Previewing the Washington men’s basketball game with UWHuskiesWire

A sneaky big game in the Pac-12 men’s basketball schedule is set to occur at Matthew Knight Arena with Oregon hosting Washington in a Thursday night clash.

Both teams need the win in the worst way as Oregon finds itself on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and the Huskies are trying to keep their season alive and find some consistency and possibly save coach Mike Hopkins’ job.

It’s also our first chance to talk with the newest member of the CollegeWire family as went live last week. Editor Roman Tomashoff was kind enough to answer some key questions leading up the the Ducks and Dawgs meeting up on the hardwood for the second time this season.

Naturally, we first talked about what needs to change in order for the Huskies to return the favor and win in Eugene. Oregon was able to defeat Washington in Seattle 76-74.

“The Huskies need to find a way to lock down on defense and come up with stops down the stretch,” Tomashoff said. “While the Huskies are second in the conference in scoring, they’re also last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense after abandoning the 2-3 zone this season. Even though that was probably the right move for Hopkins’ team, the defense has struggled without center Franck Kepnang.”

Oregon knows all too well what it’s like to play with its center as N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle have missed a significant portion of the season. But unlike Hopkins, Duck coach Dana Altman has been able to weather the storm and find ways to win. It might cost Hopkins his job after this season says Tomashoff.

“It’s tournament or bust for Mike Hopkins,” he said. “If he can find a way to salvage the season and make the NCAA Tournament there’s a chance that he’ll be able to save his job. But after what would be a fourth straight disappointing season, there isn’t a lot to justify keeping him around if he can’t continue to perform.

The Ducks and Huskies are scheduled to tip it off at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire