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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 10, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Poll question: Oregon or WSU; Handicapping the field

No. 8 Oregon (15-15) vs. No. 9 Washington State (16-14)
Key players: Oregon – G Tajuan Porter (11.9 ppg., 164 3pt FGs) and C Michael Dunigan (9.3 ppg.,5.0 rpg., 37 blocks). WSU – G/F Klay Thompson (19.6 ppg.) and G Reggie Moore (12.9 ppg., 4.1 apg.)
Series: Oregon won 91-89 (2ot) and 74-66.
Summary: These teams met last Saturday so they’re very familiar with each other. According to reports, Oregon coach Ernie Kent will be fired after the season and tonight could be his final game with his alma mater. The Ducks have won three of the past four games while WSU has lost nine of the past 11. The Cougars have been held to fewer than 60 points in five of their last seven games.
My pick: Oregon 70-58.

Who wins: No. 8 Oregon or No. 9 Washington State?surveys

HANDICAPPING THE REST OF THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT:


No. 1 California (21-9)
Comment:
The Bears have won their last four games and seven of their last eight. Cal is a dangerous tournament team because they have experience and three players (Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson) with at least 1,000 career points. Still, Cal doesn’t have ideal depth to play three consecutive nights. Coach Mike Montgomery talked about trying to “steal time” for players to rest on the bench. Also, Jorge Gutierrez is recovering from an ankle sprain.
Championship chances: Very good.
Cal is lock to make the NCAA tournament, but it’s trying to improve its seed. The Bears should make it to the conference semifinals and if they win the conference tourney, then they might be rewarded with an 6-8 seed in the Big Dance.
No. 2 Arizona State (22-9)
Comment:
Can we all admit Herb Sendek has built a program in Tempe, Ariz. For the third straight year, the Sun Devils have won at least 20 games and this year he did it with smoke and mirrors. ASU’s second place finish is its best since 1981. Since their stumble in the opening week of the conference, the Devils have looked mighty impressive.
Championship chances: Very good.
Five different players have led ASU in scoring in the past seven games, which makes it difficult for opponents to shut down its offense. Still, the Devils are a low-scoring team and 12 times they’ve been held to 61 points or fewer. In those games they are 7-5. ASU should advance to the semifinals setting up a big showdown with Washington.
No. 3 Washington (21-9)
Comment:
No team is hotter in the Pac-10 than the Huskies, which has won nine of the past 11 games. The Huskies are hitting their stride and the only worry is Quincy Pondexter who is suffering from a cold that appears to be getting worse. Otherwise UW is healthy. The Huskies have the depth to play three consecutive games and they did it at the start of the season, winning the Athletes in Action Basketball Classic.
Championship chances: Very good.
Beating Oregon State on Thursday won’t be easy because the Beavers have the type of defense that can drive opponents crazy. Still, the Huskies appear focused and advancing to the conference semis keeps them in the bubble conversation.
No. 4 Arizona (16-14)
Comment:
The Wildcats are also streaking having won their past three games. They also had to rally from behind in all three wins, including the victory at Stanford, which required a game-winning shot at the buzzer.
Championship chances: Good.
If the Cats want to preserve its 25-year NCAA tournament streak, they will have to win the conference tourney. Arizona has tournament experience. It played three straight games in the Maui Invitational and went 1-2. The Cats also have a senior point guard in Nic Wise and they have a low-post scoring in Derrick Williams, the Freshman of the Year. This is the type of team that can get on a roll and go a long way.
No. 5 UCLA (13-17)
Comment:
The big news surrounds C/F Reeves Nelson and his injured left eye. The All-Freshman pick sat out the last four games following two laser surgeries to repair a partially torn retina. Doctors cleared him to play last week, but he chose to sit out as a precaution. Reeves said he’ll play tomorrow, but how effective will he be?
Chances: Moderate.
The short-handed Bruins have stumbled down the stretch, losing three of its last four games and six of its last eight. Still, the tournament is in their backyard. Blue-blood Bruins fans traditionally haven’t traveled across town to support UCLA at the Staples Center, but perhaps sensing some desperation they will make the short drive.
No. 6 Oregon State (14-16)
Comment:
Everyone is waiting to see what adjustments coach Craig Robinson has in store for Washington after being swept in the regular season. Will OSU scrap the 1-3-1 zone? Not likely. But the Beavers need to figure out a way to slow down the Huskies who are averaging 79 points against them. OSU is second in the league allowing an average of 61.1 points per game.
Championship chances: Long shot.
If the Beavers could swap with Washington State and become the ninth seed, then they would improve their chances of advancing to the semifinals. OSU swept the series with Oregon and it’s won three of the last four against Cal. Facing UW is a tough matchup for the Beavers.
No. 7 Stanford (13-17)
Comment:
If the Cardinal had a veteran point guard, it might be dangerous. Sophomore Jarrett Mann just doesn’t have the experience to guide Stanford to a deep run and Landry Fields can only carry it so far. Jeremy Green will add scoring, however, Stanford is lacking an inside offensive threat.
Championship chances: Long shot.
No team seeded seventh or lower has ever won the tournament. No. 6 USC, which won last year, was the lowest seeded conference tourney champion. Still Fields and Green gives the Cardinal a puncher’s chance.

Comments | Topics: Reggie Moore, top 25, UCLA

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