Reminder: We’re launching a new season-long contest called Pick & Roll!, which was inspired by those who read this blog.
We’ll still continue with the Guess the UW Score game, which brings joy, humiliation and hot dogs to those who participate.
After everyone failed to correctly pick the winner in the South Dakota State game, we got back on track last Thursday following Washington’s 74-51 win over Cal State Northridge.
Congrats to seattle dawg who predicted a 78-63 UW win and came the closest to predicting the final score. Good job.
Contact me privately via email or Twitter to claim your prize.
OK let’s move on.
We’re adding a little twist to today’s Guess the UW Score. In addition to picking the Washington-Oregon State mens’ basketball game we’re asking you to give a score and predict the winner of tonight’s Alamo Bowl between Washington and Baylor.
We’ll tabulate the combined scores and the closest is the big winner for the night. Good luck.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Oregon State (10-2) at Washington (6-5), 6 p.m. (ROOT Sports)
USC (5-8) at California (10-3), 6 p.m.
Oregon (9-3) at Washington State (8-4), 6 p.m.
UCLA (7-5) at Stanford (10-2), 8 p.m. (FSN)
Picks: Cal, WSU and Stanford
AND THE UW-OSU WINNER IS …
The Huskies 80-75.
Having a difficult time getting a good read on this game. Las Vegas says Washington is a 6-point favorite and history says the Huskies have an 8-game winning streak against Oregon State at Edmunson Pavilion.
And yet a few signs point to an upset.
Oregon State, one of three Pac-12 schools to win 10 nonconference games, is riding a lot of positive momentum into the conference opener. Coach Craig Robinson has the Beavers believing they’re going to the NCAA tournament team, which would be the first time in 22 years.
There’s a lot of reason to like Oregon State, not just in today’s game but to compete for a conference title.
The Beavers are loaded. They have a rising star (Jared Cunningham), inside scoring (Devon Collier, Angus Brandt and Eric Moreland), outside shooters (Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson), a play maker (Joe Burton) and a solid bench to form a 10-man rotation.
And yet like every Pac-12 team, Oregon State is an incomplete team with a track record of coming up short in big games. Under Robinson, the Beavers are 1-6 against Washington, including a 103-72 defeat in Seattle last season.
“Usually when we come up there we’re absolutely besides ourselves with worry,” he said. “We’re not that this time around. We’re anxious because it’s the start of another part of our development.
“All conference games are important especially ones on the road. What I’m really interested in seeing is how we’ll do on the road against a team like the University of Washington that is a couple of possessions from being a ranked team.”
There’s also the belief Washington’s difficult nonconference schedule has prepared the Huskies for the Pac-12 whereas Oregon State didn’t have a difficult ‘true’ road game. The Beavers played at Towson and Chicago State and won those games easily.
OSU won eight of its games by 20 or more points and they’ve rarely been tested or seen a smothering defense like Washington’s.
Because of their early losses, the Huskies (6-5) are playing like a desperate team that’s been humbled – and that might be a good thing.
It’s essential for Washington to take care of the ball because OSU is one of the best teams in the Pac-12 at creating turnovers (20.3 per game) and blocking shots (5.1). The Beavers have outscored opponents in fast break points in 11 games, including a 36-4 disparity in their previous outing against Chicago State.
Washington must make Oregon State execute a half court offense while keeping the Beavers out of the lane and off the free throw line. That’s how Idaho destroyed OSU 74-60. The Vandals packed it inside and forced the Beavers to take 23 three-pointers. They only made three. Vanderbilt committed just 15 fouls in its 64-62 win over OSU and the Beavers attempted a season-low 14 free throws.
The spotlight will be on junior point guard Abdul Gaddy and junior center Aziz N’Diaye because they have the ability to control the game on both ends of the floor.
If Gaddy can contain Starks and use his 6-3 frame to contest shots and passes from the 5-9 guard, then that negates a big part of OSU’s offense. On the other end, Gaddy has to orchestrate the offense the way he did in the prior game when he had a career-high eight assists. When he’s getting everyone involved offensively, Washington should score enough points to win.
And if N’Diaye can stay out of foul trouble and protect the basket, then the Huskies can turn the Beavers into a perimeter-oriented team.
And if it’s a jump-shooting contest, the Huskies should win that game – especially at home.