Stanford, Washington chasing wins to keep tourney hopes alive

Jan 18, 2024; Berkeley, California, USA; Washington Huskies forward Keion Brooks Jr. (1) dunks against the California Golden Bears during the first half at Haas Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

If you listen to Bill Walton, nearly every team in the “conference of champions” deserves a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Walton, the former UCLA standout and a basketball commentator, often suggests eight or more Pac-12 schools will qualify when he’s on the telecasts.

Stanford and host Washington, who meet Thursday night in Seattle, can only hope he’s right.

The Cardinal (12-11, 7-6 Pac-12) are tied for fifth and the Huskies (13-11, 5-8) are 10th in the conference standings.

“These guys believe,” UW coach Mike Hopkins said when asked if his team can still reach the NCAA Tournament. “We’ve been close (in games) and need to finish. There’s a lot of belief in that locker room and I think we showed it (Saturday).”

The Huskies are coming off a 67-55 victory at Oregon State in which Keion Brooks Jr. collected 23 points and nine rebounds, and Sahvir Wheeler added 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Washington never trailed and led by 20 at the half.

Brooks leads the conference in scoring with 21.0 points per game, and Wheeler, like Brooks a transfer from Kentucky, is tops with 6.0 assists per game.

The Cardinal defeated visiting Southern California 99-68 on Saturday as Maxime Raynaud scored 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Stanford made a program-record 19 3-pointers and pulled away with a 25-0 run in the first half.

“This shows us that we can also be a great defensive team,” said Reynaud, a 7-foot-1 junior from France. “We’ve always been a great shooting team, now if we can get both together that would be amazing.”

The Cardinal beat Washington 90-80 at home on Jan. 20 as Spencer Jones scored a career-high 30 points and tied a school record with eight 3-pointers. The Huskies trailed by two points with 5:29 remaining before Stanford pulled away at the foul line.

–Field Level Media

Mentioned in this article:

More About: