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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 18, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Pac-12 picks … including the UW game

Few posters went out on a limb and picked against Washington in Thursday’s Guess the UW Score contest. That was a wise move. Still not many folks – myself included – predicted a relatively high-scoring game in what has recently been a defensive series between Washington and Arizona State.
The Huskies won 77-69 and so did fan1– who guessed UW would claim a 78-69 victory.
Nice job. If you’re going to today’s game stop by press row to claim your prize. The same goes to any other past winners.
Apologies to PoulsboDawg and one other who stopped by Thursday. Three winners arrived earlier and cleaned me out of food coupons. I’ve restocked for the home finale, which is also the last day to pick up a hot dog and soft drink.
Alright early start so let’s move on.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
UCLA (15-11, 8-6) at St. John’s (10-16, 4-10), 10 a.m. (CBS)
Arizona (19-8, 10-4) at Washington (18-8, 11-3), noon (FSN)
Colorado (17-8, 9-4) at Utah (5-20, 2-11), 2 p.m. (FSN)
Arizona State (8-18, 4-10) at Washington State (13-13, 5-9), 5 p.m. (ROOT)
Oregon State (15-11, 5-9) at California (21-6, 11-3), 7 p.m.
Times PST
Picks: SJU, Colorado, WSU and Cal
AND THE UW-ARIZONA WINNER IS …


The Huskies 71-70
History says the game will decided on the final play just like the last three encounters between these teams.
Washington won 69-67 on Jan. 28 at the McKale Center when C.J. Wilcox made two free throws with five seconds left and Tony Wroten Jr. saved the victory with a last-second block near the basket.
Washington won 77-75 in overtime on March 12, 2011 when Isaiah Thomas drained a last-second jumper to win the Pac-10 Tournament title.
And Arizona won 87-86 on Feb. 19, 2011 when Derrick Williams made two outstanding defensive plays in the final seconds, including a blocking Darnell Gant’s short jumper and forcing a turnover on the final possession.
Why should today be any different? Maybe we should just fast forward through the first 39 minutes because somehow, someway these teams have created some of the best moments in Pac-12 basketball in recent history. This is how rivalries are created. You can’t fake this stuff. It’s not hype or some trumped-up creation from the promotion department.
This is what college basketball is all about.
And there’s no overstating the importance of today’s game. Got to believe the Pac-12 regular-season title and a NCAA tournament at-large berth hangs in the balance.
If Arizona loses, the Wildcats fall two games behind the Huskies with three remaining. UW also would get a higher conference tournament seed if they finished tied with Arizona because it swept the season series.
Washington has a little more wiggle room, but not much. A loss drops them in a tie with Arizona and co-leader California would become the favorite to capture the conference crown. In terms of talent, Arizona is the last major hurdle on Washington’s schedule before finishing the season on the road at Washington State, USC and UCLA.
Emotions are sure to run high because it’s Senior Day and Darnell Gant, Brendan Sherrer and Tyreese Breshers will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Washington and Arizona are very familiar with each other and will play their fifth game in 13 months. The Huskies won 85-68 on Jan. 20, 2011. The game was close early in the second half and Arizona led 44-43 before Washington closed with a 42-24 run.
The Huskies have become a second-half team this season and maybe they’ll pull away again today. It almost happened in the last game against Arizona when Washington led by 10 in the final four minutes.
On paper the Huskies have a deeper team. The Wildcats are using a seven-man rotation due to injuries, but they’ve won five straight game since the loss to Washington.
Arizona pulled off the difficult task and won two games in the Bay Area, but you have to expect today’s crowd will be intense and will have some impact on the game. The Wildcats rely on three seniors, but they also start two freshman guards Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner. After 27 games, newcomers should be immune to playing in difficult environments, but as Wilcox famously said: “Weird things happen on the road.”

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, UCLA

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