A week after a tough game against Tennessee, the last two games gave the Huskies a chance to regroup against lesser opposition. The Friday night match-up with Montana showed more of the same problems that UW exhibited in the Vols loss- lots of turnovers, poor shooting, and an overall struggle to score points when not playing through Isaiah Stewart. Still, UW’s length and defensive prowess were enough to pull away and win by 17 in a game that will probably be remembered most for the enormous volume of whistles. The win over San Diego on Sunday was only greater by two in the margin of victory, but it was a different road to get there. Quade Green set up other Dawgs for easy scoring opportunities, Jaden McDaniels put the ball in the basket, Naz Carter continued his strong start, and even Hameir Wright made some outside shots.
The next week will probably look much like the last one. The Dawgs take a break over Thanksgiving, then play middling teams next Monday and Wednesday at Hec Ed. South Dakota comes to town first. At 128, the Coyotes rate a little better in Ken Pom than Montana or USD. They have got off to a red hot start from three-point range (48% as a team), but they’re due to come back to Earth. Stretch center Tyler Hagedorn has shot 40% from distance for his career, but he’s a remarkable 16/21 (76%) so far this season. Eastern Washington will come to Seattle next. The Eagles haven’t been very impressive either offensively or defensively, as evidenced by their failure to beat any team ranked in the top 200. They rank very low in defensive FTA/FGA, meaning they send their opponents to the line constantly, so get ready for more of the same.
I wrote last week that the conference was in the process of rewriting the narrative about poor performances against lesser non-conference opponents. A lot of that good work went down the tubes in one day. As a whole, the conference went 2-4 on Thursday including Utah losing to Coastal Carolina (who is decent), WSU losing to Nebraska-Omaha (who is not), Cal losing to Duke (who is tremendous), and UCLA losing to Hofstra (who is not). There was some degree of bounce-back over the weekend. Oregon beat a solid Houston squad, ASU beat Saint John’s, and then the Devils pushed defending champs Virginia to the limit before losing 48-45.
Coming off a bad loss against Hofstra UCLA failed in their first game in Maui against BYU and were punished by getting a downside only 2nd round game against Chaminade. Now they’ll need to beat preseason #1 Michigan State in order to avoid a weekend with 0 wins against D1 competition . Likewise, Oregon faces Seton Hall in the first round of the horribly named Battle 4 Atlantis. Gonzaga would be their likely second-round opponent. If that match-up goes down, it would mean Gonzaga would play Oregon, Arizona, and Washington before starting WCC play, which is one way to off-set the strength of schedule issues come tourney time. The loaded field for that tournament also includes Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa State, and Alabama, so Oregon is in line for a couple challenges, even if they can’t beat Seton Hall.
There was a paragraph here about Duke winning the Empire 2k Classic at MSG last night. But then this happened. College basketball is the best.
NO. 1 DUKE FALLS TO STEPHEN F. AUSTIN IN A STUNNING ENDING pic.twitter.com/x6xsdesWkL— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 27, 2019
As noted above, many of the top teams could collide in pre-season tournaments if seedings hold in the early round. One team who will have a chance to prove itself is Maryland, who has trounced lesser competition thus far. The Terps have the 9th highest continuity of minutes played from last year to this year, but they have also been able to work in a very good recruiting class. Sophomore Jalen Smith was a 5-star recruit who played well as a freshman, but with front-court mate Bruno Fernando now in the NBA, Smith has taken a step forward. Senior Anthony Cowan is a PG who can distribute and shoot from the outside. Sophomore Aaron Wiggins was another touted recruit and has been a versatile force who is disruptive defensively (2.4 SPG). Freshman Makhi Mitchell was another high-end recruit who has played sparingly, but has been very good in the minutes he has seen. So far, Maryland’s only top-100 opponent has been Rhode Island, but nobody has even finished within 15 of them. This week, they play in the Orlando Invitational, which could offer them better competition. They open against Temple, and could face the likes of Texas A&M, Harvard, USC, and/or Marquette along the way depending on how the bracket breaks. Michigan State and Ohio State have been outstanding so far, but Maryland has a chance to win the Big 10 and a strong performance this week would get them off on the right foot.
Worst Pac Loss Last Week?
This poll is closed
Utah vs. Costal Carolina, 79-57 (neutral site)
WSU vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 85-77
UCLA vs. Hofstra, 88-78
Utah vs. Tulane, 65-61 (neutral site)