Washington head coach Mike Hopkins directs his team during an NCAA college basketball practice Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Seattle. The first two seasons went nearly perfect for Hopkins. A season of taking over and building a foundation and trust was followed by a season where it all meshed into a Pac-12 regular season title and a return to the NCAA tournament. But in year three, the Huskies finished last in the conference and with a below .500 record. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Tonight at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, the Pac-12’s Washington Huskies (2-1, 2-1 home) host the Wyoming Cowboys (2-0, 0-0 road) out of the Mountain West Conference.

Washington is a 1.5-point home favorite, despite already losing its first game of the season to a Northern Illinois team that’s rated in the 300s by KenPom. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:00 pm ET (8:00 pm PT).

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Wyoming +110 +1.5 (-110) O 143.5 (-110)
Washington -130 -1.5 (-110) U 143.5 (-110)

Odds as of November 18th, 2021, at DraftKings.

The Huskies are coming off one of the worst seasons in school history, limping their way to a 5-21 record in last year’s COVID-impacted season. That was the second straight season Washington finished dead-last in the Pac-12.

Are Washington’s Transfers Going to Help?

Give Mike Hopkins and his staff credit for not being complacent. Washington brought in five transfers this season. Terrell Brown Jr (Arizona), Emmitt Matthews Jr (West Virginia) and Deajon Davis (Stanford) are the big names. So far, they comprise three of UW’s top-four scorers, led by Brown (17.7 PPG).

But the offense, as a whole, has been dreadful. It’s rated 190th out of 357 DI teams by KenPom.Despite playing at the 30th-fastest pace in the country, and playing exclusively teams rated 237th or worse, Washington has topped out at 73 points. They only managed 64 in a truly embarrassing season-opening loss to Northern Illinois (71-64).

They have struggled mightily from behind the arc, when they even bother to try. The Huskies take a three on just 27.6% of their possessions (326th) and are 285th in three-point percentage.

There’s no denying that the sheer level of talent on the roster is higher than last season. But Hopkins hasn’t found a way to put his new pieces together in an efficient manner.

Will Wyoming’s Slow Pace Bother UW?

The Wyoming Cowboys play a decidedly different style on offense, more plodding and methodical. They are 227th in tempo and their offense has an 18.4-second average possession length (283rd-fastest). Washington’s possessions are nearly three seconds shorter (15.5).

Like UW, Wyoming has yet to face a top-200 opponent. Their first two wins came at home against Detroit Mercy (235th) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (356th). However, unlike Washington, the Cowboys handled those games with ease. They blew out Detroit Mercy 85-47 and then posted nearly the same scoreline against the Golden Lions (85-45).

Wyoming is coming off a decent 14-11 season that included some notable wins. They swept their two home dates with Nevada and also scored a road victory against an Oregon State team that reached the Elite Eight.

They lost leading scorer Marcus Williams to the transfer portal (Texas A&M) but still have a lot more continuity from  last season compared to tonight’s opponent. The rest of their top-eight scorers are back, all of whom averaged between 7.0 and 12.5 PPG on a team where leading-scorer Williams was only at 14.8.

Prediction

Until the new faces on the Washington show that they can form a cohesive offensive unit, it’s extremely hard to back them against a top-150 team … on any court.

The veteran Cowboys have a lot more familiarity with each other and showed the ability to win in tough power-five environments last year.

Pick: Wyoming moneyline (+110)





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