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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Pac-10 picks — including UW game

Hats off to the posters who picked all five games correctly last Saturday. They winners:SnohomishRick, SeattleStephens, huskymoon57 and DP11. Great job guys.
But the top prize (a hot dog and soft drink) goes to GFRfan who predicted Washington would win 83-70 and came closest to the score: 84-69. If you’re attending a Husky game this season, please e-mail me privately and let’s arrange when/where you can pick up your prize. Congrats.
Let’s do it again. Same rules as before.
Hopefully, I’ll fare a little better than I did last time. I was 2-3 on Saturday. Ouch!
Oregon State at Stanford, 7 p.m.
Oregon at California, 7:30 p.m.
Washington State at USC, 7;30 p.m.
Washington at UCLA, 7;30 p.m. (FSN)
My picks: Stanford, Cal and USC.
Pac-10 record: 15-12.

The Huskies, 75-57.
I told myself I’d never pick Washington on the road until it won an away game and I’d never pick against UCLA coach Ben Howland when he has four days to prepare for an opponent.
But in theory, this game should be a blowout. The statistics and recent trends suggest Washington, which looks to have reclaimed its mojo, hammers the Bruins who appear battered physically and mentally.
History tells a different story and says UW will struggle tonight because it always struggles on the road against UCLA. The Bruins are 58-6 (.906) against the Huskies in Los Angeles and 43-3 (.935) in Pauley Pavilion.
Those stats are staggering. But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Reggie Miller aren’t playing tonight. And these Bruins pale in comparison to their legendary past.
Howland has tried everything possible to drain every drop of potential from his squad. He pleaded for patience early in the season. He chastised players after a 5-game losing streak. He made them run extra after practices because they committed too many turnovers. And after last Saturday’s 67-46 loss to USC, he said: “I’m embarrassed.”
It’s never good to catch a proud team after a bad defeat, however, the Bruins are nursing several injuries which we documented.
UCLA receives 26.9 percent of its points on three-pointers and the Bruins are one of the best in the Pac-10 shooting treys in conference because of F Michael Roll (.464) and F Nikola Dragovic (.429).
UW should learn from its lesson at Arizona State when sharpshooter Rihards Kuksiks burned them with several treys early because he was being defended by forwards Darnell Gant and Quincy Pondexter, who were a step slow.
Don’t be surprised if defensive ace Justin Holiday plays the post and defends Dragovic, who isn’t a conventional center. And don’t be surprised to see UW go with the four-guard lineup for long stretches with defensive stalwart Venoy Overton defending bigger players as he did Kuksiks.
The Bruins are the worst offensive rebounding team in Pac-10 games and the Huskies don’t have to worry about being being pounded inside because UCLA doesn’t have a reliable post-up player.
And finally, Isaiah Thomas should tilt the game in UW’s favor if he continues his standout defensive performances. He was amazing last week shutting down Stanford’s Jeremy Green and Cal’s Jerome Randle.
Next up: Sophomore Malcolm Lee, who leads the Pac-10 with 23 turnovers in conference games.
Easy pickings. For Thomas. And the Huskies. At least in theory.

Comments | Topics: UCLA


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