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2019-20 College Hoops Primer: Huskies, Bulldogs, Cougs tip off a new hoops season

There was a revival of relevant college basketball in the state of Washington at the end of the 2018-19 season. Gonzaga finished off with another NCAA Tournament, being eliminated in the West Regional final vs. Texas Tech.

The Washington Huskies experienced their own comeback last season as they reached the tournament for the first time since 2011. That return to the tournament, added in with a solid recruiting class gives Huskies fans high hopes entering the season for the first time in a long time. Then you’ve got Washington State, Ernie Kent is no longer patrolling the sidelines in Pullman and now it is up to Kyle Smith who comes to the Pac-12 from University of San Francisco.

Here’s a look at what all three schools bring to the table entering the 2019-2020 season.

Gonzaga

Coach: Mark Few (20th year at Gonzaga, 568-122 all-time record)

2018-19 Record: 33-4 overall (16-0 conference record)

Postseason: NCAA Tournament (75-69 Loss in Elite Eight to Texas Tech)

Key Players: Admon Gilder (Guard), Corey Kispert (Forward), Filip Petrusrev (Forward), Killian Tillie (Forward), Ryan Woolridge (Guard)

Key Games (Home games in Bold)

Nov. 15--At Texas A&M

Nov. 27-29--Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament (Paradise Island, Bahamas)

Dec. 8--At Washington

Dec. 14--At Arizona

Dec. 18--North Carolina

Jan. 18--BYU

Feb. 8--At Saint Mary’s

Feb. 22--At BYU

Feb. 29--Saint Mary’s

Andrew’s outlook

Gonzaga will once again be the leader of the pack in the West Coast Conference and also have a chance to state their case as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a tough schedule.

We will see just how good this team is with limited depth and three games in three days at the “Battle 4 Atlantis” Tournament with potentially Oregon and the first of two potential matchups with North Carolina. Expect the Bulldogs to make another deep run in March and I would even peg them as a Final Four sleeper.

Postseason projection: 2020 NCAA Tournament (Elite Eight)

Washington

Coach: Mike Hopkins (2nd year at Washington 48-22, 3rd season as a head coach 52-27 all-time record)

2018-19 Record: 27-9 (15-3 Conference Record)

Postseason: NCAA Tournament (81-59 loss to North Carolina in the Second Round)

Key Players: Quade Green (Guard), Jaden McDaniels (Forward), Naz Carter (Forward), Isaiah Stewart (Forward)

Key Games (Home games in Bold)

Nov. 8--vs. Baylor (Armed Forces Classic | Anchorage, AK)

Nov. 16--vs. Tennessee (Naismith Hall of Fame Classic | Toronto, Canada)

Nov. 22--vs. Montana

Dec. 8-- vs. Gonzaga

Dec. 22-25 Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, HI)

Jan. 2--vs. UCLA

Jan. 18--vs. Oregon

Jan. 30--vs. Arizona

Feb. 18--At UCLA

Mar. 5--At Arizona State

Mar. 7-- At Arizona

Andrew’s outlook

If you liked last year’s Washington team, you will really like this year’s version. Just be aware that some growing pains might come with it.

Washington joins the likes of Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas in picking up multiple one and done players with Federal Way’s Jaden McDaniels and the nation’s 2nd best overall recruit Isaiah Stewart. It is hard to gauge how potential one and done players go through the season but if these two are playing at their best? Expect Washington to be a mainstay in the Top 25.

Postseason projection: 2020 NCAA Tournament (Second Round)

Washington State

Coach: Kyle Smith (1st season at Washington State, 9th year as a head coach 164-122 all-time record)

2018-19 Record: 11-21 (4-14 Conference Record)

Postseason: None

Key Players: CJ Elleby (Guard), Marvin Cannon (Guard), Jeff Pollard (Forward), Deion James (Forward)

Key Games (Home games in Bold)

Nov. 12--At Santa Clara

Nov. 25-Nov. 27--Cayman Islands Classic (Cayman Islands)

Dec. 7--New Mexico State

Jan. 2--USC

Jan. 16--Oregon

Jan. 18--Oregon State

Feb. 9--Washington

Feb. 19--Cal

Feb. 23--Stanford

Feb. 28--At Washington

Andrew’s outlook

Former coaches Ken Bone and Ernie Kent have left the Washington State program in a bad way, now it is up to Kyle Smith to fix it. While hopes for a postseason tournament might be a year or two (or three) away, the new boss in Pullman just needs to inspire some hope for a program that frankly is desperate for it.

The Cougs will more than likely occupy one of the three bottom spots in the conference but look at this season as a foundation laying season. Next year is the year Washington State can attempt to play for the postseason.

Postseason projection: None

Hello, I’m Andrew Hammond, and I am new to the Pacific Northwest area. I’ve been a journalist for 13 years, mainly covering sports in the state of Kansas, where I am from. I’m excited to be a part of the Pacific Northwest sports scene. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ahammTNT
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