Great job by scgotts who predicted Washington would beat Washington State 89-84 and won yesterday’s Guess the UW Score contest. The Huskies won 89-87.
Contact me privately to collect your prize.
OK let’s move on.
Today’s games (all times Pacific).
No. 4 USC vs. No. 1 Arizona, 6:10 p.m. (FSN)
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 3 Washington, 8:40 p.m. (FSN)
Record: 60-32 Pac-10, 125-55 overall.
AND THE UW-OREGON WINNER IS …
The Huskies 82-75.
Playing three games in three days is difficult for any team. It’s going to very tough for Oregon, which is the underdog once again. The Ducks are small and scrappy, which served them well this week in upsets against Arizona State and UCLA.
Got to believe the clock strikes midnight on Cinderella when Oregon tips off against Washington.
The Ducks play an 8-man rotation and they rely on five guards and three forwards. No one is taller than 6-foot-8 Tyrone Nared.
There’s been bright stars at the tournament, but nobody is playing better than 6-6 sophomore forward E.J. Singler. He’s averaging 23 points in the tournament. He’s connected on 15 of 21 field goals and 6 of 7 three-pointers.
In some ways, the Huskies are better suited to contend with Singler after absorbing a 43-point onslaught from Washington State’s Klay Thompson on Thursday. Singler and Thompson score in different ways. Thompson is an amazing gunner who will fire at will from anywhere at any time. Singler has the green light, but he doesn’t take many shots early in the shot clock.
Justin Holiday will likely draw the assignment of slowing down Singler, but he won’t be alone.
Stopping Singler is the top priority, but the Huskies can’t forget about Joevan Catron, a senior forward who was selected second team all-Pac-10. He’s torched UW in two games this season. Catron had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting and 20 points and nine rebounds in the second game.
It was Catron who forced the Huskies to play zone for long minutes in the second game, an 81-76 defeat.
It remains to be seen whether coach Lorenzo Romar will play zone again against the Ducks. It’s also unclear if 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye returns to the starting lineup or if 6-6 freshman guard Terrence Ross makes his second straight start. Ross scored a career-high 25 points against Oregon and led UW to an 87-69 victory at Hec Ed on Jan. 6.
In the 81-76 defeat at Matt Arena, the Huskies attempted just 11 free throws and missed six. Oregon was 19 of 23 at the line. Expect the disparity to decrease tonight.
And as always Isaiah Thomas is the key for Washington. He played 40 minutes last night and may need to do it again. When Thomas is pressing, knocking down three-pointers and finding teammates, the Huskies are difficult to beat.
Washington should also look to exploit Oregon’s small backcourt. Guards Malcolm Armstead and Garrett Sim are 6-foot and 6-1, respectively. Sharp-shooters C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs and Ross will get plenty of good looks at the basket.
The Huskies, the defending tournament champion, have been here before and their experience should carry them to Saturday’s title game.