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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 12, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Thursday links, picks

A clear, sunny morning in L.A., perfect for spending 12 hours inside watching basketball (heck, any day would be perfect for that).
Four games on tap today at the Pac-10 tournament, so let’s take a quick look at each:
ARIZONA VS. ARIZONA STATE (Sun Devils by 3.5): ASU won the first two games in tight fashion, and getting the better of some calls down the stretch. ASU is so dependent on three-point shooting that that is always a key for the Devils — their 394 attempts in conference play were the most of any team. Despite all those attempts, they were ninth in percentage at 33.5. Arizona’s equally dependent on its big three, and depth — and foul trouble — is always an issue. The first five minutes could tell it all — is ASU making its threes? Is the game tightly called? Arizona also desperately needs this win to assure an NCAA Tourney berth. Here’s thinking it gets it. ARIZONA 72, ASU 67.
STANFORD VS. WASHINGTON (Huskies by five): These two played two pretty tight games during the regular season, and the Cardinal just seemed to have some matchups that bothered the Huskies, such as Landry Fields out on the perimeter. Also, Justin Dentmon played what might have been his two worst conference games against the Cardinal, scoring juust 17 points on combined 7-16 shooting. Stanford seems to be playing better. But UW’s defense also seems at its peak right now, making up for some sporadic offense at the moment. Beating a team three times hasn’t seemed an issue for UW in past tournaments – plus, Stanford has a tough turnaround from playing last night to this afternoon – so Huskies should roll. WASHINGTON 81, STANFORD 71.
UCLA VS. WASHINGTON STATE (Bruins by nine): Cougars are being touted as the team no one wants to play in this tournament. But I bet they are exactly the team UCLA wants to play to avenge the defeat three weeks ago at Pauley that essentially cost the Bruins the Pac-10 title. UCLA won’t be caught sleeping early, and its guards can’t do a worse job defending the Cougars than they did in the game in Pauley. Bruins get their revenge. UCLA 68, WSU 58.
CAL VS. USC (Trojans by two): Interesting to see USC favored in this one considering the Bears’ superior regular season. But USC looked like the better team much of the time it played Cal, beating the Bears by 11 at home and losing in overtime in Berkeley. And the Trojans are the most desperate team in this tournament, likely needing to win it to get an NCAA tourney bid, but at least having to make the final. Cal has a recent history of playing pretty well in this tournament, but that will end today as the Trojans – getting some turnaround performances from the likes of slumping guard Dwight Lewis – keep hope alive. USC 74, CAL 67.
A FEW LINKS. …
Nick Daschel of Buster Sports disagrees with me on USC-Cal but we have the rest of the picks the same.
— The San Francisco Chronicle says Stanford is starting to peak.
— The San Jose Mercury News has a similar theme.
— Was last night’s game the last for Oregon coach Ernie Kent? George Schroeder of the Eugene Register-Guard does a nice job examining the issue.
— More on the Pac-10 from The Oregonian.
— Seattle writer Gary Washburn has a nice breakdown of the tournament, as well.
— The Kansas City Star includes UW coach Lorenzo Romar in its top five list for national Coach of the Year honors and breaks down the case for each, ultimately concluding that Kansas’ Bill Self may get the nod.
LIVE CHAT AT 11:30 A.M. — Also, I’ll try to do another live chat around 11:30 or so this morning from Staples Center, going for an hour or so.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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