The initial preseason men’s basketball AP Poll has been released and the Huskies just snuck onto the list by capturing the #25 spot.
Washington defeated #7 Nevada by 18 points without Noah Dickerson in a charity exhibition yesterday but I would imagine that 99% of ballots had already been submitted by the time the game ended. Otherwise, the Huskies may have been a few spots higher (although some voters probably don’t put any weight on exhibition results).
This is the first time in the Coach Hopkins era and the first time since the 2014-15 season that Washington has been in the AP Poll. The Huskies climbed to 13th that season after a 10-0 start led by Robert Upshaw’s spectacular defense. However, UW lost to Stony Brook as well as their first three games in conference play to drop out of the ranks. Upshaw was dismissed from the team shortly after that streak and the Huskies collapsed to finish 16-15 on the year.
Last season, the Dawgs made it up to what is essentially 27th (2nd in the others receiving votes category) following a home sweep of the Arizona schools and Dominic Green’s thrilling buzzer beater against the Wildcats. But then they got swept on the road at the Oregon schools and never climbed any higher.
The Huskies have a very challenging schedule ahead of them this season. The non-conference schedule features contests at #3 Gonzaga, at #11 Auburn, and on a neutral site versus #15 Virginia Tech. If Washington wins any of those games it will be a big boost towards their NCAA tournament hopes. The Huskies also will play #14 Oregon twice in conference play and home against #21 UCLA once. Three other Pac-12 schools (Arizona, Arizona State, and USC) also received votes in the poll however Washington also only gets one game each against them with the unbalanced conference schedule.
Washington begins the regular season on Tuesday November 6th at home against a dangerous Western Kentucky squad featuring 5 star big man Charles Bassey.
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