#25 Washington (1-0) vs. #11 Auburn (1-0)
Friday, November 9th @ 6:30 p.m. PST
Auburn Arena (Auburn, Alabama)
Line: Auburn -10.0
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 1000AM KOMO/97.7 FM
KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON
Forward – Noah Dickerson
Noah Dickerson returns for his senior season after averaging 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last season. He is a dominant player in the paint and can also rebound the basketball. Last season, Dickerson was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team for his stellar play.
Guard – Matisse Thybulle
Matisse Thybulle returns for his senior season after averaging 11.2 points and garnering 101 total steals last season. He is the spark plug and energy of the team with his elite play on defense. Last season, Thybulle was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Guard – Jaylen Nowell
Jaylen Nowell returns for his sophomore season after averaging 16.0 points and 2.7 assists per game last season. The talented all-court guard excels in the midrange game and is often the go-to-guy down the stretch. Last season, Nowell was named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman team.
KEY PLAYERS: AUBURN
Guard – Jared Harper
Jared Harper is a junior who currently leads the nation in assists at 13.0 per game. He also is averaging 20.0 points per game and is a dual threat with his shooting and passing ability. Harper was an All-SEC guard last season.
Forward – Chuma Okeke
Chuma Okeke looks to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses this season. He filled up the stat sheet against South Alabama with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
Guard – Bryce Brown
Bryce Brown is a veteran senior who is a sharpshooter from downtown. Last game he made 4 three-point shots and he has 245 total made three’s throughout his career. Brown needs 18 more three’s to break Wesley Person’s school record of 262.
The Washington Huskies come into the start of their regular season returning all five starters from last season, and that experience will prove to be the driving force to their success this season. Last game the Huskies had to overcome a slow start and cold shooting to beat Western Kentucky 70-61 in their season opener at home. The Huskies will play one of their toughest games on the schedule this season when they face off against the Auburn Tigers. “Win or lose you learn either way. You get a chance to play against the best and see where you’re at.” Head Coach Mike Hopkins said recently about playing tough opponents early.
On the other side, the Tigers come into the matchup against the Huskies with the #11 ranked team in the nation. Auburn won their season opener the other night in blowout fashion by defeating South Alabama 101-58 as they played exceptionally well. Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl knows that there is no time to dwell on their first win, as the Huskies roll into town and present a very tough matchup for his team. “Friday night is a very rare and unique opportunity,” Pearl said. “There’s never been a Top 25 [non-conference] team to come into Auburn Arena, and we’ve got one coming in on Friday night.”
ESPN MATCHUP PREDICTOR
• UW opened the season with an 18-point victory over Conference-USA preseason favorite Western Kentucky which saw the Hilltoppers
score just 19 points in the second half and 55 overall.
• Matisse Thybulle, UW’s career steals leader at 206, has now recorded at least one steal in 47-straight games
• Thybulle’s six blocks against WKU tied his career high and were the most by a Husky since he had six in the season opener against Yale on Nov. 13, 2016.
• This will be the first non-conference meeting for a ranked UW team against a ranked opponent since Dec. 20, 2014 when the No. 16 Huskies defeated No. 15 Oklahoma, 69-67, in Las Vegas.
• Washington currently has two 1,000 point scorers on the team with the potential to add a third as Matisse Thybulle is 74 points away. Only two rosters in UW history have had three 1,000 point scorers at the same time, 2008-09 (NCAA Round of 32) and 1998-99 (NCAA Round of 64). Noah Dickerson currently has 1,183 career points which ranks 27th while David Crisp has 1,080 career points which ranks 33rd.
• Seniors Matisse Thybulle and David Crisp played in their 100th career games on against WKU and it was also Thybulle’s 100th career start as he has started every game of his career … against Auburn, senior Noah Dickerson will be playing in his 100th career game.
• UW has representatives on three of the Naismith Starting Five National Award Watch Lists in sophomore Jaylen Nowell (Jerry West Shooting Guard Award), senior Matisse Thybulle (Julius Erving Small Forward Award) and senior Noah Dickerson (Karl Malone Power Forward Award). UW is one of 11 schools nationally to have representatives on three of the 11 awards joining Kentucky, Duke, Tennessee, Virginia, Kansas, Nevada, Auburn, Oregon and Gonzaga.
• With 285 boards this year, Noah Dickerson can become only the 15th member of the Pac-12’s 1,000 career rebounds club. Dickerson, who has 715 boards in his career, grabbed 284 boards as a junior in 2017-18.
• With another 100-steal season, Matisse Thybulle could become only the second member of the Pac-12’s 300 career steals club. Thybulle, who has 206 career thefts following 101 as a junior in 2017-18, would join OSU’s Gary Payton (321) as the lone members.
• Washington’s 2018-19 schedule features two non-conference road tests against teams ranked in the AP preseason top 25 (at Auburn, at Gonzaga). Additionally, Washington will face eight teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
• UW’s senior class of Dominic Green, David Crisp, Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle have combined to play in 392 career games including 254 career starts which is the most by any four seniors at a Power 5 school
• With his 106 assists a year ago, junior David Crisp became the 40th player in UW history to record 100 assists in a single season … he is 51 away from entering UW’s career top 10 list as he has 266 total assists.
• Washington posted its first 20-win season since 2011-12 with its 21-13 record last season … it was the biggest jump win jump between seasons since 1936-37 to 1937-38 after UW went 9-22 the season prior (2016-17) … it was also the biggest jump (eight wins more) in conference play in UW history as UW went from 2-16 to 10-8 a year ago.
» Friday’s matchup will be the first between the two programs.
» Auburn enters the season ranked No. 11 in the country in the preseason AP poll. It is the highest the Tigers have been ranked to open a season since 1999. Auburn is ranked in the preseason AP Poll for the fifth time in program history. The Tigers opened the 1999- 2000 season at No. 4. Before that, Auburn began the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons at No. 10 and No. 12, respectively. The Tigers were first ranked in the annual preseason poll prior to the 1975-76 campaign when they were No. 20.
» Auburn returns three starters from a 26-win team a season ago, highlighted by All- SEC guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Forward Anfernee McLemore returns to the floor after recovering from a season-ending injury in the final weeks of the regular season.
» Friday night’s tilt will be the second time in Auburn history that there will be a non-conference matchup between two ranked teams in Auburn. The previous time was when No. 18 Auburn squared off with No. 3 UNLV on Feb. 1, 1987.
» The duel will be the sixth time ever Auburn has hosted a ranked non-conference op- ponent and the first since 2006, when it welcomed No. 13 Texas A&M (Dec. 22, 2016) and No. 2 Pittsburgh (Dec. 3, 2006).
» The Tigers have won two of their last three battles against ranked foes. Last season, Auburn defeated No. 23 Tennessee on the road to open SEC play before taking down No. 22 Arkansas at home.
» After being one of the youngest teams in the NCAA last year with one senior, Auburn boasts 13 upperclassmen and has 4,182 career points – eighth-highest in the country.