Dawgman's Aaron Beach breaks down Washington's Men's Basketball's 2015-20516 season schedule

Washington released its 2015-2016 basketball schedule last Thursday and if the Husky coaching staff was hoping for a soft landing for their young squad they were sorely disappointed.

UW opens the regular season with a bang against Texas in China on November 13th. The game will be played at the state-of-the-art, 18,000 seat, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, where it will be heavily promoted. The game marks the debut of former coaching wizard Shaka Smart, who brings his Havoc defense to Austin after reaching the NCAA Tournament five of six seasons with VCU. The Huskies could face the Longhorns again in the Bahamas a week later.

After a couple of home warm-ups against Mount St. Mary's and Pennsylvania, the Huskies head to the Bahamas for the Battle for Atlantis and a showdown against cross-state rival Gonzaga. The Dawgs will have their work cut out for them, as the Zags boast arguably the best front court trio in the country in Kyle Wiltjer, Domantis Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski. The following day, the Huskies will either face Texas for the second time in two weeks or a quality Texas A&M squad. Depending on how things play out on the other side of the bracket, the Huskies will face either Syracuse, Connecticut, Michigan or Charlotte on the final day.

After jet-setting across the globe, the Huskies will finally return home after the Thanksgiving break where they'll spend the entire month of December tuning up for what is expected to be a grueling conference slate. First up is Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 6th, followed by former Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson and the TCU Horned Frogs Tuesday Dec. 8th. Johnson's squad - an 18-15 team last season - lost eight players to graduation or transfer. Next, Travis DeCuire's Montana Grizzlies head to Montlake on Dec. 12, with Oakland, Seattle University and UC Santa Barbara to close out the 2015 non-conference schedule. 

Pundits are expecting a big year from the Pac-12. While short on elite teams, the conference is loaded with a handful of top-25 caliber squads, and the Huskies can expect no quarter from their league schedule. Conference play starts with a bang; a New Year’s Day showdown against the UCLA Bruins at home. The balanced Bruins will feature veterans Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and 7-footer Thomas Welsh, along with touted 5-star forward Jonah Bolden. The USC Trojans are expected to get back on track this season. They have a big, athletic young roster that includes Katin Reinhardt, Jordan McLaughlin, 6-foot-11 Nikola Jovanovic, Elijah Stewart and touted newcomers Bennie Boatwright and 6-foot-11 Chimezie Metu

The Huskies then head to Pullman to take on the Cougs before traveling south to face the Arizona schools. First up is Sean Miller's Arizona Wildcats, who are expected to take a slight step back after losing several key players to graduation and NBA defection. They won't lack for talent however, reloading with top-notch transfers Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen, and 5-star freshmen Ray Smith, Justin Simon and Allonzo Trier. The Dawgs may get a bit of a breather two days later against the Arizona State Sun Devils and new head coach Bobby Hurley, who is essentially starting from scratch with a roster of mostly unknowns.    

Washington then returns home to square off against Colorado and Utah. The Buffs’ momentum flatlined last season but they still return one of the conference’s better returning trios in Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon. The Utes boast three of the league’s most productive players in Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor and NBA lottery bound 7-footer Jakob Poeltl. Utah is expected to challenge for the conference title. 

After that, the Huskies hit the road for a re-match against the Southern California schools to close out January. 

Things don’t get any easier for the Hoop Dawgs in February.

The Huskies return home to play host to the Arizona programs before returning to the road against Utah and Colorado the second week of February. Then it's back home again for what should be one of the most entertaining games of the season against the Cal Golden Bears. Second year Head Coach Cuonzo Martin returns three standouts in Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird, but it's the newcomers that have Berkeley in a tizzy. Cal will welcome two of the nation’s top-5 recruits in Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown, which should give the Golden Bears one of the most purely talented starting fives in the country. Stanford is up next, though Johnny Dawkins appears to be at the end of his rope having never won more than 10 conference games in a season. He'll have his work cut out for him with a roster that lost its three best players to graduation.

The Huskies end February on the road against Oregon State and Oregon. The Beavers are no longer conference bottom feeders and were the surprise of the Pac-12 last year behind the talented Gary Payton II. He returns to Corvallis with higher expectations and a will be joined by a top-25 recruiting class that includes Coach Wayne Tinkle's son Tres, as well as four star shooting guard Stephen Thompson Jr. 

The Huskies close the regular season out at home versus Washington State. Top Stories