Preview: Washington, NCAA 2nd round (we don’t consider the First Four round one)
If you had a mental list of teams heading into the NCAA tournament that you didn’t want in UNC’s bracket, would Washington have been on it. Well, we did have one of those mental lists, and Washington was indeed on it. The Huskies came into the dance fresh off winning the Pac-10 tournament and possessing one of the most dynamic players in the country. Don’t let that #7 seed fool you, this is a very good team.
- The aforementioned dynamic player is Isaiah Thomas, right. Thomas is so good, he popped up in our google search ahead of the more famous basketball playing Isaiah Thomas. Impressive. The Huskies have started a great history of explosive guards under six feet tall and Thomas is obviously very high in that order. (To be fair, we’re only thinking of Thomas and Nate Robinson, but it is crazy that they both went to UW.) The junior not only leads the team in points, but he also does so while handing out six assists per game. That’s statistically higher than Kendall Marshall. Although you have to remember Marshall wasn’t running the team until January where as Thomas has been the man all season.
- Thomas has help in senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Bryan-Amaning is averaging almost 16 points a game and pulling down eight rebounds. Long Island didn’t put up much of a fight in the low block, but Washington will.
- In a side-by-side comparison, Washington is VERY scary. The Huskies average more points, more assists, shoot better and aren’t far behind the Heels in rebounds per game. You do have to remember though that Washington plays in the Pac-10, a league that is still worse than the ACC despite a down year by the usual powerhouse.
- Washington also has not has as much luck against teams in this year’s NCAA tournament. The Huskies went 5-5 against tournament teams, getting close to its season average of 83.5 points only twice in those contests.
- The Heels also have some NCAA history on their side. Seeing as the game is in Charlotte, it must be mentioned that UNC is 28-1 in NCAA games in North Carolina and 10-0 in Charlotte. Washington has won one game in nine tries in the state of North Carolina, with that win coming in its round one victory over Georgia.
It will be no easy match, but the Heels can easily win this game. It will all depend on shutting down Isaiah Thomas though.
Prediction: UNC 80, Washington 74