Preview: No. 9 Gonzaga visits No. 22 Washington
SEATTLE, Wash. — Last year it came down to Rui Hachimura’s last-second jumpshot in the Kennel, this year, both the Zags and Huskies have new identities.
It doesn’t help that Gonzaga returned from the Bahamas with several injuries to key players. Head coach Mark Few and several players talked about how “banged up” they were in practice leading up to their win over Texas Southern on Wednesday. They’re still coming off a double-digit win, and pulled their starters for rest with 10 minutes to play.
The Huskies had to replace several starters after last year, including two NBA draft picks in Matisse Thybulle and Jaylen Nowell. They added serious talent and athleticism with their 2019 class, however, and their 2-3 matchup zone is as tough as ever.
Washington has forced a lot of turnovers out of the teams they’ve faced so far, but Baylor is only impressive win they have this season. A loss to Tennessee is what’s kept them from creeping higher in the AP polls.
The Huskies’ leading scorer is Naz Carter, who didn’t score against the Bulldogs last year, but is beginning a breakout season. He averages 14.6 ppg and over 6 rebounds. Quade Green, a Kentucky transfer is still finding his role on offense but is one of the few three-point threats for the Huskies.
Gonzaga will likely be without their most versatile athlete in freshman Anton Watson, who causes problems for other teams with his length on defense and can do it all on offense. He’s been dealing with an ankle injury, and is apparently a gametime decision.
The Bulldogs may also not get a fully-healthy Admon Gilder at guard. He looked to be limping during certain parts of the Zags’ win over Texas Southern on Wednesday.
Even with so many new faces on Gonzaga’s roster and starting lineup this year, they still have much more experience in terms of minutes played compared to the Dawgs.
One team will get their second loss of the season, Gonzaga hoping to improve to 10-1 on the year, and get their second win over a ranked opponent, with No. 11 Oregon being the only one right now.
Tip-off is at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
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