How about this for pre-game analysis: ” I’m gonna guess the Dawgs still haven’t learned to play at a consistently high level, and I’m guessing they’ll play down to Jackson State as State pulls out all stops to achieve a win, but still lose: Dawgs: 75 to 69.”
Those comments and prediction came from poster bleeding purple and gold hours before Washington’s lackluster 75-67 win.
Congratulations to BP&G for winning the Guess the UW Score contest, but you don’t get anything extra for predicting the Huskies would play down to the level of their competition. Still as C.J. Wilcox pointed out after the JSU game, a win is a win. And you won a hot dog and soft drink on me at a UW game.
Contact me via twitter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to claim your prize.
After a third of the regular-season has passed, we’re still waiting for our first repeat winner and for someone to guess the score on the button. Maybe it will happen today.
Alright let’s move on. Just a couple of games in the conference today.
TONIGHT’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Cal Poly (4-5) at Washington (6-4), 6 p.m. …. P12N
UC Irvine (5-7) at USC (4-6), 8 p.m. ………….. P12N
AND THE UW-CAL POLY WINNER IS …
—The Huskies 73-65.
Cal Poly is the type of team that’s given Washington fits lately. UW fans haven’t forgotten last year’s 92-73 defeat at home to South Dakota State. More recently, the Huskies lost at home to Albany and Colorado State.
The Mustangs are a similar opponent because they don’t beat themselves, they share the ball and they can shoot the lights out from long range. Those traits have helped other small schools beat the Huskies at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. We’ll find out if Washington has learned how to win a game against an over-matched opponent that will slow the tempo and make it a grind-it-out affair.
Cal Poly averages just 9.0 turnovers per game, which is the fewest among 345 Division I teams. The Mustangs also have tallied at least 10 assists in ever game. They’re fourth in the nation with a 1.63-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Cal Poly has four players who have taken at least 12 three-pointers and shooting 35 percent or better behind the arc. UW has three, including Scott Suggs who is 55.2 percent (16 of 29) on treys.
Suggs is something of an X-factor. He’s averaging 20 points in the past three games since returning from a three-game layoff due to plantar fasciitis. If he continues at his current pace and C.J. Wilcox doesn’t fall off, then they could finish as the highest scoring tandem in school history. Wilcox is averaging 19.2 points, which leads Washington and is third in the Pac-12. Suggs is averaging 14.4 points.
Cal Poly doesn’t appear to have a defensive stopper to slow down either Wilcox or Suggs. One of them will be paired against 6-1 senior guard Dylan Royer, which appears to be a mismatch favoring the Huskies. The other will draw Drake U’u who is a 6-5, 215-pound senior who made his first start this season on Monday.
Because of its three-guard lineup, Cal Poly is a bad rebounding team that ranks 311th in the nation averaging 31.2 boards. However, the Mustangs have outrebounded opponents on the offensive glass 100-81.
The Mustangs are gritty. They were down 51-33 midway in the second half at then-No. 11 UCLA, but stormed back and upset the Bruins 70-68 on Nov. 25. Last season Cal Poly upset USC 42-36 so it’s safe to say the Mustangs won’t be intimidated by the Huskies.
Callero, who spent eight years at Seattle University before taking the Cal Poly job in 2010, also knows Washington and coach Lorenzo Romar. Expect Callero to pull out all the tricks. Against UCLA and USC, they essentially milked the clock on every possession. Neither the Bruins or Trojans played much zone and the Mustangs made them pay with timely shooting.
Callero told the Los Angeles Times: “The three-point line can really equalize talent. We thought that if we could get it close, maybe we get a bounce, maybe they miss a shot, maybe we make a shot.”
Other than the UCLA win, Cal Poly doesn’t have a good victory on its resume and it’s lost against every other major team including TCU (53-46), Fresno State (76-67), Saint Mary’s (86-68), Nevada (69-56) and Santa Clara (72-64).
If the Huskies play their normal game, they should win comfortably.