As ESPN released all of the NCAA basketball preseason tournaments Thursday, so came the news that Washington would face Indiana at Madison Square Garden to kick off the 2K Sports Classic on November 21. That may seem like a long ways away (probably because it is, the football season will almost be over by then), but let’s take a look at the matchup right now.
If Washington can pull out a victory, it will almost certainly set up another Huskies versus Huskies face off against Connecticut. Initially, that doesn’t seem likely when a team that finished 18-16 is pitted against a No. 1 seed from the year before. But both teams will look very different next season.
The Hoosiers lose four of their five starters, including two top-10 NBA Draft picks Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. Sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell is the only returning starter for the men in red and white. That’s not to say this Indiana team won’t still be very talented. They brought in four ESPN100 players in the Class of 2013, including the No. 5 power forward, Noah Vonleh.
Both teams will be relying heavily on raw, unproven talent. Obviously, Lorenzo Romar brought in a highly regarded recruiting class, himself, headlined by five-star point guard Nigel Williams-Goss. If JUCO transfer Mike Anderson is able to transition to Division 1 basketball smoothly, he may give the Huskies the edge they need.
Each team will have five-or-so games under their belt by the time they face off in New York. With each having a base of returning talent, but mostly relying on newcomers, the key will be how each team’s perform in the games leading up to the Classic.
I, along with Eamonn Brennan, think this can be the premier game of the Classic, even if it comes in the first round. Neither team is as talented as UCONN, but both can contend for conference titles if things go right. Bottom line, forget last season – at least for this game. We’ll preview the game and tournament more in depth as they approach, but for now, I’ll leave you with my way-too-early predictions.
UCONN 82 Boston College 68
Indiana 78 Washington 72
UCONN 85 Indiana 75
Washington 73 Boston College 64