Auburn basketball Opponent Preview: Washington

Auburn basketball takes on USC in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 18 looking for their biggest win of the 2022-23 season Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball takes on USC in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 18 looking for their biggest win of the 2022-23 season Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

The Auburn basketball team is heading to the Pacific Northwest for the second half of a two-game West Coast swing.

After a tough loss to the USC Trojans on Sunday night in Los Angeles, Auburn basketball will head to Seattle looking to regroup against the Washington Huskies. Washington has had a solid start to their 2022-2023 season, with a 9-3 overall record and a 1-1 record in Pac-12 play.

The 2022 rendition of Bruce Pearl’s squad has slipped as of late, losing two of their last three games by a total of just 12 points. With SEC play just around the corner after the Christmas holiday, Bruce Pearl’s squad is going to be looking for a big win on the road.

Washington on Offense

When watching Washington throughout Mike Hopkins’s time as head coach, their offensive structure has a multiple look. The most common look is that of one of the most famous offensive systems in basketball history: the triangle offense. The triangle was famously used by Phil Jackson while coaching the Chicago Bulls from 1989 to 1998, where he won six NBA championships alongside stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Against Seattle earlier this season, the Huskies won the opening tip and went straight into a triangle set. It resulted quickly in a high post entry pass and a low post follow-up pass, and the Huskies capitalized on the close-range look.

The Huskies use this triangle look to get the ball into the high post and allow players at the top of the key and on the wing to screen each other open. They also use this look to create big to big passing opportunities that can generate open looks at the rim.

Ball screens are also highly prevalent in this offense as the Huskies look to relentlessly attack the rim. According to, Washington is 256th in the country in both three-point attempts and makes, while also 281st in the country in assists. This team does a lot of its damage off the dribble, and most of that damage is at the basket.

Washington also shoots 76% from the free throw line. This is a team that wants to get downhill and either make shots at the line or get fouled trying. For Auburn basketball, it will be crucial to play straight up and not send Washington to the line. Quality depth is not a luxury that the Tigers have in their back pocket this year as they have in previous years.

Washington on Defense

On defense, the Huskies spend the majority of their time in a 3-2 zone, putting three agile and long defenders at the top of the key and both wings, while leaving two physical post defenders down low to counter any entry passes. Teams have struggled to score against Washington all season, as the Huskies give up just 64 points per game, putting the Huskies in the 76th percentile in the country.

Teams shoot just 40% from the field and 26% from three against this Washington team. They also only send teams to the line 16 times a game. This is not a team that looks to create a lot of turnovers and jump passing lanes. This is a well-coached team that plays straight up and contests shots. Auburn will have to move the ball side to side and find passes into the mid-range area to force the zone to collapse.

On the Boards

This is where Washington is sneakily dangerous. Three players average at least 1.5 offensive rebounds per game, and three players average at least 6 total rebounds per game. While their team rebounding numbers are not impressive by any means, they have individually good rebounders who need to be taken account for. Dylan Cardwell and Johni Broome are going to have to work for their boards against the Huskies frontcourt.


This is a well-coached team that has had to rebuild since the sparkling year they had with Mathisse Thybulle in 2018-2019. After a 5-21 season just two years ago, the Huskies posted a winning season last year and are 9-3 already this year. Auburn is going to need their best basketball to win this one. While we have not seen the best of Auburn basketball for more than a game or two this season, Bruce Pearl will not let these guys give up.

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