Washington Basketball @ Auburn: Gameday Preview

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 07: Matisse Thybulle
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 07: Matisse Thybulle /


This matchup at #11 Auburn is a huge early season test for the Huskies, as they’re facing a team very similar to their own. Auburn is an experienced team who have grown together over the last few seasons, and get great production out of their upperclassmen. Chuma Okeke and Jared Harper split the team lead in scoring for the Tigers with 20 points in a 101-58 dismantling of South Alabama. Harper racked up a double-double, also dishing out 13 assists in the win. This is an experienced Auburn team who made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season before being upset by fifth-seeded Clemson.

How do the Huskies win?

Stick to their zone, and don’t let the Tigers run in transition. Bruce Pearl’s team likes to push the tempo, so the Huskies need to rebound well, especially on the offensive end. Matisse Thybulle should come up with a few steals on the defensive end, and Washington needs to take advantage of those opportunities. Jaylen Nowell needs to have a big day, and 5-25 from behind the three-point line absolutely will not cut it. David Crisp will have a better day from deep, and Noah Dickerson should be able to dominate inside. This Auburn team came in 194th out of the 351 eligible Division 1 schools last season, so if the Huskies can make open shots, they might have a chance to run away with this game. They shot 40% from the floor in their last game, and to beat a good team like Auburn, that needs to improve.

This game is a great chance for Washington basketball to put the country on notice, and officially arrive on the national scene. For Thybulle, it could end up being Exhibit A for his National Defensive Player of the Year push.