Washington (20-5, 11-1) vs. Utah (14-11, 8-5)
Wednesday, February 20th @ 8:00 PM PST
Alaska Airlines Arena (Seattle, Washington)
Line: Washington -8.5
Radio: 1000AM KOMO/97.7 FM
KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON
Guard – David Crisp
Guard – Matisse Thybulle
Guard – Jaylen Nowell
KEY PLAYERS: UTAH
Guard – Sedrick Barefield
The Washington Huskies Basketball team enters this contest after pulling out a hard-fought 72-70 road victory against cross state rival Washington State. The Utah Utes are coming off a 98-87 home loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Huskies will be looking for a 12-1 conference start and remain in first place in the Pac-12 standings. With a win over the Utes tonight, the Huskies would sweep their season matchup with a gritty Utah basketball team. The Huskies will begin their quest of clinching the Pac-12 Conference Championship outright after returning home from a three-game road slate.
ESPN MATCHUP PREDICTOR
• Coach Hopkins has led UW to back-to-back 20 win seasons in his first two years … the last UW coach to record 20 wins in their first two seasons was Tippy Dye (1951-52, 1952-53).
• Washington reached 20 wins in just 25 games, the fastest its gotten to 20 wins since the 2004-05 season.
• UW is the only Pac-12 team that is undefeated at home, boasting a 12-0 mark in Alaska Airlines Arena, additionally, the Huskies have 1,002 program wins in Hec Ed, the most by any Division I school at its current arena in the nation … UW last went undefeated at home for a full season during the 2004-05 campaign.
• UW has recorded six conference road wins and hold a 6-1 mark on the road in league action … UW last had six road wins in conference play during the 2011-12 season.
• Thybulle is the only active player in Division I to be in the top 25 career rankings in both steals (1st – 289) and blocks (25th – 156).
• UW has reached 11 conference wins for the first time since the 2011-12 season and it’s also the first time since the 2010-11 and 2011-12 that the team has won at least 10 games in league action in back-to-back years.
• Seven of UW’s 11 Pac-12 wins have been by 10 points or more, its most double-digit wins in league action since the 2010-11 season.
• Crisp is now second all-time in made 3-point FGs in UW history with 235 … the record of 301 is held by C.J. Wilcox (2011-14) … meanwhile Thybulle is two blocks away from tying for second all-time in blocks at UW, currently has 156.
• UW has forced double-digit turnovers in 16-straight games, including a season high 24 forced at Arizona State, which was the most by an opponent since 24 against Dec. 19, 2017 against Bethune Cookman.
• Washington is third in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 5.8 per game as a team and are 12th in steals per game … only UW and Duke rank in the top 15 nationally in both categories.
• Thybulle, a candidate for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, has a career total of 445 takeaways (blocks and steals combined), which is the most by any of the previous Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year winners, which has been awarded 14 times in conference history.
• Nowell was selected as one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
• Nowell is shooting 51.5 percent from the field in 25 games, its up from his 45.1 percentage a year ago … he is also shooting 45.1 percent from 3, up from 35.1 a year ago.
• Nowell is the first player since Isaiah Thomas (2010-11) to earn three Pac-12 Player of the Week Awards in the same season.
• Thybulle’s 84 steals this season rank second at UW in single-season history … Thybulle holds the UW single-season record already at 101 set a year ago … his 3.3 steals per game also lead the nation .. he also owns UW sophomore (65) junior (101) and senior (84) steals records.
• UW has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 6 of its 12 Pac-12 games including 5 of the last 10 and is shooting 48.4 percent from the field overall in those 12 outings, which is second in the Pac-12.
• UW is holding its opponents to just 64.7 points per game, which leads the Pac-12 and is 31st nationally … 20 teams have been held to 70 points or less and UW has won 19 of those games.
• UW’s scoring margin in league action of +9.6 leads the conference by almost seven points as Arizona State is next at +3.3.
• In the last 20 seasons, Thybulle is one of just four players to average 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals in a season, joining Shane Battier – Duke (1999-2000, 2000-01), Nerlens Noel – Kentucky (2012-13) and Zion Williamson – Duke (2018-19).
• Nowell has shot at least 50 percent from the field in 30 of his 59 career games (50.8 percent) … in those 30 games, UW has a 25-5 record.
• In Pac-12 play, UW has had five different leading rebounders and five different leaders in steals as well.
• Nowell has seen an uptick in not just his scoring production (16.7 ppg) but in his assists as well as he currently leads the team with 71 (3.4 per game) which is up from an average of 2.7 a year ago.
• Thybulle is the only player in Division I averaging at least 2.1 blocks and 3.0 steals per game.
• Utah will hit the road for the first two games of a three-game road swing, taking on both Washington schools this week.
• The Utes will first clash with the league-leading Washington Huskies on Wednesday, Feb. 20, with a tip set for 8 p.m. PT at Alaska Airlines Arena.
• Utah will wrap-up the week taking on the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a tip set for 5 p.m. PT at Beasley Coliseum.
• Utah is coming off a pair of home contests that saw the Utes defeat Arizona (83-76) this past Thursday, but then fell to Arizona State (98-87) on Saturday at the Huntsman Center.
• Sedrick Barefield led the Utes with 17 points in Utah’s loss to Arizona State, but the senior registered his 1,000th career-point as a Ute, becoming the 39th player in school history to record at least 1,000 points in a career.
– UTAH vs. WASHINGTON SERIES HISTORY
Washington snapped a six-game losing streak to Utah the last time out, downing the Utes 69-53 in Salt Lake City back on Jan. 10. Despite the loss, Utah still leads the all-time series 15-10 overall and has won eight of the past 10 meetings. Utah is 5-6 all-time when facing the Huskies in Seattle. The Utes have won three straight at Alaska Airlines Arena, with its last loss coming back on March 7, 2015. Utah is 4-2 against the Huskies in Seattle since joining the Pac-12 in 2011-12.