Monday evening on the college hardwood and the Pac-12 Conference will square off with the West Coast Conference as the Washington Huskies rumble with the St Mary’s Gaels at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, California in the 2nd round of the NIT Tournament. The Huskies enter this contest off a 77-74 home win over Boise State, while the Gaels are off of an 89-45 home win over Southeastern Louisiana. These teams last met in 1999 and the Huskies won that game by a score of 73-60.
Huskies Win A Tight One Against Boise State
The Washington Huskies have had a decent year overall as they are 20-13, while going 10-8 in league play, but they just didn’t do enough to get into the NCAA Tournament, so they have their sights set on winning the NIT Tournament, which will not be easy as they are taking on a very tough St Mary’s squad. They made it through round one of this tournament as they held off a tough Boise State squad for a 77-74 home win. The Huskies shot very well in the game as they hit 47.4% of their shots from the field overall, including 42.1% of their shots from long range. That was against a good defense and now they will have to try and do it again against an even better defense. Leading their attack in the game was Jaylen Nowell (16.1 ppg), who had 25 points, while Matisse Thybulle (16.1 ppg) had 15 and Noah Dickerson (15.3 ppg) chipped in with 13. The defense had a really good showing against the Broncos as they allowed them to hit 35.7% of their shots from the field overall, including 26.7% of their shots from beyond the arc. Their defense has been very average overall, but it will have to be better than average against an St. Mary’s squad that shoots the ball very well. The Huskies have gone 69.4 ppg and they have allowed 73.2 ppg on the road this year.
Washington has been average on offense this year as they enter this contest ranked 156th in the nation in scoring, putting up 74.4 ppg, while also ranking 130th in shooting (45.6%), 208th in 3-point shooting (34.4%) and 225th in free throw shooting (70.2%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been very average this year as they enter this contest ranked 179th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 72.6 ppg, while also ranking 208th in defensive FG% (44.4%) and 63rd in 3-point defense (32.8%).
Gaels Crush The Lions In Round One
The St Mary’s Gaels had another impressive season as they were 29-5 overall, including 16-2 in the WCC, but still, they were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Committee. This team should have clearly been in the NCAA Tournament, but now they will look to win the NIT Tournament and they got off to a strong start by beating Southeastern Louisiana by a score of 89 45. The Lions never had a chance in the game against a team that is playing with a chip on its shoulder. The Gaels have been a strong offensive team this year and they hit 59.3% of their shots from the field overall, including 54.2% of their shots from long range. This team shoots the ball very well and will be facing a very average Washington defense. Leading their attack in the game was Jock Landale (21.5 ppg), who had 26, while Jordan Ford (10.6 ppg) had 19 and Calvin Hermanson (11.2 ppg) chipped in with 17. This team is also a very good defensive squad and they allowed the Lions to hit just 35.2% of their shots from the field overall, while also allowing them to knock down just one of their 20 attempts from long range. Now that is playing some defense and they will look for that defense to have another good outing in this one. The Gaels have averaged 78.3 ppg and have allowed 59.8 ppg in their home games this year.
St Mary’s has been very good on offense this year as they enter this contest ranked 78th in the nation in scoring, putting up 77.3 ppg, while also ranking 1st in shooting (51.7%), 8th in 3-point shooting (40.9%) and 12th in free throw shooting (77.6%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been very strong this year as they enter this contest ranked 11th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 63.9 ppg, while also ranking 162nd in defensive FG% (43.7%) and 17th in 3-point defense (31.3%).
- 2-7 ATS in their last nine non-conference games
- 0-6 ATS in their last six vs. the West Coast
St Mary’s is:
- 12-4 ATS in their last 16 vs. the Pacific-12
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight Monday games
The Huskies had a solid year but were bounced in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. They grabbed a nice home win over Boise State, but now they have to travel to St Mary’s where the Gaels are 17-1 on the year and have outscored their opponents by an average of 18.5 ppg. The Gaels are playing with a chip on their shoulder in this tournament as they were snubbed by the tournament committee. They won their opening game by 44 points and while that was against a much lesser opponent, the Huskies are still not in the class of the Gaels. St Mary’s has big edges at both ends of the court and I just do not see the Huskies being able to hang with them in this game. I look for the Gaels to win by 17 or more.