College Basketball Odds & Picks for Wyoming at Washington: Keep Fading the Hapless Huskies
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Bey
Wyoming vs. Washington Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Mike Hopkins is in year five at Washington, but the program doesn’t appear to be trending in the right direction. He replaced his coaching staff in the offseason and had a lot of roster turnover after a 5-21 season in 2020, but the early results have not been promising for the Huskies.
Next up is a matchup with Wyoming, a tricky mid-major opponent that can provide some matchup issues for the Huskies who like to play at a fast pace.
The Cowboys haven’t been tested at all in the nonconference to this point, but in a matchup of very even teams, the value lies with the underdog and another chance to fade the struggling Washington program.
Wyoming shot 3s at the ninth highest clip in the country last year, with 49% of Cowboys shots coming from beyond the 3-point arc. Head coach Jeff Linder is an analytics darling, and playing against a Washington team that tends to allow shots from the perimeter could be a favorable matchup for his team.
The Cowboys return more than 75% of their minutes from last season and have the shooters to shoot over Washington’s 2-3 zone. Four of their five starters return from last season’s team, and the return of Graham Ike in the middle helped improve the Wyoming defense considerably down the stretch last season.
That defensive improvement will be key against the superior athletes on Washington in this game. Deng Dut, a point guard JUCO transfer, has exclusively come off the bench but could see an increased role as the season progresses. He serves as the Cowboys’ primary ball handler and shot creator.
Wyoming won’t continue to make shots as well as they have thus far as the quality of opponent improves defensively, but as long as they continue to have high rim and 3-point shot frequencies, they have a chance to pull off upsets in the Mountain West on any night.
Washington has played three teams who all rank outside the top 200 in KenPom this season. An opening night home loss to Northern Illinois could be considered a blip and a one-off, but the Huskies needed a late run to beat Northern Arizona at home and trailed at halftime against Texas Southern.
Hopkins is under increased pressure and scrutiny as the program has decayed from its PAC-12 title in 2018 and has had two consecutive seasons under .500.
There’s a lot of turnover within the program after last season’s disaster and a ton of new players in the program. Emmitt Matthews transferred in from West Virginia and fits the 2-3 mold well as a rangy, athletic wing. Matthews has issues shooting the ball but can defend well and rebound.
Terrell Brown transferred from Arizona and Daejon Davis transferred from Stanford to make up the new backcourt, but Washington has looked lost in the half court and hasn’t been able to shoot at all.
They’ve tried to go up tempo to supplement the lacking half court offense ability and rank among the top 30 in adjusted tempo, but Wyoming forces teams to slow down in the half court by not really competing for offensive rebounds.
The Huskies rank 344th in effective field goal percentage, and while I don’t expect them to remain that bad, they don’t really have plus shooters at any of the five positions on the court. Jamal Bey is one of the few returners at the wing position, but he’s the only player who has made over 30% from beyond the arc.
Wyoming vs. Washington Betting Pick
Like any Wyoming game, this matchup likely comes down to shooting variance more than most. The Cowboys live and die by the three, and if they’re able to generate open looks against the Washington zone, then the Cowboys can pull off the minor road upset.
Washington has looked terrible in their half court offense this year, and Wyoming is likely to cede attempts to exploit the Huskies’ defensive rebounding woes by getting back on defense and grinding the game to a halt.
The Huskies are among the lowest in returning production in the entire country, and this has shown through the first 120 minutes of their season. Maybe Hopkins will turn it around and get the program back on track, but until I see any semblance of that, I’m going to look to play against them as an overvalued high-major program.
Pick: Wyoming +4