Apologize for the late/early posting this morning. Hopefully we’ll get a few picks in the Guess the UW Score contest.
And don’t forget it’s still not too late to join the Pick & Roll contest. This is probably the last day to sign up and have a realistic shot at winning the $200 grand prize. You can always join later, make picks and track your results.
Now back to the guessing game we love and hate on this blog.
Lots of contestants – myself not included – went against the Washington on Thursday, which appears to be a growing sentiment. Here’s a couple of samples from the comments section in the previous Guess the UW Score post.
UtahDawg wrote: “Like Percy, I’m not going to pick the Dawgs on the road until they win one. I think they’re too young and undisciplined to win on the road yet. Maybe toward the end of the year but not yet. Unlike Percy, I’m going to stick to that plan.”
skeets wrote: “Hate to say it, but each time this team starts to show progress, over confidence rears its ugly head and they put up a klunker, plus, Colorado likes to pack in a zone and the Dawgs get impatient. Maybe this is the game they make the maturity leap, but I don’t think so.”
They were the big winners. UtahDawg picked Colorado to win 82-73 and skeets had the Buffaloes stampeding to an 80-71 victory. CU won 87-69.
Good job folks. Contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter to claim your prizes.
Alright let’s move on.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Washington (8-6, 2-1) at Utah (4-10, 1-1), 11 a.m. (FSN)
Washington State (9-6, 1-2) at Colorado (10-4, 2-0), 1 p.m. (FSN)
Stanford (12-3, 2-1) at Oregon State (11-4, 1-2), 7 p.m. (ROOT)
Arizona State (5-9, 1-1) at UCLA (8-7, 1-2), 7:30 p.m. (FSAZ/FSW)
Picks: Colorado, OSU and UCLA
AND THE UW-UTAH WINNER IS …
The Huskies 80-60.
It has to end at some point, right? Washington’s five-game road losing streak can’t go on forever. Or can it?
Coach Lorenzo Romar drew a parallel between the current skid to the seven straight road losses UW had at the start of the 2009-10 season. Once the Huskies finally won – the claimed a nail-biter at Stanford – they went on to win seven consecutive road games.
Maybe it will happen again.
The Utes appear to be the perfect opponent for a team that struggles on the road. They won their first Pac-12 game in dramatic fashion Thursday. The 62-60 overtime win against Washington State allowed Utah fans to momentarily forget how awful the season has been for the Utes.
Romar admitted he was surprised by Utah’s win Thursday considering last week they lost by 40 points in the conference opener at Colorado. He likened Utah’s road problems to Washington’s.
“What’s impressive is how hard they play,” Romar said. “And how much energy they play with. That’s something that catches your attention.”
It’s a nice compliment, but the fact of the matter is Washington is favored at every position. UW also has a better bench and more tournament experience on the coaching staff. Utah is essentially a one-man team that lives and dies with 5-foot-11 senior guard Josh Watkins. He’s the real deal. Tough and gritty. Creative in the paint. And he won’t back down from a challenge. Washington has had difficulties with crafty, high-scoring guards this season. Nevada’s Deonte Burton scored 31 points versus UW and South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters had 34.
It’s a head-scratching problem considering the Huskies’ stable of guards that has drawn interest from the NBA.
There’s two other significant variables working against the Huskies.
For starters, the noon tip-off may be a problem. That’s 11 a.m. in Seattle. Washington is 0-3 this season in games that begin at or before noon Pacific time. Not only have the Huskies lost those contests, they’ve been destroyed.
— Saint Louis raced to 50-25 halftime lead before winning 77-64.
— Duke led 40-26 at the break before claiming an 86-80 victory that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate.
— And South Dakota State led 51-33 at intermission during a 92-73 win at Washington.
Someone needs to check the Huskies’ alarm clocks this morning. There’s a pattern here. Slow starts. Early deficits. And second-half rallies that fall short.
Washington is a front-running team. Especially at home. It has yet to prove it has what it takes to make a comeback. Especially on the road.
And speaking of the road, that’s the other variable working against the Huskies. Their troubles have been well documented in this space so we won’t rehash it all again.
It’s not as if the 15,000-seat Huntsman Center is an intimidating venue. Not sure how many Utah fans will make it today’s game. Sophomore C.J. Wilcox, who starred at nearby Pleasant Grove High, expects a large gathering of family and friends. He’s hoping his supporters will help the Huskies get their first win.
It wouldn’t hurt the Huskies to see some purple and gold sprinkled in the crowd today. At this point, anything would help.