Gotta admit, this is becoming one of my favorite post of the week. I love reading the comments and picks from the previous games. Funny stuff. Just goes to show, never bet with your heart.
Anyway, good job again over the weekend. A lot of folks went 4-1, including myself. (Who would have thought Oregon State would snap a 27-year losing streak at Arizona?) And many people finished 3-2.
But we had four folks who correctly picked all five games. The winners: NC Husky, danthedawg, sequimdawgbob and dawgpackfan.
Now onto the Guess the UW score game and I’m happy to report for the second time this season someone correctly guessed the score.
The big winner this week is la idiota, who predicted UW would win 78-61. Very good win. Congrats. I hope you’re attending one of the games this week. If so, e-mail me privately to arrange how you can collect your big prize.
UCLA at Washington State, 5:30 p.m. (FSN)
Stanford at Oregon, 7 p.m.
California at Oregon State, 7:30 p.m. (FSN)
USC at Washington, 7:30 (FSNW)
My picks: WSU, Oregon and OSU.
Pac-10 record: 40-23.
AND THE UW-USC WINNER IS …
The Huskies, 71-63.
USC coach Kevin O’Neill made no bones about the Trojans’ game plan.
“There are no secrets,” he said earlier this week. “We’re going to play the same way. We always play the same way. We play man to man. We’ll play the same way we did the last game.”
The Trojans will attempt to negate Quincy Pondexter with 6-foor-6 Marcus Johnson playing in front of the UW senior star to deny the entry pass in the post. USC will also shade an extra defender, either 6-8 Alex Stepheson or 6-9 Nikola Vucevic to help and protect the rim if Pondexter does retrieve the pass.
Look for the Huskies to counter and move Pondexter to the top of the key where he’ll be able to identify where the double team is coming from and react appropriately. Washington did this in the final minutes of last Saturday’s win at Stanford and Pondexter made assists on consecutive possessions to Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner for three-pointers.
In the 26-point beatdown at Galen Center last month, the Huskies converted just 3 of 13 three-pointers. Thomas was 1 for 5, Venoy Overton 1 for 3, Scott Suggs 1 for 1 and Turner didn’t take a shot.
The Huskies are one the worst three-point shooting teams in the Pac-10, but they should shoot a little better at home than they did in Los Angeles. They’ve converted at least four treys in the past nine home games and will need to continue that streak.
More importantly, whoever is being defended by Vucevic and G Dwight Lewis could have a big night because Vucevic and Lewis are likely the help defenders who will leave their man to double team Pondexter. In their first meeting, Justin Holiday took 10 shots, missing six, and Abdul Gaddy had six shots, making three.
Forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning could make life easier for UW if he’s able to draw early fouls against the Trojans. Conversely, it’s imperative he avoids silly fouls because he’s the only Husky tall enough to counter USC’s massive front line.
The Trojans are a matchup nightmare for the Huskies, but they’re not unbeatable. USC is 1-6 in road games with losses at Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon.