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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Picking the UW-WSU winner

Is the third time the charm for Washington? Or will Washington State run its winning streak against its cross-state rival to three?
Before we get to tonight’s game, let’s recap last week’s Guess the UW Score contest.
In the regular-season finale, musca forged a five-way tie at the top of the GTUS standings. The Huskies lost 62-60 and musca predicted a 68-65 USC upset.
It should be noted, musca has won twice while picking UW losses. No matter. A win is a win.
Congrats. Contact me privately to claim your prize.
The other two-contest winners are mjlaw, wayupwaydown, UMontW and dawgpound99.
OK let’s get to tonight’s big game.
There’s no secrets between these teams who played two weeks ago. The Huskies and Cougars know each other as well as anyone teams in the Pac-10. The coaches and players are friends, but that doesn’t mean this rivalry is friendly. In fact, the games can get rather chippy.
Expect a feisty attitude from both teams who understand a NCAA tournament berth may hang in the balance. The winner improves their chances of earning an at-large bid to the Big Dance while the loser will have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday.
That should be enough motivation to ensure a good game.
AND THE UW-WSU WINNER IS …


The Cougars 77-70.
This prediction could be the kiss of death for Washington State. My track record hasn’t exactly been stellar in the Pac-10 Tournament. I failed to accurately predict the first three games so I’m not feeling optimistic about my picks lately.
Still I chose to go with the Cougars because they seem to have a psychological edge over the Huskies. The first two meetings weren’t as close as the scores (87-80 and 80-69) may indicate. The Cougars controlled those games. Their 2-3 zone befuddled the Huskies. They’ve stifled Washington’s explosive offense and forced UW into a perimeter shooting team. The Huskies are 19 of 58 on three-pointers in both games.
If Washington can’t establish more of an inside game, then they’ll lose once again. Matthew Bryan-Amaning is averaging 10 points against WSU, but the Huskies need much from from their senior forward.
Washington will also lean heavily on junior guard Isaiah Thomas because backup point guard Venoy Overton has been suspended from the tournament.
Thomas is the key to the game. Not only does he have to direct UW’s offense, he has to keep WSU’s Reggie Moore out of the lane without fouling. The latter task may be the most important. Thomas must avoid foul trouble or else he runs the risk of becoming tentative offensively. If he’s out of the game, Washington’s offense will struggle. The transition offense won’t run effectively and Justin Holiday is the only other active player with more than 30 assists.
That’s a lot of responsibilities for Thomas. But the Huskies could make his job easier if the wings would make shots. Holiday has connected on just 1 of his last 14 attempts. C.J. Wilcox is 1 for his last 7 and Terrence Ross is scoreless in the past two games. Scott Suggs is the only wing going into the game on a high note after scoring 14 pints on 6-for-8 shooting in the previous game.
The Huskies reject the notion that the Cougars are a bad matchup.
“We can beat Wazzu,” Thomas said. “They’re not like the best team in the country to where we’re like, ‘Man, playing Wazzu, this is going to be tough.’
We’ll see.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Reggie Moore, Scott Suggs

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