How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Thursday, 11/9/22
Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: Huskies Gameday App
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting Line: Washington Huskies -14
Northern Kentucky Norse 2023-24 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 63.5 ppg (337th)
Points Against per Game: 69.6 ppg (136th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 99.9 (201st)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103.3 (223rd)
Strength of Schedule: 79th
Northern Kentucky Key Players:
G- Michael Bradley, Sr. 6’0. 185: 2 ppg, 1 rpg, 4 apg, 33.3% FG, 0% 3pt, 0% FT
Bradley comes in as a grad transfer from a D-II school where he averaged 15 points and 4 assists per game. He had a rough first game with NKU though taking over as the starting point guard making just one of three shot attempts.
G- Marques Warrick, Sr. 6’2, 185: 18 ppg, 0 rpg, 1 apg, 46.7% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 100.0% FT
Last year’s returning scorer, Warrick picked up right where he left off when he averaged nearly 19 points per game on 38% 3-pt shooting. He’s a high volume shooter that will almost certainly lead NKU in shot attempts but has a very impressively low turnover rate given how much he has the ball. He’s adept at taking the ball to the rim or knocking down an outside shot.
G- Sam Vinson, Jr. 6’5, 205: 13 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg, 41.7% FG, 0% 3pt, 75% FT
Vinson was last year’s second leading scorer and he appears to have the same role again this year. He isn’t a great 3-point shooter but is around 33% for his career so he certainly is capable of excelling from that distance. He is the Norse’s best perimeter defender and averaged better than 2 steals per game last season. It will be interesting to see who he matches up against for UW (I’m guessing Paul Mulcahy).
F- Trey Robinson, Jr. 6’6, 220: 2 ppg, 9 rpg, 1 apg, 0% FG, 50% FT
Robinson had a dominant defensive outing in NKU’s first game with above average defensive rebounding, block, and steal rates. But all 3 of those are above his career average and unlikely to sustain. Last year Robinson played primarily power forward and took about half his shots from the 3-point arc where he made a career high 36%. He was their 5th leading scorer and 3rd leading rebounder so a key cog but not a star.
F- Cade Meyer, Jr. 6’8, 220: 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 0 apg, 75% FG, 0% 3pt, 0% FT
The Green Bay transfer averaged 10.5 points and 5 rebounds per game last year as their slightly undersized center. He occasionally steps outside to attempt a 3-point shot but is 23% for his career so expect UW’s big men to sag off him and protect the paint. That’s where he is much more of a threat having shot over 61% on 2’s.
It was easy to circle this game on the calendar as one for which Husky fans should be on upset alert. Northern Kentucky finished 2nd in the regular season and won the Horizon League tournament to earn a #16 seed in the NCAA tournament. They beat Cincinnati at home by 13 points last season and lost to the top overall seed Houston by only 12 in the tourney.
It’s unclear whether this year’s team has taken a step back. The Norse return their two leading scorers but lose center Chris Brandon who averaged 7 and 10 for them as a key piece. They dropped their first game by 17 at Middle Tennessee who project to be a good but not great team in Conference USA. The offense was the problem for NKU as they shot just 3/14 (21%) on 3’s and had twice as many turnovers as assists. If they can’t do substantially better than that against Washington then the Dawgs will roll them over.
The big question marks are mostly on the Husky end in terms of availability. Starting point guard Sahvir Wheeler was an unexpected scratch from the season opener after apparently suffering an injury in practice the week before the game. Coach Hopkins made it seem like he might be available tonight but it might be smart to wait a few days and make sure he’s 100% for Nevada on Sunday. The same is true for center Braxton Meah who played just 2 minutes on Monday and committed 3 turnovers. WKU has no one on the roster over 6’9 so the duo of Breidenbach and Kepnang should be able to secure the paint down low.
Washington’s offense started out extremely slow against Bellarmine before some 3-point shots started falling and they stopped committing dumb turnovers. Slow starts were a staple last season but with a very different starting lineup so hopefully that won’t become a season long trend. If the Huskies are able to play their A game from the opening tip then they should be able to quickly build up a lead and keep this game from ever getting comfortable. They can’t rely on Koren Johnson for 25 points every night but this roster is deep enough that someone will get the hot hand and prevent a complete offensive quagmire.
If both Wheeler and Meah do in fact sit out this game then I’ll be more worried about picking the Dawgs to cover but I think they get this one done.
My record this year: 1-0 Straight Up, 0-1 Against the Spread
Washington Huskies- 82, Northern Kentucky Norse- 61