How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Thursday, 11/18/21
Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Seattle, Washington
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -1.5
Wyoming 2021-22 Statistics:
Record: 2-0 (wins vs. Detroit Mercy and Arkansas Pine Bluff)
Points For per Game: 85.0 ppg
Points Against per Game: 46.0 ppg
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 102.4 (122nd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 100.4 (190th)
Strength of Schedule: 347th
Wyoming Cowboys Key Players:
G-Hunter Maldonado, Sr. 6’7, 203: 17.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.5 apg, 61.9% FG, 0.0% 3pt, 75.0% FT
There’s a good chance Maldonado is on the short list of best college players you’ve never heard of before. For his career he’s averaging 12/5/3 and that includes a freshman season when he came off the bench and dilutes those numbers. He’s not a 3-pt threat (28% career) but has great size for a primary ball handler and shouldn’t have a problem seeing and passing over Washington’s press defense.
G- Xavier DuSell, So. 6’4, 190: 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, 38.5% FG, 40.0% 3pt, 0.0% FT
Picture in your mind the way a 3-pt specialist plays like in your mind and it’s probably DuSell. Almost 75% of his shot attempts are from behind the arc and he has made 45.2% of them for his career. He’s not going to do much else on the court but he can definitely make UW play if left open from deep.
G- Drake Jeffries, Sr. 6’5, 186: 11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, 77.8% FG, 77.8% 3pt, 50.0% FT
DuSell is a good shooter but Jeffries is off to a supernova shot. He has attempted 9 field goals, all of them have been from 3-pt range, and he has made 7 of them. That’s not out of character for Jeffries as more than 90% of his career shots have been 3-pointers. I’ve been writing these previews for 5 years and now and I’ve never seen a percentage that skewed over more than a few games. Last year he made 36.9% of his deep shots so while he’s a good shooter it’s likely that things even out at some point sooner than later.
F- Jeremiah Oden, Sr. 6’8, 201: 15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 86.7% FG, 66.7% 3pt, 100.0% FT
Last season Oden averaged 4 points per game so he has taken a major step up as a senior. Again, there’s no way his totals are sustainable since he has made 13/15 shots. His block rate is also more than triple what it was last year so that probably says more about the strength of schedule than true skill level. But maybe he’s just a late bloomer.
F- Graham Ike, So. 6’9, 252: 21.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 57.7% FG, 68.4% FT
As of the time of this writing, Ike leads the nation in percentage of possessions used while on the court at 41.4%. Considering he’s a ball dominant scoring center he does actually pass the ball occasionally and might be effective if he gets the ball in the middle of the UW zone. Ike has been a monster in the paint averaging 10.2 fouls drawn per game as he has overwhelmed opposing centers so far. This may be a night when Jackson Grant and Langston Wilson are needed to play big minutes with Nate Roberts getting in early foul trouble.
Games like this one are so hard to scout. If you look at the raw statistics then Wyoming is one of the best programs in the country. They are top-10 nationally in effective field goal percentage on both offense and defense. 3 different Cowboys average at least 15 points per game and the other 2 starters have combined to shoot better than 50% from 3-pt range.
Then you look at the strength of schedule. Detroit Mercy isn’t a truly terrible mid-major. They’ve got Antoine Davis who has averaged 24+ points per game each of the past 3 seasons. Wyoming beat them by 38 at home. Then they played Arkansas Pine Bluff which...okay they may be one of the worst programs in the country (the last time they finished better than 275th at KenPom was 2010). Still, Wyoming beat them by 40. If you consistently obliterate bad teams then it probably means you’re at the very least pretty good.
Wyoming has historically been a pretty solid Mountain West program. Things fell off in 2019/20 leading to a coaching change but other than those 2 seasons the Cowboys have finished between 90th and 166th in KenPom every year. That roughly corresponds with teams that finish between 8th-12th in the Pac-12. We’ll find out exactly how good this Wyoming squad is but no matter what they should definitely be the best team Washington has faced so far this season.
Last season Wyoming was extremely intentional about getting up as many 3-point attempts as possible while limiting opponents’ long range shots. They took the 9th most 3’s in the country and gave up the 18th fewest attempts while on defense. The splits are nowhere near as extreme this season but I think we can expect that is a result of opponent/sample size and Wyoming would prefer to get back to the way they were last year, especially against a team where they’ll finally have an athleticism disadvantage.
On the offensive end for Washington that may actually be a good thing. The Huskies are shooting 26.4% from deep so far and if Wyoming is going to close out aggressively or play extremely tight coverage on the perimeter then it honestly works in UW’s favor. It’s an ideal circumstance if the Dawgs take fewer 3’s so Wyoming may shoot themselves in the foot if that’s how they decide to play.
On the other hand it’s clear that Washington is still working out the rotations and building chemistry in the zone which has occasionally resulted in shooters getting wide open. That can’t happen with a pair like DuSell and Jeffries on the opposing team or they will kill the Huskies from deep. If though Wyoming decides to keep shooting contested 3’s with Washington’s length in their business then it’s going to require some lucky shooting to keep pace.
Washington is 0-3 against the spread so far this season while Wyoming is 2-0. Given that the Huskies are only slight favorites to begin with that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. This has to be the most complete effort of the season if Washington wants to not just win this one but also not have it come down to the final minutes. I’m going to need to see it first to buy in at this point. The Huskies will fight hard all game but they’ll need more than that tonight.
Washington Huskies- 68, Wyoming Cowboys- 71