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December 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Pac-10 picks — including the UW game

It’s the last big non-conference night for the Pac-10, which starts conference play in nine days.
We have a full slate of games so let’s delve right into it.
USC vs. Western Michigan, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Idaho State at Oregon, 7 p.m.
Stanford at Texas Tech, 7 p.m.
Washington State vs. LSU, 7 p.m. (CBSCS)
Colorado State at UCLA, 7:30 p.m.
California at Kansas, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Texas A&M at Washington, 8 p.m. (FSN)
My picks: USC, Oregon, Texas Tech, LSU, Colorado State and Kansas.
And the UW-Texas A&M winner is …


— The Huskies.
If this game were played on a neutral court or in College Station, Texas, then I’d pick the Aggies. But Washington is a different team at home where its 7-0, average 85.6 points per game and allow opponents 65.8 points.
The Huskies’ role players are more comfortable at Hec Edmunson and it’s reasonable to expect the supporting cast to repeat last Saturday’s dominant performance although the score shouldn’t be as lopsided.
In fact, the game will probably be decided in the final minutes because both teams are evenly matched. They have dominant guards, pedestrian post players and deep benches.
Still Quincy Pondexter is a matchup nightmare for the Aggies and it will be interesting to see if Texas A&M will be forced to double team him.
Taking care of the ball is vital for Washington. Texas A&M averages just 12.2 turnovers per game, while its opponents average 15.2. UW averages 14.4.
Perimeter shooting could also prove to be the difference. In their 84-81 loss to New Mexico, Texas A&M missed 20 of 28 three-pointers.
Ever since their loss to Georgetown, the Huskies have pointed to this game for redemption. They know beating a quality opponent like No. 19 Texas A&M is their last chance before conference play to make an impression on pollsters and college basketball fans. And it may be the last time they play a ranked opponent.
More importantly, it’s an opportunity for UW to really believe once again that it’s one of the best teams in the country. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to beat a higher-ranked team that’s made four straight NCAA tournament appearances and won at least 20 games the past five years.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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