How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Monday, 11/14/22
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Washington
Location: Seattle, Washington
Utah Tech 2022-23 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 70.0 (176th)
Points Against per Game: 73.5 (192nd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 94.6 (286th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 102.3 (215th)
Strength of Schedule: 223rd
Utah Tech Trailblazers Key Players:
G-Cameron Gooden, Sr. 5’11, 175: 16.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 38.5% FG, 22.2% 3pt, 50.0% FT
Gooden in his 3rd year as the starting point guard for Utah Tech and he has eclipsed double digit points and 3 assists per game every year. He isn’t exactly an efficient player though and is prone to turnovers plus is career 29% on 3’s. The one thing he can do is get to the line with a fouls draw rate that has to be one of the highest in the country for a player under 6-feet tall. Expect a lot of him trying to challenge UW’s bigs at the rim and get them into foul trouble.
G- Noa Gonsalves, So. 6’1, 175: 7.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 45.5% FG, 42.9% 3pt, 25.0% FT
So far Gonsalves has gotten off to a good start from deep but is still just a 32% shooter from there and doesn’t like to take many shots (never more than 10 in a game). The rebounding numbers are tremendous for a 6’1 guard so far but they’re almost double what he did last year so are likely more about a small sample size. He does get some steals on the defensive end.
G- Frank Staine, Jr. 6’6, 220: 9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, 41.2% FG, 37.5% 3pt, 50.0% FT
Staine is leading Utah Tech in steals so far this year and has good size for a wing on the perimeter. About half of his shots come from 3-pt range but he’s a career 28% outside shooter so that may be to UW’s benefit. He doesn’t turn the ball over very often but also doesn’t do a lot with it when he shoots it if he isn’t at the rim.
F- Dancell Leter, Sr. 6’8, 200: 5.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 28.6% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 100.0% FT
Leter has solid size as a stretch 4 who is a career 37% shooter from the 3-pt line. Still, the majority of his looks come inside the arc although he hasn’t been consistent from the midrange. At 6’8 he’s a good offensive rebounder and has decent passing skills for a big man.
F- Tanner Christensen, Sr. 6’10, 260: 8.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 41.7% FG, 54.5% FT
The center out of Spokane Valley transferred in the offseason from Idaho where he was known for using his big frame to secure rebounds. He finished 29th in the country in defensive rebounding rate last year while shooting 58% from the floor albeit in just under 20 minutes per game. He has been an elite rebounder, foul drawer, and shot blocker through 2 games and will be the biggest challenge yet for Braxton Meah and Franck Kepnang.
For the first time this season the Huskies will go up against an opponent that has won a game after Utah Tech defeated 320th Cal State Northridge at home 69-63 on Saturday night. Still, this is another game that Washington should be able to take care of business if they don’t trip all over themselves like they did in the first half against North Florida.
Utah Tech (formerly Dixie State) fell by 13 at Nevada in their season opener which is a team ranked by the advanced metrics in a similar spot to the Huskies. The question of course is whether Washington will be closer to full strength to live up to that ranking. It looks like starting PG Noah Williams will be out for quite a while with his leg injury but starting forward Keion Brooks Jr. also missed Friday’s game unexpectedly and was called “day-to-day”. Hopefully Brooks is back but as of the time of writing I’m assuming he’ll miss this one as well.
That’s arguably Washington’s two best players out and it comes against a team that does present some interesting challenges. So far this year Utah Tech is 23rd in free throws per field goal attempt. Their 5’11 starting point guard loves to relentlessly attack the rim and starting center Tanner Christensen is an absolute load down low. With Brooks potentially out it leaves the Huskies mighty thin and the Dawgs could be susceptible to foul trouble.
One of the side effects though have repeatedly attacking the basket is it means you get your shots blocked. Over 1/5th of Utah Tech’s 2-point attempts this season have been blocked so we could see some crazy defensive numbers from the combo of Kepnang and Meah. Nevada’s center KJ Hymes had a career high 5 blocks in the opener.
It’s also worth noting that for the second straight game the Huskies will be playing a team that has a lot of experience playing together. North Florida was 8th nationally in KenPom’s Minutes Continuity metric and now Utah Tech is 14th with 4 returning starters and a transfer center. The Trailblazers may not have the talent to keep up with Washington but they certainly are used to playing with one another.
The version of this game where Washington doesn’t come away with the win involves Langston Wilson being forced to play minutes at center due to heavy foul trouble for both Meah and Kepnang. Keion Menifield Jr. looks to have the skills but could come down to earth after a great game against North Florida and the Trailblazers could grind it out at the free throw line.
More likely though is that Washington will give more than they get when it comes to foul trouble and be able to use their size/athleticism advantages to out-bully ball Utah Tech. We could see single digit combined made 3-pointers in this one.
Washington Huskies- 69, Utah Tech Trailblazers- 58