The Abilene Christian Wildcats punched their first ticket to the big dance this year, and their reward is facing the most prestigious program in the history of college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats.
And if PJ Washington is sidelined with an injury for the game, that might give Abilene Christian a puncher's chance to pull off the upset.
Abilene Christian was a Division II power for years, up until their move to D-I just six years ago. And because of a probationary period where they could not compete in postseason play due to the move up, this is only the second year that ACU has been eligible for the NCAA Tournament.
ACU head coach Joe Golding said that “we might have a chance if Coach Cal lets him (PJ) play in a walking boot. If he takes the walking boot off, we’ve got a problem.”
Golding did speak highly of Washington, talking about his ability to score the ball from anywhere on the court, including dominating on the block, in particular. He said the plan is to force PJ away from the basket and to avoid his patented jump-hook from the left or right block.
Golding was audibly excited about facing the Wildcats (of Kentucky):
“We could play Kentucky, I don’t know, man, 10,000 times, we might win once, but that’s March Madness. That’s what tomorrow night’s about.”
ACU forward Hayden Farquhar even talked highly about PJ and his ability to stretch the floor with his athleticism:
“He’s so athletic, it’s really cool just to watch him play. I’ve watched him play for the past two years, his freshman and sophomore years, it’s really cool to see that.”
Farquhar added that Abilene Christian’s practices are preparing for Kentucky as if PJ Washington is going to play:
Abilene Christian forward Hayden Farquhar (@hayden_hf) talked with me about Kentucky’s size and PJ Washington’s impact on the court. pic.twitter.com/fOJGPc43QG— Pat Jaggers (@Pat_Jaggers) March 20, 2019
Abilene Christian is a 22-point underdog against Kentucky tomorrow night, but if PJ Washington were to not play, it might be a closer game than anticipated.