NCAA Basketball

Soft 16: Washington Huskies

Last Season: 9-22 (2-16 conf)

Key Returners: their entire starting lineup

Key Loss: no one important

Key Additions: BRYAN PENN-JOHNSON, Nate Roberts

Coach: Mike Hopkins

Key Games: @ #11 Auburn (11/9), vs. Minnesota ( Vancouver Showcase – 11/21), @ #3 Gonzaga (12/5), #15 Virginia Tech (Atlantic City Boardwalk Classic – 12/15), @ #14 Oregon (1/24), vs. #21 UCLA (2/2), @ Arizona (2/7), vs. #14 Oregon (3/9)

After a horrible season, the Huskies look to come back and improve on what they did well last year: score.  Even losing Markelle Fultz the year before did not taper a great offense; they just could not play defense to save their lives.  However, with a weak schedule in terms of playing strong teams, they should be able to capitalize and be able to dominant the weaker teams.

They are adding 2 players (center Bryan Penn-Johnson and forward Nate Roberts) to fix said defensive foes.  Both players are large and have massive wingspans (7’7″ for Bryan, 7’5″ for Nate), and appear to be bruisers based on their hooptapes.  Expect them to flourish in the paint on both ends, and be the anchors this team desperately needs to compliment it’s perimeter-centric focus.

That being said, don’t have high hopes for this team.  Their weak schedule will be good in building the confidence of the young bigs, but that won’t assuage all of their woes.  It’s tough to start from the bottom and end up on the top.  They won’t be able to move up much unless they can cruise past the PAC-12 AND destroy Gonzaga.

Prediction: While I am not as cold on Washington as I am on UCLA, I am still pretty frosty to the idea of them wow-ing me at all.  I do not expect great things from them, just like I am sort of expecting them to lose pretty much all their key games this year, putting them at 22-8.  Yes, even Zona is going to beat them.   I even have less faith for them in the PAC-12 tourney, where they will probably fall to one of the quartet of Zona, UCLA, Oregon, or a senior-heavy PAC-12 team.  I don’t expect them to make the NCAA tourney.

Categories: NCAA Basketball

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