#13 Washington Huskies (11-0) vs. Stony Brook Seawolves (7-6), 5:00pm December 28th, Pac-12 Networks.
After a tougher-than-anticipated (by me, at least) 66-57 victory over Tulane, the Huskies are only one game away from the beginning of the conference schedule. If they can come away with a victory, it will mean starting Pac-12 play undefeated at 12-0. Washington is already the last undefeated team remaining in the conference.
The Seawolves stand a game over .500 after a very inconsistent first two months. They opened up the year by beating Columbia, then lost to Georgia and Hofstra. Next four straight victories followed by four straight losses, and finally two consecutive wins over Loyola (MD) and American University.
While the swings in play may seem almost random, it turns out Stony Brook has won all seven home/neutral games and lost all six road contests. As the toughest road opponent on the entire Stony Brook schedule, this bodes well for Washington.
Likely Starting Five: G Carson Puriefoy (Jr., 6-0, 175), Bryan Sekunda (Fr., 6-6, 195), G Roland Nyama (RSFr., 6-6, 210), F Rayshaun McGrew (Jr., 6-7, 230), F Jameel Warney (Jr., 6-8, 255).
Two players jump off the stat sheet. Puriefoy runs the point and leads the team in points (15.2) and assists (3.4). His shooting (40% from the field, 30% from deep) has been a little lackluster, and the turnovers (2.8) have been less than ideal.
The true MVP thus far seems to be Jameel Warney. The 6-8 big man has averaged a robust double-double (14.9 points, 12.8 rebounds) to go with 2.6 blocks per game. From Washington's point of view, it is probably preferable to have an opponent's best player at the five, where he'll square off with Robert Upshaw.
McGrew averages 8.4ppg and 6.7rpg in over 24 minutes. Nyama contributes just under 8.0ppg and shoots 33% from three-point land.
Sekunda will start, but Kameron Mitchell (So., 6-4, 175) may end up logging more minutes coming off the bench. Neither player has averaged even 4.0ppg, though both have shot greater than 40% from beyond the arc.
If there is one thing that this team does very well as a unit, it is rebounding the basketball. Stony Brook ranks 4th in the nation in total rebounding percentage (58), 10th in offensive rebounding % (41.3), and 13th in defensive rebounding % (75.3).
It follows that these stellar numbers may not hold up against Washington's tall, long front court, but UW's rebounding numbers are actually fairly underwhelming. Upshaw is prone to ball watching to the point that he fails to block out, while Kemp and Jarreau are not particularly skilled rebounders.
If the Seawolves are to play a competitive game, they will need to bring the energy and crash the boards from the very beginning. In almost every other aspect of the game, from raw size to shooting to passing to defending, the Huskies appear to be the superior team.
Washington did come out flat against Tulane, but I suspect that had a lot to do with the insanely short turnover between the Oklahoma game in Las Vegas on Sunday and that contest on Tuesday. To see another flat performance would be mildly concerning so close to Pac-12 road games, but I expect a few days rest will have the Huskies primed for a complete performance.
Washington 75, Stony Brook 58