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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Pac-12 picks … including the UW game

No more prizes will be awarded this season in the Guess the UW Score contest. Now it’s all about bragging rights with at least four games remaining.
Still time for anyone to claim the title of Big Winner for the season because there’s a three-way tie on top of the leader board between spot on, lghusky and justinholidaycanplay.
Twenty-six contestants are one game behind, including Gentlmanwick who won Saturday’s contest. He predicted Washington would beat Arizona 78-69 and the Huskies won 79-70.
Good job. Do it again and you’ll join the GTUWSC leaders.
Alright early start so let’s move on.
UCLA at Arizona, 11 a.m. (CBS)
Washington (19-8, 12-3) at Washington State (14-13, 6-9), 5 p.m. (ROOT)
USC at Arizona State, 6 p.m.
Stanford at Utah, 5:30 p.m.
Times PST
Picks: Arizona, ASU and Stanford

The Huskies 70-66.
Relied on some crazy metrics to come up with that prediction. Tell me if this makes sense.
In its four road wins, Washington won by scoring margins of 4, 6, 2 and 3. That’s an average of 3.7.
In their last four games at Pullman, the Huskies scored 80, 59, 68 and 73 points. That’s an average of 70.
If history means anything, Washington scores 70 and wins by four.
Las Vegas makes the Huskies a 1-point road favorite while several sites believe Washington State will pull off the upset, which really wouldn’t be much of an upset considering the unpredictable nature of rivalry games.
The Cougars will be fueled by plenty of emotion. It’s Senior Night and they’ll say goodbye to four seniors: Marcus Capers, Abe Lodwick, Charlie Enquist and Faisal Aden. It wouldn’t be surprising if Capers and Lodwick have an off night because players tend to struggle in their home finale.
Aden, who underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn ACL, is s out for the season while C.J. Wilcox, who missed the first game against WSU, is coming off of a solid performance last week. He converted 3 of 5 shots, including 2 of 3 on three-pointers, for 11 points in 27 minutes.
Wilcox should help soften WSU’s 2-3 zone that held the Huskies to 38.1 percent shooting in the first meeting. The Cougars clogged the passing and driving lanes inside and sacrificed open jump shots. UW took a season-high 26 three-pointers and converted 10. Terrence Ross had six and Darnell Gant three. Wilcox should make playing a zone more costly for WSU.
The Cougars will also have to figure out how they’re going to box out and rebound with the zone. In the last game, they were pounded on the glass 46-24, including a 22-4 disparity on offensive rebounds. Ross and Gant each had five offensive boards and Desmond Simmons had four. The extra possessions explains why UW took 63 shots while WSU had 51. It doesn’t matter if you’re 38.1 percent if you take 12 more shots and knock down 10 three-pointers.
In three of the past four games, Washington faced teams that use a zone defense and that should in the preparation. The extra time this week should also help the Huskies because several players are nursing nagging injuries, including Ross, Wilcox and Aziz N’Diaye.
It’s critical the Huskies devise a plan to slow down Brock Motum, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring in conference-only games with a 20.7 points per game average. It’s rare to see a college player draw a double team, but the strategy may be effective against the Cougars because few others players have emerged as consistent scoring threats. In the first matchup, Gant played a career-high 33 minutes and was primarily responsible for holding Motum to four points in the second half. If Gant has similar success, the Huskies win easily.
Washington is riding a three-game winning streak and momentum is on its side. WSU has lost five of the last eight games.
The Huskies are playing for a Pac-12 regular-season title and potentially an at-large NCAA tournament berth while the Cougars are playing for pride.
Got to believe postseason ambition trumps pride. But just barely.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, UCLA


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