Washington basketball will travel to Oregon this week to take on the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers. This will be their first real test in Pac-12 play on the road. How well the Huskies do can determine where they could in end up in the conference race though right now they are 5-0 in conference play.
Washington basketball needs to make sure they will not get off to a slow start as they did against the California Golden Bears on Saturday. Though they have had good second half’s it is a lot harder on the road to do so.
What has made the Huskies effective in Pac-12 play is having more than two players in double figures. During the non-league season, Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson were the only two scoring in double figures. Nowell is averaging 17 points a game while Dickerson at 16. During conference play their averages have decreased down to 16.7 for Nowell which isn’t much for him, while Dickerson is now averaging 13.7 points a game. David Crisp is at 11.2 points a game now, while during non-conference action he was at 9.7. Other players have stepped up to as well, Nahziah Carter and Dominic Green have both had some good games coming off the bench. It will be critical they do the same against Oregon.
Last year the Huskies lost twice to the Ducks. On February 8 they lost at Oregon 65-40 and then on March 3 at home 72-64. The last time the Huskies beat the Ducks was on January 15, 2015, so the seniors on this team have never beaten them. They will want to beat the Ducks on their court badly so they can end the streak, but more importantly to stay undefeated in the Pac-12.
The Ducks have struggled to start Pac-12 play with a current conference record of 2-3, however, they have an overall record of 11-7. Last Thursday they had a big win though at Arizona 59-54 but lost on Saturday at Arizona State 78-64.
Oregon has had bad luck on the injury front, freshman center Bol Bol is out for the year after having to undergo surgery on his left foot. He was the Ducks’ leading scorer at 21 points a game along with average 9.6 rebounds. On January 3 he announced that he wouldn’t return to Oregon but enter next year’s NBA draft. He is expected to be a lottery pick. The day before his announcement, sophomore forward Abu Kigab announced he was transferring. Kigab’s scoring average wasn’t much at 2.6 points per game, however he had started four games and averaged 15 minutes per game so he was an important part of their rotation.
Sophomore forward and notable Husky killer Kenny Wooten broke his jaw against Baylor on Dec 21. He had been a starter, but he’s currently coming off the bench after returning to play against Arizona and Arizona State. He was expected to miss at least a month but returned a little early, wearing a mask.
The Ducks were picked by the media in pre-season poll to finish first in the Pac-12. They could still do so however it will depend on how long they take to adjust without Bol and Kigab. Whatever the case this should be an exciting game to watch between the Huskies and the Ducks on Thursday night.