We had over 150 entries in Sunday’s Guess the UW Score and only three posters picked the upset. Wow. We’ll see how many folks jump off the bandwagon today.
But let’s recap Sunday’s contest. Congrats to 80HourEnergy who guessed Washington State would win 78-74. The final score: WSU 80-69.
Since you’re out of state, I can send you an promotional UW men’s basketball app as prize for winning the contest. You also have a choice of a hot dog and soft drink at a UW game this week.
OK let’s move on.
Today’s games (all times Pacific).
Oregon at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.
UCLA at Washington, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
USC at Washington State, 7 p.m.
Oregon State at No. 18 Arizona, 8 p.m. (FSN)
Picks: Oregon, USC and Arizona
Record: 53-24 Pac-10, 118-47 overall.
AND THE UW-UCLA WINNER IS …
The Huskies 80-75.
I’m guessing Sunday’s 11-point loss to Washington State was just one of those awful games that every team has each season. Before that miserable performance the Huskies had been on a roll.
They won three straight games, including a blowout against California. Then they went to Arizona and played one of their best games of the season in an 87-86 loss.
A month ago I thought Washington would easily put away UCLA in the rematch. The Huskies had little trouble with the Bruins at their place and won 74-63 on Dec. 31 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. UW had a 52-35 with 14:09 left and needed to hang on for the win.
After that game, coach Lorenzo Romar said: “We got to be hungry and we got to keep getting better.”
Admittedly the Huskies haven’t improved – especially defensively – as much as Romar had hoped. Meanwhile, UCLA is vastly improved since the first meeting.
The Bruins (21-8, 12-4) have incentive on their side. They’re tied for first in the Pac-10 and they know a road sweep this week in Washington could drop them to third in the conference.
The Huskies (19-9, 10-6) also has plenty of motivation. They need a couple of wins to solidify their bid for a NCAA tournament at-large invitation.
This game is going to be test of wills. Washington averages 85.4 points per game and it wants to push the tempo. UCLA averages 71.0 points and it favors a half court game.
Last year the Huskies destroyed UCLA 97-68 at home and they’ve beaten the Bruins six of the past eight years at Hec Ed. The Bruins can be rattled. At least they were in defeats to Washington. UCLA has a lot talent and four players (Reeves Nelson, Tyler Honeycutt, Joshua Smith and Malcolm Lee) capable of taking over a game. There’s not a senior on the roster and there’s a leadership void among the young Bruins.
The same might be said about the Huskies.
Washington has three seniors and three juniors, but Romar admitted UW has to “focus on being focused.” With so much on the line, it remains to be seen if the Huskies will be focused or if they’ll throw out another clunker like they did Sunday.