Washington Basketball vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech: Gameday Preview

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29: Matisse Thybulle
TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29: Matisse Thybulle /

Washington basketball seeks redemption against #13 Virginia Tech in Atlantic City.

Before the season, Washington basketball Coach Mike Hopkins made it clear the plan was to step up the strength of schedule in order to put the team in a better position to make the NCAA tournament. He has executed just that. Virginia Tech will be the third ranked team that the Huskies have faced away from Montlake this season, with the first two being losses to Auburn and Gonzaga.

Last year’s matchup against Virginia Tech didn’t quite go as planned. Truthfully, it was possibly the biggest blemish of Coach Hopkins’ first season coaching the Huskies, as Virginia Tech beat Washington 103-79 at Madison Square Garden. Once again at a neutral site, the Huskies hope to improve on last year’s messy performance.

How do the Huskies win?

Staying out of foul trouble is of the utmost importance in this game. After both Noah Dickerson and Hameir Wright fouled out against Gonzaga, defense in the post withered away. What’s more, Tech currently has six players shooting 40% or higher from beyond the arc, likely keeping Matisse Thybulle and the rest of Washington’s zone defense on their toes. If the Huskies can force the Hoakies to take twelve-foot jumpers instead of threes, as well as maintain the offense we saw against Gonzaga, there’s no reason they won’t be returning to Montlake with their first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

The Huskies have two nonconference games left on the schedule after today before Pac-12 play begins, both at home. Their next matchup is with Sacramento State on December 21st. Pac-12 play opens for the Dawgs on Saturday, January 5th with a matchup at home against Washingtno State.