Washington Preview Capsule
Last season: 21-13, reached second round of NIT.
Coach: Mike Hopkins.
Who’s gone: Carlos Johnson and Michael Carter III were reserves off the bench who transferred.
Who’s back: Everyone else. The Huskies return five starters and the vast majority of their scoring from last season’s surprising first campaign under Hopkins. Jaylen Nowell (16.0 ppg), Matisse Thybulle (11.2 ppg) and David Crisp (11.6 ppg) return in the backcourt, with Noah Dickerson (15.5 ppg) and Sam Timmins up front. It’s a formidable starting five, but the difference for Washington this year will be the depth behind them. Senior Dominic Green and sophomores Hameir Wright and Nahziah Carter will likely be the first three off the bench, bu the Huskies expect significant contributions from freshmen 7-footer Bryan Penn-Johnson and 6-foot-10 Nate Roberts in the front court. There is good reason the Huskies were a preseason Top 25 team.
Who’s new: Penn-Johnson and Roberts may be the most important additions, but the Huskies also have 7-4 freshman Riley Sorn and 6-6 guard Jamal Bey who could be contributors right away.
The Skinny: The Huskies haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2011. They were in the discussion last season into February before a late fade landed them in the NIT. The Huskies should be able to finally snap the tournament drought if they can survive a challenging nonconference schedule that includes Auburn, Minnesota, Gonzaga and Virginia Tech.
Expectations: Las Vegas oddsmakers have Washington as 175-1 longshots to win the national championship, sandwiched between Marquette (150-1), and Minnesota and Nebraska (200-1).