The Washington Huskies will play the Wright State Raiders on Friday night at Bank of America Arena at 7:00 PM, in the day one nightcap of the Athletes in Action Basketball Classic Tournament.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Northwest and KJR-950 in Seattle, or your local Husky radio affiliate elsewhere (click here to find yours). Tickets are still available through GoHuskies.com and start at $20 each.
What you need to know about the Huskies:
Provided each gets a chance to check into the game, the contest will mark the official college debuts for Abdul Gaddy, Clarence Trent, and Tyreese Breshers. Walk-on Brendan Sherrer will be in uniform as well, but is not expected to play.
Justin Holiday, who has missed time recently after hernia surgery, has been practicing and should see action in the game.
The Dawgs won their only exhibition game against Central Washington, 77-48, despite playing sloppily at times and shooting only 38% from the field, and 49% from the line.
Projected lineup: G - Venoy Overton, G - Isaiah Thomas, F - Quincy Pondexter, F - Darnell Gant, F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
Husky to watch:
Freshman forward, Tyreese Breshers: Clearly the nicest surprise for fans to come out of last week's exhibition game was the play of Breshers. During his 14 minutes on the court, Tyreese was the Huskies' best post player. As he makes his way back to full health, watch for the possibility of Breshers taking the reins as the main scoring threat down low for UW.
What you need to know about Wright State:
Wright State went 20-13 last season overall, and 12-6 in conference play, finishing fourth in the Horizon League. The Fairborn, Ohio, school last reached the NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007, where they lost to Pittsburgh. They've been picked to finish second in the league this season.
In their lone exhibition game, Wright State defeated Central State, 83-55.
Coach Brad Brownell returns all but one of his major contributors from last season. Guards Todd Brown and Vaughn Duggins were both chosen to the preseason All-Horizon League First Team, but Duggins will miss the season's first three games due to a suspension.
Wright State is down another member of the backcourt as well with John David Gardner also out with an injury.
Projected lineup: G - Troy Tabler, G - N'Gai Evans, G - Todd Brown, F - Cory Cooperwood, F - Ronnie Thomas
Raider to watch:
Senior guard, Todd Brown: The 6'5" Brown averaged 11.7 points and nearly five rebounds per game last season, despite starting slowly during Wright State's 0-6 start to the season. He put on 10 pounds during the off-season in hopes of absorbing more contact as he takes the ball to the rack. Without backcourt-mate Duggins in the lineup, look for the ball to be in Brown's hands a lot during the Raiders' trip to Seattle.
The path to victory:
Pressure and running: The Huskies have the athletic advantage over the Raiders and need to use their defense to spark the running game against the thin Wright State backcourt.
Board work: The Husky frontcourt will have their first opportunity to show how they're going to make up for the automatic rebounding advantage the team enjoyed during the Jon Brockman era. There's no reason the Huskies shouldn't dominate on the boards in their first game.
A quick word from the opposition:
In case you missed it, check out Montlake Madness' interview with Wright State head coach Brad Brownell here. Wright State freshman forward, Darian Cartharn, took a moment to answer a few questions from Montlake Madness.
UDUBsports: Tell a little about you as a ballplayer. Things like, what other players your game resembles.
Darian Cartharn: I really don't try to emulate too many players, but some guys that I really like are guards such as Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Jonny Flynn, and Kenny Anderson.
UDUBsports: Wright State hasn't gone to the tournament since 2006/07. This year, you're one of the most experienced teams in the Horizon League. What are the keys to the season if you want to get back to the tournament?
DC: As far as us getting back to the tournament, our goal is really just improvement on a daily basis. Simple as that! Even though that's probably the hardest thing to do!
UDUBsports: When smaller conference schools, like Wright State, do make the NCAAs, you're generally given low seeds and forced to play a very strong team right away. How much extra meaning do your games against bigger schools (for example, this season, Miami, Washington and Miss. St) take on?
DC: I believe that these games against BCS schools really mean a lot, because it shows that we can play at the highest level, and it prepares us for the NCAA Tournament.
UDUBsports: Tell me about Coach Brownell. What's it been like to play for him so far? What's his basketball philosophy?
DC: Playing for coach Brownell is really a challenge. He challenges us everyday, not only physically, but mentally as well. He really puts an emphasis on the importance of a high basketball IQ.
What I expect:
I expect that, even if the Huskies come out no better than they did against Central, they'll probably still win against Wright State. That said, it might be the type of nail-biting victory that the #13 team in the country should be able to avoid, and would not be a good sign for fans.
I expect that Coach Romar will probably be less equitable with playing time than he was against Central when 11 players logged at least 14 minutes. We should get our first look at which nine players Coach expects to be in his regular rotation.
Not that he was shy last year, but Isaiah Thomas was super aggressive against Central, jacking up 14 shots in 21 minutes. I expect him to regularly put up at least 20 points and challenge for the conference scoring championship.
UW should start the season with a handy victory here, although I didn't see anything in their exhibition game to make me think the Dawgs are ready to blow out any Division I opponent yet. I'm picking the Huskies by 14, 85-71.
Josh Anderson is the publisher of Montlake Madness, a 100 percent free fan site dedicated to University of Washington basketball. UDUBsports.com will be teaming up with Josh for the basketball season to provide even more comprehensive coverage of all the action!