The Washington men’s basketball team has come out the gates in fine fashion in the Pac-12 season with a record of 3-0. Only two other teams in the Pac-12 conference have undefeated records – The Arizona Wildcats with 4-0 and the Oregon State Beavers having an identical record of the Huskies.
The Huskies men’s team began their season on January 5 at home beating rival Washington State Cougars, 85-67. Last week on the road, they beat the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City, 69-53, and then the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, Colorado, 77-70. They led the whole game against the Buffaloes starting on a 12-0 run. Playing in Colorado is not an easy task. At home, the Buffaloes were 7-0 on the season before facing the Huskies.
One of the reasons the Huskies has started out playing so well in the Pac-12 conference schedule is the play of senior guard David Crisp. Prior to conference play, Crisp was averaging 9. 54 points a game. However, against Washington State, he scored 23 points, followed by 17 points and 16 points against Utah and Colorado, respectively. Where Crisp has really excelled at is shooting behind the three point line, where he has made 12 out of 18 shots.
The Washington Huskies are 12-4 overall with a home record of 8-0. Last year against the Stanford Cardinal, they lost both games. The first game between the two teams took place in Seattle on January 13th, where the Huskies lost 73-64. They lost big on the Stanford home court on February 22nd, 94-68.
Last year, the Huskies finished tied for sixth place in the Pac-12 with Oregon at 10-8. The Stanford Cardinal, on the other hand, were tied in third place with UCLA and Utah with an 11-7 record. Had the Huskies won the home game last year Washington and Stanford would have traded places. The pre-season media poll has the Huskies finishing third while the Cardinal in ninth place. Right now, things look in the favor of the Huskies to win at home this Thursday.
The Stanford men’s basketball team has started off slowly in the Pac-12 schedule going 1-3. They started the conference schedule on the road losing to UCLA, 92-70, then to USC, 77-66. They came home, first playing the Arizona Wildcats who are always tough whether at home or on the road. They lost to the Wildcats, 75-70. They then beat the Arizona State Sun Devils last Saturday, 85-71.
The Cardinal has an 8-8 overall record but are only 1-5 on the road. The Huskies are 8-0 at home. However, like any of the teams in the Pac-12, they can’t take the Cardinal lightly.
The Pac-12 seems to have a lot of outstanding sophomore players. The Cardinal has one of them in their leading scorer and rebounder KZ Okpala. On the season, Okpala is average 17.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. He has started the Pac-12 schedule scoring over twenty points in three of the four games.
The Cardinal second-leading scorer is Daejon Davis, another sophomore, at the guard position out of Seattle. He is averaging 12.2 points a game. The Cardinal team is made up primarily of sophomore and freshmen players, having their only senior center Josh Sharma playing significant minutes. The Huskies need to take advantage of their experience starting three seniors in David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle and Noah Dickerson. It will be important that Thybulle and Dickerson stay out of foul trouble, something they have had a problem over the season.
The Cardinal and Huskies stats are about the same in every category including points per game. The Cardinal is averaging 73 points a game while the Huskies are at 72. The Huskies shooting percentage is slightly higher at .456 while the Cardinal is at .451. They have made the same percentage from the three point line at .335, with the Cardinal making four more shots. This looks to be a close game with the Huskies having a slight advantage playing at home.