Washington vs. Utah State Preview

Per The University of Washington Press Release…..

#9 Huskies (26-8) vs #8 Utah State (28-6)

UW returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010-11 season as it earned the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region. Washington will face No. 8 seed Utah State out of the Mountain West Conference on Friday, March 22 at 3:50 p.m. PT in Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Arena. The game will be televised by TNT with Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Allie LaForce on the call. Additionally, Craig Way and Will Perdue will host the Westwood One Broadcast while fans can always tune in to Tony Castricone and Jason Hamilton on the official Husky Radio Broadcast on KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM. The two programs have met eight times with Utah State having a 5-3 mark … the last meeting also occurred in the NCAA Tournament on March 16, 2006 with UW taking a 75-61 win. 

The Coach – Mike Hopkins (47-21)
Mike Hopkins is in his second year at UW, and second as a head coach after becoming the 19th head coach in UW history. In two years with the Huskies, Hopkins has led the Dawgs to back-to-back 20-win season becoming just the second coach in program history to do so in his first two years. He repeated as Pac-12 Coach of the Year after winning it during his first campaign and is one of just three coaches in Pac-12 history to repeat on that award. After spending 22 years as an assistant at Syracuse, he oversaw teams that reached the NCAA Tournament 16 times including the 2003 National Championship, four Final Fours, five Elite Eights and 10 Sweet 16s along with four NIT berths. Syracuse never dipped below a 55.0 percent record while Hopkins was on staff. 

Quick Hitters
• Thybulle is the all-time leader in the Pac-12 for career steals record as he passed Gary Payton (321, 1986-90)with his one against Oregon, moving him to 322  … additionally, his 117 steals are the Pac-12 single-season record, as he passed Jason Kidd of Cal (1992-93), earlier last week. 
• Thybulle is one of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Duke’s Zion Williamson, Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke and Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter 
• Washington swept the Pac-12 Player of the Year (Nowell), Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year (Thybulle) Awards becoming the first team in league history to do so. 
• Both Hopkins and Thybulle won their award for the second-straight year making them the first duo to win both COY and DPOY in back-to-back seasons
• Nowell became the youngest Husky in program history to be named Player of the Year and is just the third Dawg to earn the honor joining Brandon Roy and Christian Welp
• Nowell recorded his 10th 20-point scoring night of the season with 24 against USC and has now reached double-figures in 18 of the last 19 games
• Nowell has 106 assists on the season … he has recorded the 41st 100 assist-season in UW history and joins teammate Crisp who posted a 100-assist year in 2017-18 with 106
• UW’S 26 wins are its most since the 2009-10 season … additionally, UW tied its most wins in Pac-12 Conference play as it finished at 15-3  … UW also reached 15 conference wins in 1983-84, 1952-52 and 1943-44
• Washington is ranked second nationally in blocks per game (5.7) and ninth in steals per game (9.0), joining only Duke as the two teams to be ranked nationally in the top 10 in both categories
• Thybulle is averaging 5.7 takeaways per game this season between steals and blocks combined … that number did jump to 6.5 during Pac-12 action. 
• UW has four 1,000 point scorers on its roster at the same time for the first time in program history … Dickerson (1,579), Crisp (1,491), Thybulle (1,230) and Nowell (1,096) … UW is the only team in the nation with four 1K scorers that have reached those points at their current school (no transfers), Nevada has seven 1K scorers on its roster with only one scoring all 1,000 points at Nevada
• Crisp has reached double-digit scoring in 18 of the last 22 games 
• Nowell has led the team in rebounding in 10 times this year and has seen his rebounding numbers jump to 5.4 per game from 4.0 a year ago … in league action he averaged 5.9 rebounds
• Thybulle is the only player since 1992-93 to record both at least 110 steals and 70 blocks in the same season (via SportsReference).
• Dickerson’s 5 rebounds at Stanford pushed him to 900 career boards … he is now just the sixth player at UW to post 1,500 points and 900 rebounds in their career
• Washington ranks 15th in the nation in turnovers forced per game, averaging 16.2 per outing
• UW is holding opponents to just 64.4 points per game overall
• 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)