No one expected Washington basketball to be tied for last place in the Pac-12 at this point in the season. They need to turn things around now
One of Washington basketball’s prized recruits, Jaden McDaniels has had trouble finding himself. Last Saturday against Colorado, he only played two minutes in the second half and then Mike Hopkins criticized his effort after the game. In the previous game at Utah, he was charged with a technical foul that led to some of Utah’s 12 straight points at the free-throw line to end the game. But it’s time to put the struggles of last week behind them. Washington takes on the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night. The Wildcats have a 3-3 record in the Pac-12, and have a disappointing season very similar to the Huskies’. The Wildcats are led in scoring and rebounding by freshman power forward Zeke Nnaji, who’s currently averaging 16.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Wildcats senior center Chase Jeter is a wild card on Thursday. He’s currently averaging 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, however, he’s missed Arizona’s last three games due to back spasms. He returned to practice this week, but it’s unknown if he’ll suit up on Thursday night. If he does, Isaiah Stewart is going to need major help on the inside, because Jeter is a force on the defensive end of the floor.
The other three starters for the Wildcats are guards Nico Mannion, Dylan Smith, and Josh Green. If Jeter isn’t able to play, Stone Gettings will probably end up taking his place in the starting lineup
Mannion, a five-star freshman, is Arizona’s second-leading scorer, averaging at 14.1 points per game. He also leads the Wildcats in assists at 5.8 per game. He shoots 34.8% from behind the three-point line, which is just below the team average of 37.8%.
Josh Green is the third member of the Wildcats averaging double figures, currently at 12.2 points per game. He also leads Arizona with 1.5 steals per game.
The Huskies defense will need to be strong early, and find a way to counter the Arizona attack that puts up almost 81 points per game. Also, McDaniels will need to step up and find a way to score in double figures. The Huskies have had a lot of trouble shooting threes all season, and need to find more ways to get to the basket, instead of settling for tough shots and fall away jumpers. If they can do that, they should be able to pull out the win.