Washington Huskies (0-0) vs Bellarmine Knights (0-0)
2023-11-06 23:30:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: Washington Huskies -12 -- Over/Under: 138.5
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The stage is set at Alaska Airlines Arena as the Bellarmine Knights challenge the Washington Huskies in a season-opening skirmish. Last season, Bellarmine clawed through a tough schedule to a 15-18 finish. The Huskies were .500 last season and look to start strong with a win at home
Hungry for Redemption with Sharpshooting Tipton and Versatile Betz at the Helm
The Bellarmine Knights enter the new season looking to improve upon a 15-18 overall record, seeking to bolster their road performance beyond the 6-12 mark set last year. Offensively, the Knights averaged 66.3 points per game, a stat they’re eager to elevate, especially to complement their solid defensive record where they only allowed 67.2 points per game, ranking them 88th nationally. Despite ranking a lowly 316th in scoring, the Knights held their own on the defensive end, indicating a strategic focus on a slower, more methodical gameplay.
Rebounding is an area that needs improvement as the Knights pulled down a mere 26.6 boards per game, but their distribution was on point with 14.2 assists per outing. Ball security was a strength, with only 10.5 turnovers per game. Garrett Tipton and Juston Betz return as key players, with Tipton leading the scoring and Betz dominating in rebounds and assists.
Opponents should note Bellarmine’s three-point vulnerability, as they struggled to defend the arc, allowing 9.5 treys per game. Yet, their own long-range game was respectable, netting 8.0 three-pointers per game. As the Knights lace up for the upcoming season, their sights are set on tightening defense, ramping up their rebounding efforts, and shooting with precision to tip the scales in their favor.
Huskies’ Hardwood Hustle: Washington Eyes Pac-12 Uprising Amidst Roster Revamp
As the 2023-2024 NCAA basketball season tip-offs, the Washington Huskies are entering the hardwood with a chip on their shoulder. Last season’s disappointing 16-16 record, accompanied by an 8-12 conference performance, left the Huskies and Coach Mike Hopkins hungry for a turnaround.
The departures of Keyon Menifield, Cole Bajema, Noah Williams, Jamal Bey, and PJ Fuller II have left a void in the backcourt, notably in scoring and assists. Menifield was the standout, averaging 10.0 points and 3.1 assists per game, a playmaker the Huskies will sorely miss. These key departures have set the stage for the returnees and the fresh faces to make an impact.
The Huskies are buoyed by the return of seniors Keion Brooks Jr., Franck Kepnang, and Braxton Meah. Brooks Jr. is the Huskies’ go-to scorer, posting an impressive 17.7 points per game alongside 6.7 rebounds. Kepnang and Meah offer interior presence, averaging 9.0 and 8.8 points, respectively, with rebounding stats that show they can dominate the glass.
Among the newcomers, the Huskies have added some serious talent. Wilhelm Breidenbach, a transfer from Nebraska, and Sahvir Wheeler, a transfer from Kentucky, are the ones to watch. Their experience and proven skills could offer the jolt Washington needs. Freshmen Christian King, Will Landram, and Isaiah Sherrard also bring youthful energy and depth to the squad.
The Huskies struggled on both ends of the floor last season, averaging just 69.2 points per game while allowing 70.2. They shot a lackluster 43.1% from the field but managed to hold their opponents to 41.6%, showing that while their offense needs work, their defense has some grit.
David’s Pick – Washington Huskies (-12)
The curtain rises on the new season with the Washington Huskies hosting the Bellarmine Knights. Despite a roster overhaul, Washington’s recruits, like a well-executed full-court press, promise to add much needed talent to their lineup. Last season’s stats speak volumes: Bellarmine’s defensive tenacity is commendable, yet they faltered on offense, netting just 66.3 PPG. In contrast, the Huskies, led by Keion Brooks Jr., look to capitalize on their home turf to outmaneuver the Knights. Washington’s offensive arsenal, featuring Brooks Jr.’s scoring and the rebounding clout of Franck Kepnang and Braxton Meah, positions them as the favorites. Tipton’s sharpshooting for the Knights won’t go unchecked, as the Huskies’ defense, which held opponents to 41.6% shooting, is set to clamp down. In this clash, it’s the Huskies’ hunger, home advantage, and high-caliber recruits that will dictate the tempo. Expect the Huskies to orchestrate a strategy that disrupts Bellarmine’s rhythm. Washington is poised to open their season with a win. The Huskies take it, and the Knights must wait for another day. Game to Washington.