Mike Hopkins’ zone works to perfection as Washington stuns Kansas, 74-65

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Washington looked outstanding in a commanding win over No. 2 Kansas in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

The Huskies are in their first year under former future Syracuse head coach Mike Hopkins, who was named Coach-in-Waiting at Syracuse back in 2007, set to take over in a year or 15, whenever Jim Boeheim decided to retire.

After Boeheim pulled a Brett Favre for a decade, Hopkins peaced out, shipping up to Seattle to take over a program with a ton of upside. There’s a lot of talent in the Seattle area, and if Hopkins can keep those kids home, he’s got a shot at winning big.

After years as the Smithers to Boeheim’s Mr. Burns, Hopkins finally has his own cartoon nuclear plant to run. (You know what I mean.)

Washington plays Boeheim’s 2-3 zone, and they shut down the Jayhawks with it on Wednesday, closing up the three-point line. Kansas shot just 5-for-20 from deep, and got most of its scoring from Legerald Vick, who had 28, but most of those came in the paint, which was by design.

The Huskies controlled the tempo, knocked down threes (9-for-21), and outrebounded the Jayhawks, 37-34.

Noah Dickerson put up 13 points and 14 boards, Matisse Thybulle had 19, and Jaylen Novell had 17.  David Crisp scored 10, and did a terrific job running the offense and controlling the tempo.

UW didn’t look great in its only other tests against Providence and Virginia Tech at the Garden earlier this year, but with a perfect gameplan for the ‘Hawks high-low offense, it passed this one easily.

The Dawgs have another challenge on Sunday as they host Gonzaga. Win that one, and this team will have built the confidence it needs to compete in the Pac-12.

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