After last week’s blunder, I sincerely hope there’s no mistakes in tallying the results from Tuesday’s Guess the UW Score Contest.
Many contestants picked No. 11 Marquette to beat Washington, but no one came closer to picking the score than Bow Down To The Dub who predicted an 84-76 Golden Eagles victory. Final score: 79-77.
Congratulations. Contact me privately to claim your big prize.
OK let’s move on.
Today’s Pac-12 schedule:
Washington (4-3) vs. No. 7 Duke (8-1), 9 a.m. (CBS)
BYU (7-2) at Utah (1-7), 11 a.m.
Clemson (4-3) at Arizona (6-3), 1 p.m.
North Dakota State (7-1) at Arizona State (3-5), 1 p.m.
New Mexico (6-2) at USC (4-5), 4 p.m.
Penn (5-5) at UCLA (2-5), 4 p.m.
Fresno State (4-5) at Oregon (4-2), 7 p.m.
Picks: BYU, Arizona, ASU, New Mexico, New Mexico, UCLA and Oregon.
AND THE UW-DUKE WINNER IS …
The Blue Devils 85-75.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said Washington is two plays away from being 6-1 and he’s got to sell that to his players. He’s got to get them to believe that if they had taken care of a few late-game miscues, they would have a very respectable record including two road wins. Romar has to get them focusing on what could have been rather than the fact UW enters Saturday’s game with a two-game losing streak and losers in three of the last four games.
Former UW great Eldridge Recasner, who came up short in two games against Duke, said one of the keys to beating an elite team like the Blue Devils is believing in yourself.
Theoretically Washington matches up well against Duke. Both teams lost its three leading scorers from last season and they employ three guards lineups. Offensively both teams like to dribble drive to set up three-point shots. Both teams also rely on just one legit post player.
Duke has 6-11 junior forward Mason Plumlee, who averages 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds. Washington has 7-foot junior center Aziz N’Diaye averages 7.6 points and 9.3 rebounds.
The major difference is Duke likes to use use Plumlee in pick-n-roll situations and he’s able to catch difficult entry passes and finish at the rim.
The play is one of the staples of the Blue Devil attack and the Huskies will need to figure out how it’s going to defend it without giving up open three-pointers.
Expect dynamic freshman point guard Austin Rivers to use the high pick-n-roll at the top of the key to try and isolate N’Diaye. That’s a bad matchup for the Huskies, but they have to live with it because it’s dangerous to leave shooters such as Seth Dawkins, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly who each have made at least 11 three-point shots this season.
It’s best to make Rivers, the only Duke player who can create for himself on the perimeter, to pass the ball because he has 20 turnovers and 20 assists.
The Blue Devils will dump the ball in the low post to Plumlee and its best if Washington declines to double team and allow N’Diaye to defend him one on one. Plumlee is an adequate passer and he’s third on the team in assists. It’s also a good idea to foul Plumlee if he has an open look in the post because he’s a 42.3 percent free throw shooter.
Washington should be able to create scoring options with screens for shooters Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox. The Huskies can also get points out of Tony Wroten Jr. and Ross who can use their superior size in isolation plays to bully their way to the rim.
Duke isn’t overly imposing defensively and if Washington wins the rebounding battle, then it should receive enough second-chance scoring chances to offset the Blue Devils tenacious man-to-man defense.
This is a great opportunity for Washington. The Huskies are 9-17 vs. top-10 ranked opponents during Romar’s 10 years at Washington.
The noon (EST) start time shouldn’t be a problem considering Washington has spent six days in New York.