Vegas only two days ago, all bets are off.
But assuming the Huskies continue to play roughly the same level of basketball that we've seen over the past few weeks, this should not be a difficult match-up.
We know roughly what to expect out of Upshaw, Andrews, and NWG, but I'm fascinated to see what kind of game Jernard Jarreau can have against Tulane at home after playing his best game of the season (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists) in a tougher setting against a tougher team.
Both Jarreau and Mike Anderson scored in double-digits on Sunday. Consistent offensive contribution from those two would be invaluable come conference play.
More than anything, this game will be a test of Washington's focus. After ten straight wins, I'll give the Huskies the benefit of the doubt.
Washington 79, Tulane 61