#726 University of Washington Huskiesvs.#725 Yale University Bulldogs
Written by Chris Kubala
NCAAB: Sunday, November 13, 2016, Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Washington, 7 pm ET
Spread: Washington -12, Over/Under: 152
It’s a matchup on the hardwood between an Ivy League school and one from the Pac-12 in an interesting clash. The Yale Bulldogs make the cross-country trip as they take on the Washington Huskies in the season opener for both squads Sunday night. This is the fourth all-time meeting between the schools and the first in over three decades. Washington won all three meetings, including a 68-62 win in the most recent matchup back on December 27, 1980.
Yale piled up the second-most wins in school history and the most since the 1906-07 team went 30-7 with their success last year. The Bulldogs went 23-7 overall and finished 13-1 in the Ivy League to win the regular season crown. Yale stunned 5th seeded Baylor 79-75 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling 71-64 to 4th seeded Duke in the second round. Yale was a slightly above average offensive team as they finished 141st in the nation with 74.9 points per game. Yale shot 47 percent from the floor (38th in the country) as a team this season. The Bulldogs are sinking 6.3 three pointers per game while shooting 36.3 percent (98th) from beyond the arc. Makai Mason (16 points, 3.8 assists) was the team’s leading returning scorer but broke his foot in a scrimmage earlier this week.
The Bulldogs were terrific on the defensive end of the floor. Yale was 17th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 63.8 points per contest. Opposing teams are shooting 41 percent (51st) from the floor against the Bulldogs. Yale gave up 6.1 three pointers per contest and holds their opponents to 32.4 percent (68th) from three point range. That will put more pressure on guys like Sam Downey, Anthony Dallier and Noah Yates to step up in the absence of their fallen star.
Washington was up and down last season, eventually finishing the year with a 19-15 record. The Huskies were 9-9 in the Pac-12 and finished sixth in the conference. Washington was upended 93-78 in the second round of the NIT by San Diego State. The Huskies were 6th in the nation by racking up an average of 83.9 points per game this season. Washington is 31st in the country in rebounding with 39.8 boards a night. The Huskies scored that much despite shooting 42.6 percent (246th in the country) from the floor. Washington hit 7.3 three pointers per game while shooting a mediocre 33.1 percent (254th) from beyond the arc.
The Huskies had issues defensively as they were just 337th in the nation in scoring defense as they give up 80.8 points a game. Opposing teams shot 43 percent from the floor against the Huskies. Washington gave up just 6.2 three pointers per game and limits their opponents to 32.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Huskies allow 28.3 free throws per game. Their opponents are shooting 68.5 percent at the line. Washington is #1 in the nation with 6.53 blocks per game. All three of Washington’s double digit scorers from last year are gone. That puts a ton of pressure on guys like Noah Dickerson, who is the team’s leading returning scorer with 7.5 points a game. Malik Dime, Matisse Thybulle and David Crisp will all need to up their games as well.
This is a matchup of two teams that are in the midst of trying to figure out who their go-to guys are going to be this season. Yale was dealt a devastating blow with Mason breaking his foot. Before that injury, I liked the Bulldogs’ chances of hanging in and potentially stealing the game. Without him though, things are a lot bleaker for Yale. Lorenzo Romar can coach and he’ll have the Huskies ready to go. I look for Washington to find a way to get it done and cover the line.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.