With a name like spot on, you better be pretty good with predictions.
In Saturday’s Guess the UW Score contest, spot on was nearly spot on in picking Washington to win 70-67 at Arizona. The Huskies won 69-67.
The winning prediction was one better than a handful of folks who were two points off the final score.
(Note: It’s the second win for spot on, who moves into a three-way tie with justinholidaycanplay and lghusky for the season lead.)
Congratulations. Contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter to claim your prize.
OK let’s move on. We got a six-pack of games so let’s get to it.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
UCLA (12-9, 5-4) at Washington (14-7, 7-2), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Oregon (15-6, 6-3) at Utah (5-16, 2-7), 6 p.m.
Oregon State (14-7, 4-5) at Colorado (14-7, 6-3), 6 p.m.
Arizona State (7-14, 3-6) at Stanford (15-6, 5-4), 7 p.m.
USC (6-16, 1-8) at Washington State (11-10, 3-6), 7 p.m.
Arizona (14-8, 5-4) at California (17-5, 7-2), 8 p.m. (FSN)
Picks: Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, WSU and Cal
AND THE UW-UCLA WINNER IS …
The Huskies 78-72.
It’s difficult to believe UCLA’s last victory in Seattle was in 2004, coach Ben Howland’s first year with the Bruins. Washington has won seven straight against UCLA at Edmundson Pavilion. That’s a remarkable streak against a very good team that won conference championships and made two Final Four appearances during the span.
At times, the Washington has simply overwhelmed UCLA. Such was the case in 2010, when the Huskies won 97-68. Some games have been relatively close. Last year, UW managed a 70-63 win thanks to C.J. Wilcox, who scored all 24 of his points in the second half.
Historically the Huskies and Lorenzo Romar are a difficult matchup for the Bruins and Howland. Washington has been able to use its up-tempo attack to speed up the game, while UCLA wants to play a half-court oriented type of game. UW’s guards have traditionally pressured and attacked the Bruins back court.
The hostility at Hec Ed has also bothered the Bruins in the past. Howland talked about piping in noise at practice to simulate the noise inside the arena. He said UCLA will use flash cards to communicate non-verbally because players have been unable to hear instructions in previous games. When you take precautions like that you either prepare your squad for what it’s going to face or you reinforce the idea that Hec Ed is one of loudest arena in the Pac-12.
It’s kind of like teams who play Colorado in the high altitude. Do coaches address the situation and try to combat the conditions or ignore it and just play ball. There’s really no good answer.
Aside from UCLA’s losing streak at Hec Ed, two other factors may impact the outcome.
Washington is 11-2 at home while UCLA is 2-6 on the road and has not beaten a Division I team outside of Los Angeles. The Bruins only road wins are against USC (66-47) and Division II Chamindade (92-60) in Hawaii.
UCLA was swept in the Bay Area and in Oregon in the first half of the Pac-12 season. In those games, the Bruins lost two narrow defeats and they lost convincingly twice.
UCLA has a senior backcourt in Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson and they should be able to keep their composure in a hostile place like Hec Ed. Still, Washington has a considerable size advantage with guards Tony Wroten Jr. and Abdul Gaddy. The matchup between sophomore wings Terrence Ross and Tyler Lamb also favors the Huskies and Aziz N’Diaye has more size and experience in the low post than David and Travis Wear who are better adept on the perimeter than in the post.
Washington appears to have an edge in the individual matchups, but UCLA is playing well recently offensively. The Bruins lead the Pac-12 with a 50.4 percent shooting percentage and they’ve committed just 106 turnovers in league games which is the third fewest in the conference. Defensively, UCLA blocks shots – it is second in the conference with 34 – and rebound.
If this game were in Los Angeles, the Bruins might be favored. But Washington plays well at home and UCLA struggles on the road. Don’t see any reason why those trends shouldn’t continue tonight.