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Poke Basketball Preview & Prediction: Washington Huskies

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego State vs Wyoming Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

What: Wyoming Cowboys @ Washington Huskies

When: Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Where: Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle, WA

Network: PAC-12 Network

Series: The Huskies own the all-time record advantage over the Cowboys with a record of 11-4. It will be their first meeting since the 2003 college basketball season.

The Pokes will travel west to Alaska Airlines Arena on Thursday for their first road matchup of the season against the Washington Huskies in the battle of the UWs. The Pokes will bring a record of 2-0 to Seattle after beating their first two opponents, Detroit Mercy and AR-Pine Bluff, in dominating fashion. The Huskies are 2-1 after dropping their opening matchup the Northern Illinois Huskies and most recently winning against Texas Southern and Northern Arizona.

About the Huskies and why they will win:

The Huskies are led by Head Coach Mike Hopkins. They finished in the bottom of the PAC-12 last season, going 5-21 with a record of 4-16 in conference play. In their first three games, the Huskies have pretty much stunk it up from the floor. The Huskies have one player so far, Terrell Brown Jr., who has averaged more than a 40% field goal percentage through their first three games. Despite the slow offensive start to the season, there is some optimism that this team will be much better than last. Their strength so far comes in their defense and their rebounding. They have averaged about 40.5 rebounds per game while their opponents have averaged about 29.5. Additionally, they have also forced a total of 27 turnovers so far. The Huskies are playing at home, and their defensive pressure will force the Cowboys to shoot at much less of a clip. The Cowboys also have yet to play a team from a major conference and will not be up to speed, giving the Huskies the victory over the Cowboys.

Why the Cowboys will win:

Wyoming has come out of the gates on fire. Led by Head Coach Jeff Linder, the team has been shooting lights out. The Cowboys have a number of players averaging double-digits in points and have dominated both of their opponents thus far, winning by at least a 38-point deficit in each game. The Cowboys are shooting a scorching hot 56% from the field and 41% from three. They’ve not only been on fire from the field but have defended extremely well thus far, limiting opponents to under 45 points, while scoring 85, in both of their games. The fact that the team is going on the road will not halt their momentum. They’re also playing a team that has struggled mightily from the field up to this point. The trends will continue and the Cowboys will emerge victorious.

Prediction:

Despite how well or how poorly these teams are shooting from the floor, there are aspects to this matchup that will result in a close contest. The bigger school from the more dominant conference who is struggling from the floor and forcing turnovers, versus the smaller conference but more confident group shooting extremely well. It’s hard to believe that both of these trends will continue, and as tempting as it is to lean toward the major conference team, I will side with the red-hot Cowboys in this one.

Final Score:

Wyoming 77

Washington 73