Before the Huskies travel to New York this week to take Providence and Virginia Tech, we take a look at the past two games and examine what went right and what needs to improve.
The Washington men’s basketball team is 2-0, but few would have been surprised if UW would have started 0-2 because there was plenty of uncertainty about new coach Mike Hopkins.
After wins over Belmont (86-82), Eastern Washington (79-69) and a 91-87 including an exhibition victory against Division II Saint Martin’s, we’re going to learn a lot more about the Huskies this week when they play Providence and potentially Virginia Tech – both teams advanced to the NCAA tournament last season – at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Here are a few thoughts on Washington
1.) The 2-3 zone is looking better.
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Ideally, the Huskies would like to hold teams under 40 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent on three-pointers. They didn’t come close to those benchmarks in the exhibition when Saint Martin’s shot 45.9 percent from the field and 52.9 percent (18 of 34) behind the arc. Against Belmont, UW held the Bruins to 32.2 percent shooting on three-pointers but allowed them to shoot 49.2 percent from the floor. At times Washington’s 2-3 zone was suffocating against Eastern Washington, which went scoreless for about four minutes in the second half. The Eagles shot 40 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on 3s. Said Matisse Thybulle: “Every game we get under our belt, we get a little more comfortable. And we get better making the reads. And we get faster on our close outs and all of that stuff. So the more we play, the more comfortable we get with each other, the more comfortable we get in the zone and the more havoc we wreck on the other team.”
Hopkins noted the next step for UW’s defense is to face teams…