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Wassell: UW Huskies’ mental toughness under Mike Hopkins shined through in huge upset of No. 2 Kansas

David Crisp, Hameir Wright and the Washington Huskies knocked off No. 2 Kansas. (AP)
LISTEN: Brock Huard and Tom Wassell on Huskies' shocking upset of No. 2 Kansas

The Washington Huskies men’s basketball team was suddenly the talk of the town – and the college basketball world – after a shocking 74-65 upset of No. 2 Kansas in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

It was perhaps the most surprising upset of the college hoops season thus far, and it injects some enthusiasm into the fan base for UW’s first season under head coach Mike Hopkins, who left his post as longtime assistant of legend Jim Boeheim at Syracuse – and the Orange’s coach in waiting – to come to Montlake last spring.

Thybulle scores 19 as Washington upsets No. 2 Kansas

Tom Wassell of 710 ESPN Seattle was already a fan of Hopkins, and the Huskies’ win over the Jayhawks only added to that.

“You know what, we (Bob, Groz and Tom) interviewed Mike Hopkins last year right after he got hired, and we loved the interview, we thought he was great,” Wassell said while filling in on Brock and Salk Thursday morning. “And when I was watching (Wednesday’s) postgame interview, I thought the same thing. I just like this guy. … He just comes off as so genial, he believes in his kids.

“I want to like this guy so much. I hope it continues.”

It just might, due to something Wassell saw out of the Huskies that could certainly help them as the season progresses.

“I hate this expression, but it really shined through last night: mental toughness. You see it so often – you see it in the tournament, you see early (in the season) where it’s David and Goliath … the big boys eventually take over in these games. That didn’t happen last night. Not only did Washington hang in there, they pulled away. The defensive game plan that they had was even more evident in the final I’d say four minutes than it was early on.”

The Huskies won’t have to wait long to get another opportunity to knock off a perennial contender, as they will host No. 12 Gonzaga on Sunday.

To stream or download Wassell’s full discussion about the Huskies’ win with Huard, click here.