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Husky Men's Basketball

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

December 16, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Pac-12 picks … including the Washington game

Got to hand it to Washington fans, no matter the odds they refuse to pick against the Huskies in great numbers.
Lots of folks stuck with the Dawgs over No. 7 Duke in last Saturday’s Guess the UW Score contest.
The Blue Devils won the game 86-80 and stockbooi won the contest 87-83.
Good job. Congrats on the win. Contact me privately via Twitter or email to collect your big prize, which is a hot dog and a soft drink at a UW game.
OK let’s move on.
Today’s games:
Idaho State (2-7) at Utah (1-8), 6 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara 95-2) at Washington (4-4), 7 p.m. (ROOT Sports)
Weber State (6-2) at California (8-2), 7:30 p.m.
Times PST
Picks: Idaho State and Cal
And the UW-UCSB winner is …


The Huskies 80-72.
Washington typically scores a lot of points at home, but I’m going with the Las Vegas oddsmakers who made UW a 7.5-point favorite and set the over/under at 152.
After a three-game road trip that included narrow defeats, the Huskies should feel comfortable returning home where they have a school-record 31-game nonconference winning streak.
Expect them to shoot better, which should come as no great surprise. Still the disparity in shooting at home and on the road is telling.
Sophomore sharp-shooters C.J. Wilcox shoots 45.1 on three-pointers and 59.3 percent at home while Terrence Ross skyrockets from 38.1 percent to 50.0.
Junior guard Abdul Gaddy shoots 41.0 percent from the field and 51.5 percent at Hec Ed. Senior forward Darnell Gant is fourth in the Pac-12 with a 57.1 shooting percentage. At home, his accuracy jumps to 60 percent.
After week of practice, expect the Huskies’ defensive rotations to move a little quicker. Expect Washington to look a little sharper than it did against No. 7 Duke and No. 11 Marquette.
The caliber of opponent isn’t as high, but I’d be surprised if the Huskies dip in their focus and effort. They know what’s at stake. They have postseason hopes and losses in December makes their job more difficult in the Pac-12 season to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
UC Santa Barbara is the perfect opponent for Washington because the Gauchos aren’t a pushover. They have a NBA-caliber talent guard in Orlando Johnson, who is sixth in the nation with a 22.1 scoring average. Guard/forward James Nunnally can also light it up. He’s scored at least 14 points in every game this season and has a career high of 34.
UCSB is a senior-oriented group that shouldn’t be rattled by playing in one of the most hostile gyms in the Pac-12. The Gauchos average 79 points per game.
The starters aren’t very big and they employ a four-guard lineup that should also help the Huskies who will miss 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye (sprained knee) for the next 2-3 games. Still, UCSB has 7-3 center Greg Somogyi on the bench and he’ll create a matchup problem for the Huskies.
This figures to be a showcase for Ross and Johnson who are projected to be taken in the 2012 NBA draft. At least two NBA scouts will attend tonight’s game with an eye on those two and quite possibly Wilcox, Gaddy, Wroten and Nunnally who have also received NBA consideration.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox

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