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Washington Big Ten Basketball Could Face Growing Pains

Washington is set to join the Big Ten.

Everyone is looking forward to Washington’s Big Ten debut. Except maybe some of the Huskie faithful. A lot will be on the minds of the team and its fans as they venture into a very tough league for the first time. Washington has had some awful last several seasons in the PAC-12, as they have struggled to even be a middle-of-the-pack team.  They have had some talent, but Washington hasn’t been a legit NCAA tournament team. They haven’t made the big dance since 2019, and the 2023-24 season was one to forget as the Huskies were just above a .500 record for the third straight season.

That is why they made a head coach change as they let Mike Hopkins go after only reaching the NCAA tournament once in seven seasons. Enter new head coach Danny Sprinkle. Sprinkle made the jump from Utah State, where he led the Aggies to the round of 32 in last season’s tournament.

He’s going to have a real adjustment just like Washington will, but he certainly didn’t hesitate to try and rebuild the roster overnight. Regardless of all the new talent in Seattle, the Huskies will have some growing pains in their first year in the Big Ten.

Washington Big Ten Basketball Could Face Growing Pains

Coach Sprinkle has been a very busy man in the offseason, after leaving Utah State for this job, he got right to work in making major changes to the Huskies roster. But his first big move was to get the right staff behind him in Seattle and he did that by hiring former USC assistant Tony Bland. The Washington roster was wrecked by the transfer portal, but that didn’t deter Sprinkle as he had to add 11 new players.

Not only that but, Coach Sprinkle has had to adjust to a whole new conference, as the Big Ten is a whole new animal. He recently spoke with the Field of 68 podcast about the different changes the Huskies have gone through this offseason, and the tough competition recruiting in the Big Ten can be.

“There’s pressure at this level…but when you’re in the Big Ten and all of a sudden you’re like ‘Okay, we have to get ten players to go compete with (Michigan State) coach (Tom) Izzo, (Michigan) coach (Dusty) May, coach Johnson at Minnesota, (Purdue) coach (Matt) Painter…,'” Spinkle said.

Coach Sprinkle continued by addressing the hardship of getting players that can help Washington compete.

“Finding players that are good enough to compete and win games in the Big Ten, that’s what’s hard. You’re not going to just roll over a bunch of diamonds in the rough and go win at Michigan State. That was a challenge in getting guys that have the character and toughness and are talented enough to play at the Big Ten level.”

Getting players is exactly what Washington has done, as they have added plenty of talent through both the transfer portal and incoming freshmen.

New Year, a Whole New Roster

The Huskies began their new roster editions by adding a pair of transfer guards in Rice’s Mekhi Mason and North Dakota’s Tyree Ihenacho. That wasn’t the biggest splash that Coach Sprinkle was able to pull off as he and Washington were able to entice his key forward at Utah State to follow him to Seattle.

Great Osobor, was the seventh-ranked player in the portal, and he chose Washington over other major names including Louisville, Kentucky, and Texas Tech. Osobor had an outstanding 23-24 season as he averaged nearly 18 points per game and nine rebounds.

Osobor’s size and ability should put him near the top of the Big Ten as many of the other teams in the league don’t have an established post player going into the season.

A Look at Washington’s First Big Ten Schedule

The Huskies don’t have an easy draw for their first season in the Big Ten, as they have to make road trips to most of the team’s fellow newcomers UCLA, USC, and Oregon all get at home. That includes road trips to Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin just to name a few of their road foes. As for the home slate, home games against Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois seem very interesting, as the Huskies will try to pull some upsets.

Washington posted their Big Ten Schedule via their X page.

Huskies Could Suprise But Could Face Growing Pains

Washington has rebuilt itself almost overnight, but this is a move to the Big Ten, and that isn’t going to be an easy feat. They might be better than expected especially with Osobor in the post, but the Huskies feel like a mid to lower-tier team in their first season in the Big Ten. No matter what happens they are going to face some growing pains in a new conference and under a new coach.


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