No one who entered Friday’s Guess the UW Score contest had a good read on Washington’s 76-55 win over Northwestern. The predictions were all over the place.
As such, baff came away with the victory with a 69-63 guess that was 15 points off the mark.
Still, a win is a win. Congratulations.
And to recap the season standings, justinholidaycanplay has a one-game lead over five folks who are in second place.
Reminder: Tonight’s home finale is the last opportunity for past winners to collect their prizes.
OK let’s move on. Just one game on the docket today. Should be a good one.
No. 3 Oregon (24-9) at No. 1 Washington (23-10), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
AND THE UW-OREGON WINNER IS …
There’s been a lot of pre-game talk from both teams about the importance of playing defense so I just don’t see a lot of points being scored tonight. These teams know each other too well so it would be surprising to see anyone have a big offensive performance.
Oregon is averaging 97 points in its last four wins, but those games were played at home. In their last four road games, the Ducks are averaging 72 points and they’re 2-2 in that span.
In their past four home games, the Huskies are averaging 79 points and they’re 4-0 during the span.
Considering those trends common sense says UW wins 79-72, but again familiarity keeps the scores down just a bit.
In terms of the game, it’s vital the Huskies defend the three-pointer without fouling and keep Oregon off the free throw line. The Ducks are third in the Pac-12 shooting 70.7 percent as a team and their top three players (Devoe Joseph, E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim) shoot better than 80 percent at the charity stripe.
Washington must figure out Oregon’s difficult rotating defense. The Ducks demolished the Huskies 82-57 in the last game partly because UW could never solve the riddle of UO’s defensive pressure. Oregon was almost masterful the way it harassed Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten Jr. with a 3/4 press. When they got the ball across half court and passed to Terrence Ross or C.J. Wilcox on the sideline, the Ducks trapped them and often forced a turnover.
If the Huskies got into their offense, Oregon would fall back into a 2-3 zone. And sometimes they used a man-to-man defense.
It seemed as if Oregon coach Dana Altman made sure he gave the Huskies a different defensive look on every possession. His goal defensively is to force teams to shoot contested jump shots and that’s been tricky for Huskies at times this season.
Washington did a magnificent job Friday making the extra pass and making sure Ross (10 of 21) and Wilcox (7 of 13) took the bulk of the shots. Aziz N’Diaye was also 5 of 11 from the field.
This is the kind of game where a role player can have a big night scoring for UW because Oregon is going to focus its defensive attack on Ross, Wilcox and Tony Wroten Jr. Abdul Gaddy and Darnell Gant will get open looks and they could make life easier for the Huskies if they’re making their shots. They could also help matters if they attack the basket and draw fouls.
The key statistics that jump out from the first two games are points from turnovers and fast break points.
In Washington’s 76-60 win, the Huskies led these categories 22-9 and 19-5 respectively. In Oregon’s victory, the Ducks led 20-6 and 16-6, respectively.
Both teams thrive in transition and scoring easy points will be essential in a defensive-minded game that could be decided by a basket.