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Huskies Release 2018-19 Non-Conference Basketball Schedule

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The Huskies have an incredibly challenging non-con slate in 2018-19

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Huskies today released their non-conference schedule for the 2018-19 college basketball season. It looks to be a challenging slate with at least four games that should qualify as “Quadrant 1” under the system put in place by the selection committee before last season. Those games include neutral contests in Vancouver against Minnesota and Texas A&M, a game in Atlantic City against Virginia Tech, and road contests at Auburn, and at Gonzaga. That doesn’t include a home game against Western Kentucky that finished 32nd in (the now deceased) RPI last season. 36 of the 40 teams with at least 4 “Quadrant 1” wins last season made the NCAA tournament.

In Jeff Goodman’s most recent Top 25 he had Gonzaga at #4, Auburn at #10, and Virginia Tech at #13. The Huskies should be pretty darn good this year and they’ll certainly get the chance to show it with that murderer’s row. Two of those games represent potential revenge games for UW. The Huskies lost badly to both Gonzaga (by 27) and Virginia Tech (by 24) last season. Both came before the team really started to gel on defense but surely the Dawgs would love to get some payback this year.

If there’s one flaw in the schedule it’s that there isn’t a truly premium home game. One of the last games added to the schedule was a home game against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers will be in contention for the Conference USA title this season and are certainly no pushover. Still, Washington couldn’t find a power conference team willing to play UW at home. In interviews this off season Coach Hopkins expressed frustration with the difficulty of getting teams to fly to Seattle.

The compromise he had to make in that regard was a home-and-home with Auburn that sees the Dawgs fly to Alabama this year before the Tigers return the favor next season. Auburn tied for a share of the SEC title last season and will likely be in the top 4 of the SEC preseason media poll. However, they won’t be at full strength early on due to suspension. On the bright side it means that both the Gonzaga and Auburn games will be at home in 2019-20 making for an exciting home slate. Also, the Vancouver Showcase featuring the games against Santa Clara, Minnesota, and Texas A&M plus the Gonzaga game in Spokane are both within realistic driving distance for Seattle-area fans.

The Huskies have what looks like their best team since 2011 which not coincidentally is the last time they made the NCAA tournament. They return a higher percentage of their minutes and points than any team in the country. That includes 4 seniors (Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson, David Crisp, and Dominic Green), 1 junior (Sam Timmins), and 3 sophomores (Jaylen Nowell, Nahziah Carter, and Hameir Wright). They also add in four freshmen which includes a skilled wing (Jamal Bey), an influx at point guard (Elijah Hardy), and a pair of big men to solidify the depth down low (Bryan Penn-Johnson and Nate Roberts).

This Husky non-conference schedule appears to be the most difficult in recent memory. Unsurprisingly, you may have to go back once again to 2011 to find as difficult a slate. That year the Huskies played in the Maui Invitational and faced #8 Kentucky plus #2 Michigan State as well as a road game versus eventual 7-seed Texas A&M and 4 other teams that finished between 100-150 in KenPom’s rankings. If Washington misses the NCAA tournament this season it won’t be because they didn’t play a tough enough schedule. Coach Hopkins has done everything possible to ensure that Washington gets included on the field. Now it’s up to the team to live up to the expectations.

The complete schedule along with last season’s record and KenPom ranking for each opponent is below.

2018-19 Washington Huskies MBB Non-Conference Schedule

Date Opponent Location Last Year's Record Last Year's KenPom Rank
Date Opponent Location Last Year's Record Last Year's KenPom Rank
Thurs, Nov 1 Seattle Pacific (exhibition) Home 17-12 N/A
Tues, Nov 6 Western Kentucky Home 27-11 47
Fri, Nov 9 Auburn Away 26-8 23
Mon, Nov 12 San Diego Home 20-14 132
Sun, Nov 18 Santa Clara Neutral (Vancouver B.C) 11-20 277
Tues, Nov 20 Texas A&M Neutral (Vancouver B.C) 22-13 29
Wed, Nov 21 Minnesota Neutral (Vancouver B.C) 15-17 117
Tues, Nov 27 Eastern Washington Home 20-15 136
Sun, Dec 2 Santa Barbara Home 23-9 123
Wed, Dec 5 Gonzaga Away 32-5 10
Sun, Dec 9 Seattle U Home 20-14 195
Sat, Dec 15 Virginia Tech Neutral (Atlantic City) 21-12 33
Fri, Dec 21 Sacramento State Home 7-25 285
Tues, Jan 1 Cal State Fullerton Home 20-12 162