January 19, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Guess the UW Score — Utah
Reminder: Play the Seattle Times’ Pick & Roll contest.
Nice win for Washington, which beat Colorado 64-54 last Wednesday. It was also a nice win in the Guess the UW Score contest for AlvinVaughn00, who predicted the Huskies would prevail 64-52. Congratulations.
Contact me via twitter, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find me on press row before a UW home game to collect your grand prize.
OK, let’s move on.
No. 7 Arizona (16-1, 4-1) beat Arizona State (14-4, 3-2) …………. 71-54
No. 21 Oregon (16-2, 5-0) beat No. 24 UCLA (15-4, 5-1) ………… 76-67
Stanford (11-7, 2-3) beat California (10-7, 2-3) ……………………. 69-59
Oregon State (10-7, 0-4) at USC (7-11, 2-3), 5 p.m. ………………. P12N
Colorado (11-6, 1-4) at Washington State (10-7, 1-3), 7 p.m. …… P12N
Utah (8-9, 0-5) at Washington (12-5, 4-0), 8 p.m. …………………. ESPNU
AND THE UW-UTAH WINNER IS …
The Huskies 70-58.
They’re an 11-point favorite and if they play anywhere close to their A-game, then Washington should comfortable collect its fifth straight win.
Unlike the previous two opponents, UW will be able to focus defensively on a handful of players. The Huskies will set their sights on 6-3 senior guard Jarred DuBois, who leads Utah in scoring with a 13.0 point-per-game average. He’s a do-it-all scorer, who generates points at the line, in transition and on the perimeter. At 172 pounds, he’s smaller than C.J. Wilcox (6-5 and 185) and Scott Suggs (6-6 and 195).
Freshman forward Jordan Loveridge (6-6 and 230) could present problems for UW because he’s active and productive. He averages 12.5 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds. Look for Desmond Simmons (6-7 and 220), who has embraced his role as a defensive specialist, to bang down low with Loveridge.
Utah also relies heavily on 6-10 senior center Jason Washburn who is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds against Pac-12 opponents. He’ll face stiff competition against 7-foot senior center Aziz N’Diaye, who is a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Slowing down Utah’s offense shouldn’t be problem considering the Utes are averaging 57.6 points in conference games.
However, Washington will need to be smart offensively because the Utes use a variety of defenses including, man-to-man, zones and trapping schemes. They’re holding Pac-12 teams to just 64.6 points per game and 42.1 percent shooting from the field.
Still you have to wonder if Utah has checked out mentally and if doubt has crept into their collective psyche. The Utes won just six games last season and they built an 8-4 non-conference record that consisted of one respectable win against a good Boise State team. They began Pac-12 play and battled in the first three games.
Despite their grit and determination, the Utes lost to Arizona State (55-54 OT), Arizona (60-57) and UCLA (57-53).
Looks as if those defeats sapped their will. In the past two games, Utah lost 76-59 to USC and 75-65 at Washington State.
The Utes are riding a five-game losing streak and they’ve never won on the road in the Pac-12.
Meanwhile, Washington is surging. The Huskies have won four in a row and 10 of the last 12. With a win, Washington regains a share of first place in the Pac-12 with conference leader Oregon.