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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Pac-10 Picks … including the Washington game

What a bunch of homers – myself included – on this blog. Of course it’s expected because we follow the Huskies, but still the fact became overwhelming apparent as I was tallying the results of Thursday’s Guess the UW Score contest.
For the first time since we started the contest midway through last season only one poster guessed the correct winner. Or I should say, one poster submitted a correct pick before the 6 p.m. start. Hate to be a stickler, but you got to post before the game begins.
So congratulations to natethegreat! who guessed the Beavers would pull off a 71-69 upset. Oregon State won 68-56. Great job. Very few people saw that one.
Contact me privately via e-mail (pallen@seattletimes.com) to collect your prize.
And speaking of awards, here’s another reminder that I’m accepting ideas for a end-of-the-year grand prize given to the poster who wins the most Guess the UW Score contests. Love the ideas so far.
Okay, let’s move on. We have an early start and nearly a full slate. USC is the only team with the day off.
Today’s games (all times Pacific).
St. John’s at UCLA, 10 a.m. (CBS)
No. 20 Washington at Oregon, 1 p.m., (FSN)
Arizona State at Stanford, 3 p.m. (FSN)
Washington State at Oregon State, 5 p.m. (FSN NW)
No. 21 Arizona at California, 5 p.m.
Picks: UCLA, Stanford, WSU and Cal
Record: 33-14 Pac-10, 97-36 overall.
AND THE UW-OREGON WINNER IS …


The Huskies 65-60.
I asked Justin Holiday on Thursday if Washington needs to be the underdog as it was last season when it finished with a 7-2 record in the second half of the Pac-10 season. The Husky senior co-captain didn’t believe it was true. He said the team had performed well early in the season when it was the overwhelming favorite to win the league.
If UW captures the Pac-10 title, we may look back at today’s game as the turning point. The Huskies say they’re not at a crossroad, but it sure feels like it. The team that played Thursday in Corvallis, Ore. doesn’t stand a chance of winning the conference or achieving any of the lofty preseason goals that it has.
Junior co-captain Isaiah Thomas talked about getting back to Husk basketball, which is defending, creating steals and missed shots that ignites the transition offense. We’ll see if that happens today.
Washington’s 87-69 victory against Oregon last month in Seattle is a little misleading. Oregon led 47-46 and the score was tied 51-51 before UW went on a 22-8 run that broke the game open.
The Huskies needed a career best 25 points from freshman Terrence Ross, who hasn’t come close to matching that performance in ensuing games.
They also needed a 2-3 zone to slow down Oregon big man Joevan Catron who pounded them inside for 20 points and 10 rebounds. He attempted as many free throws (9 of 10) as Washington (5 of 10). The Ducks are at home and Catron will likely receive favorable calls from the refs, which spells trouble for the Huskies.
In the past two UW defeats, its opponents have attempted more free throws. Oregon State went to the line 38 times and converted 24. Washington State took 30 foul shots and made 19. The Huskies must defend without fouling, which gives opponents a chance for an easy basket and slows the game down.
Coach Lorenzo Romar fingered the defense as the root of UW’s problems, which may be a challenge to the team’s best defensive players senior guard Venoy Overton and Holiday. They were Pac-10 all-defensive team picks last season, but they haven’t played like it this season.
There’s plenty of room for improvement. Thomas needs to recover after two straight games when he committed seven turnovers and Matthew Bryan-Amaning hasn’t been efficient offensively in the pair of losses.
It’s a bit of a homecoming for Ross, who lived in Vancouver, Wash. and went to high school in Portland. He’s likely to have a large following today.
And it’s a bigger game for the Huskies who need to salvage a split this weekend. They’ll likely fall from the top 25 rankings next week, but staying close to first-place Arizona is imperative
Las Vegas says UW is a 7 1/2-point favorite today, but for the first time in a long time the Huskies feel like the underdog to win the conference race. And maybe that’s a good thing for Washington.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA

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