Plenty of folks who entered Tuesday’s Guess the UW Score contest had a good read on game and we nearly had our second perfect prediction of the season.
No one came closer than jkherz who predicted Washington would beat Texas-Arlington 82-73. The Huskies won 82-72. Good job.
Reminder: Forgot to mention this last time, but past winners who did not collect their prizes can pick up a free hot dog and soft drink at the game tonight. Contact me via email (email@example.com) or Twitter to make arrangements.
Alright let’s move. Just one game on tap, but it’s a big one.
No. 4 Northwestern (19-11) at No. 1 Washington (22-10), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
AND THE UW-NORTHWESTERN WINNER IS …
The Huskies 78-70.
The fallacy in playing a team like Northwestern is believing that you have get into a shooting contest with the Wildcats. That would be a big mistake. Washington doesn’t want to trade baskets with an offensively explosive team like NU.
The Wildcats scored 88 points in a win over LSU and tallied 81 points against Michigan State in a victory.
Northwestern is possibly the most prolific three-point shooting team Washington will face this season. The Wildcats’ Princeton offense will test UW’s defensive resolve, discipline and perimeter defense.
The Wildcats led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally with an average of nine three-pointers made per game. They are 12-4 when they make at least nine treys.
In a 92-67 win over Mississippi Valley State, NU drained 20 three-pointers, tying the school and Big Ten record. The UW single-game record is 17.
Washington’s guards have struggled all season keeping opponents out of the lane and if they have trouble again tonight, it could spell trouble for the Huskies because Northwestern likes to penetrate and dish to shooters on the perimeter. They’re also good at screening, cutting and passing to get shooters free.
The Wildcats finished seventh in the Big Ten with an 8-10 record, but they lost five games by a combined 12 points. They also played the 17th-most difficult schedule in the nation so they won’t be intimidated about playing at Edmundson Pavilion.
In two true road games outside the conference, NU won 76-60 at Georgia Tech and lost 87-79 at then No.23-ranked Creighton. The Wildcats haven’t seen an non-conference opponent that’s as Washington this season.
It’s important the Huskies keep tabs on NU’s all-time points leader John Shurna and Drew Crawford who are the team’s two leading scorers. Washington could help its cause if it were to make them work defensively and perhaps draw some early fouls. The Wildcats aren’t very deep. They rely primarily on two reserves who average 5.0 points or fewer.
Washington should be able to score inside and would be wise to avoid quick shots and turnovers. Lorenzo Romar compared Norhwestern to South Dakota State, which is a game that brings back bad memories for the Huskies. They were throttled from the start and ran off their court in a 92-73 defeat that snapped a 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponent. Romar also said Washington lost that game because it didn’t take SDS seriously.
That shouldn’t be a problem this time. The Huskies should be motivated and focused. It remains to be seen if they’ll be able to execute the defensive plan and score enough points to advance to the third round of the NIT.