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Winthrop Game Preview & How to Watch

The Huskies return home after a 2-1 Crossover Classic

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Grace Hollars/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Saturday, 11/27/21

Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Washington

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570

Location: Seattle, Washington

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -5

Winthrop 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 1-3 against D1 competition

Points For per Game: 75.5 ppg (84th)

Points Against per Game: 82.5ppg (329th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 101.2 (162nd)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (198th)

Strength of Schedule: 75th

Winthrop Eagles Key Players:

G-Russell Jones, Jr. 5’8, 175: 10.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 55.9% FG, 64.7% 3pt, 55.6% FT

Winthrop’s jitterbug is the 5’8 Jones who has been phenomenally efficient so far this season. He was a career 34% 3-pt shooter over the last 2 seasons so there’s no way he keeps up his 11 for 17 start from the 3-pt line. He’s in the top-100 nationally in assist rate with a better than 2.5 to 1 assist to turnover ratio so he’s got very good point guard skills in addition to the shooting.

G- Patrick Good, Sr. 6’0, 175: 15.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.6 apg, 55.1% FG, 48.8% 3pt, 42.9% FT

Love it when a player’s last name describes their game. Bizarrely, Good is one of 3 Winthrop key contributors shooting better from 3-pt range than from the free throw line. The transfer from East Tennessee State had a career high 10.4 ppg there so we’ll see if he can keep up this kind of scoring punch. 87% of his career shots are from behind the arc so he’s almost exclusively a 3-pt sniper (on 8+ attempts per game) although he has made all of his 2-pt attempts this year as well. Expect him to bomb away against the Huskies.

G- Michael Anumba, Sr. 6’4. 220: 7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 37.5% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 86.7% FT

There’s no question that Anumba is more of a glue guy on the Winthrop roster as he really doesn’t demand much of the ball. He already has 3 blocks in 5 games after a combined 5 in the last 2 seasons so he has shown some improvements as a perimeter defender.

F- Chase Claxton, Jr. 6’7, 185: 3.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 46.7% FG, 40.0% 3pt, 25.0% FT

Claxton’s points per game totals this year make him look like a scrub but the last 2 years he was one of the most efficient players in the country. For his career he shoots 75.8% on 2-point attempts but has never made a 3-pointer against a D1 opponent. If he is able to cut to the basket against the Huskies the ball is likely going in to the basket.

C- DJ Burns, Jr. 6'9, 275: 16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 63.2% FG, 66.7% FT

Just like Wyoming and George Mason, Winthrop has a 6’9 elite post scorer. The rebounding numbers are fairly underwhelming but there’s no question that Burns can use his big booty to get post position on the Husky bigs and score over them with an array of post moves. Against D1 opponents he has made between 57.5% and 58.5% of his field goal attempts every season so expect him to wind up in that vicinity tonight.

The Outlook

Coming into the season it looked like Winthrop would be the most difficult non-conference opponent coming to Hec Ed but Wyoming’s success likely changed that. Regardless, this is a Winthrop team that made the NCAA tournament last year as a #13 seed and return about half of that squad. It hasn’t exactly been a dream start for the Eagles with road losses to Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Washington State but this still could be a solid squad.

Looking over Winthrop’s profile you’ll notice that they are all about speed rather than size. It’s a very similar resume to South Dakota State. The Eagles start a 5’8 point guard and are 344th in average height per KenPom. At the same time they are 32nd in tempo so they play fast and 5th in percentage of points derived from 3-pointers. Almost half of Winthrop’s attempts come from behind the arc and they are shooting better than 42% from that range as a team.

Against the Cougars this week Winthrop shot 53% from 3-pt range but allowed Wazzu to shoot 56% in return so they didn’t gain any kind of meaningful advantage. Ever since the first game of the season Washington has done a pretty good job at holding down opponents at the 3-point line. If the Huskies can do it again then it’s tough to see how Winthrop has much of a plan B on offense. DJ Burns is a talented inside scorer but he also hardly ever draws contact unlike recent bigs the Huskies have played against and even if he does Winthrop is one of the worst teams in the country at the free throw line this year.

It will certainly help Washington’s defense that Winthrop doesn’t do much on the offensive glass. Against the Husky zone they’ll almost certainly exceed their season average but Winthrop is 354th (out of 358) nationally in offensive rebounding rate so they almost never manage to get second chance looks. The offense is usually chuck up a 3-pointer and hope it goes in and if it doesn’t then get set in half court defense to prevent transition attempts.

That last part could affect Washington’s offense which looks much more comfortable in transition. We’ll see if the 3 games in Sioux Falls helped spark Washington’s shooting now that they’re back home or if that was by virtue strictly of the new environment. This is still a very poor shooting Husky team but they’ve moved into the “merely bad” range on offense as opposed to the “would be the worst mark in a decade” range they were at after the first few games.

Opponents are shooting nearly 59% on 2-point attempts against Winthrop given their 5’8/6’0 guard pairing with no shot blocking threat to speak of on the roster. Expect Terrell Brown and Daejon Davis to be able to get into the lane just about whenever they want which should help keep Washington from getting stagnant in the half court.

If there’s a big worry about this game it’s how will Washington fare with only a few days to recover following 3 games in 3 days? The Dawgs seemingly wore down in the 2nd half against Nevada and now play a very well rested Winthrop team that pushes the pace and is extremely deep. The Eagles have 10 players averaging between 13 and 28 minutes per game so they will rotate constantly and try to wear down the Dawgs.

Seeing how the Huskies took care of similar teams like George Mason and in particular South Dakota State gives me confidence that this is a fairly good matchup for Washington. As long as they keep their focus and don’t slow down with the miles that have put on their tires recently then I think they are able to grind it out and keep Winthrop from shooting quite as well from the 3-point line.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 75, Winthrop Eagles-69