The Huskies, who have played two games this season at New York’s Madison Square Garden, get their biggest test so far against the unbeaten Jayhawks, who are favored by 22.
The Washington men’s basketball team carries a four-game winning streak, burgeoning confidence and an anything-can-happen attitude into Wednesday’s game against No. 2 Kansas.
On the surface, the KU-UW matchup, which airs at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, appears to be a decisive disadvantage for the Huskies on the scale of David and Goliath.
But David may have had better odds than the Huskies, who are a 22-point underdog.
Despite a preponderance of indicators that foretell a lopsided loss, first-year coach Mike Hopkins is looking forward to his biggest game with his new team.
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“Very few times in life do you have an opportunity to play a team the caliber of Kansas — No. 2 in the country,” Hopkins said. “That’s why you come to these big schools is to have those opportunities. I think the guys will be excited.”
It’s a cliché, but a game against a storied program like Kansas (7-0) is a measuring stick for Washington (6-2), which began the season with modest expectations following a 9-22 season in 2016-17.
The Jayhawks reside among the blue bloods in college basketball royalty alongside Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.
Kansas’ esteemed resume includes three NCAA titles, 14 Final Four appearances and an NCAA-leading 29 consensus All-Americans, including Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce and Frank Mason III, the national player of the year last season.
Under coach Bill Self, who was inducted in the Naismith basketball Hall of Fame in September, the Jayhawks have claimed at least a share of every Big 12 championship since 2005 — a 13-year run of conference dominance matched only by UCLA (1967-79). He also guided KU to a national title in 2008.
Conversely, Washington hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in six years, which is a big reason why the school went out and hired Hopkins.
Under the guidance of the former Syracuse assistant, UW has made steady improvement but there have been few surprises this season.
The Huskies compiled six home wins against mostly middling to below-average mid-majors with a combined 20-30 record. But they’ve also lost when expected, including a pair of defeats last month at New York’s Madison Square Garden to Providence (77-70) and…