The differences between the basketball programs of the University of Washington and Seattle University are stark.
UW has been to the NCAA tournament multiple times over the last decade. SU hasn’t been eligible to even make the tournament until this year. UW plays in the rock-solid Pac-12, SU in the shaky WAC. And, of course, UW hasn’t lost to SU in 34 years.
But there’s a lot more marking these two teams as equals this year, in the fourth year of the renewed intra-city rivalry.
For starters, they both enter the game with a winning percentage dead-on .500: Seattle sits at 3-3 after their win over Eastern, while UW is 4-4 following a disappointing home loss to Nevada (although they do boast solid wins over Saint Louis and Seton Hall).
Some of the other key statistics more or less balance out. UW has a better RPI than their in-city rivals (110 to Seattle’s 191) and has played a much more difficult schedule. Statistically, they’re also a better scoring team. But the Redhawks average more assists per game and are much better at rebounding the basketball, ranking 22nd in the nation to UW’s 200th in that statistic.
Each team is looking at this game as a key point in their season. For UW, a road win here would right the ship and build a lot of confidence among their young, talented players. For Seattle, a victory against their big brother would be the biggest win for the program in at least three decades.
And both teams will have three extremely winnable home games following this contest to try and build momentum. In fact, each team will play Jackson State and Northern Illinois in that stretch along with one other opponent each.
In short, this game will feature the most evenly matched sides the Redhawks and the Huskies have fielded in the modern era of this rivalry. Plus it’s a home game for Seattle.
The Redhawks can win. They know they can. UW even knows they can.
It’s hard to overstate what this victory would do to the perception of Seattle University basketball. If the Redhawks beat the Huskies, the city is going to sit up and take notice. It will be front-page news. It will be on all the radio shows. It will make Cameron Dollar and Clarence Trent the talk of the town.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still a game to be played. But, oh, what fun it would be if that game turned out in favor of the Redhawks. It would be an incredible boost for the program in every way.