Washington basketball kicks off the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii on Sunday, they hope to make it to the championship game on Christmas Day
Washington basketball will play the first game of the tournament against the Ball State Cardinals, who come into the game with a record of 6-4.
This will be only the second time in the history of the programs that the two schools will face off. The only other matchup came 35 long years ago. Ball State, like many of the Huskies’ opponents, like to play a shallow seven man rotation.
Junior guard Ishmael El-Amin leads the Cardinals in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game. The Huskies will have keep an eye on him from deep, as he’s shooting 48.1% from behind the three-point line this season. Senior forward Tahjai Teague is second on the team in scoring, with an average of 13.6 points per game, and he’s also the Cardinals’ leading rebounder, averaging 7.9 per game.
The third-leading scorer for Ball State is senior forward Kyle Mallers, at 12.2 points per game. Like El-Amin, Mallers is a very good shooter behind the three-point line. Ball State is a top 10 team nationally when it comes to shooting the three ball.
Redshirt freshman Jarron Coleman starts at one of the guard spots, averaging 7.7 points per game. The fifth starter for the Cardinals is freshman guard Luke Bumbalbough, who’s averaging 6.8 points a game. Both Coleman and Bumbalbough are big contributors behind the three-point line for the Cardinals, and if the Huskies can defend the three-point line, they should be able to cruise to a win.
This is going to be a fun tournament for the Huskies, while also providing them with some good tests before Pac-12 play begins after the new year. If the Husky offense can continue to gel and limit turnovers, they can hang with any team in the country.