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January 31, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Guess the UW Score — Arizona

Folks were split in last Saturday’s Guess the UW Score contest. Plenty of picks for Washington and Oregon.

However, no one really came close to the final score: Oregon 81, Washington 76.

Still, the big winner was clarence trent bowtie who predicted the Ducks would win 84-71.

Congrats. (Love the handle btw). Contact me via twitter or email (pallen@seattletimes.com) to pick up your grand prize.

Alright let’s move.

PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

No. 8 Arizona (17-2, 5-2) at Washington (12-8, 4-3), 6 p.m. ………………. ESPN

Oregon State (11-9, 1-6) at California (11-8, 3-4), 7 p.m. …………………….. ESPNU

Arizona State (16-4, 5-2) at Washington State (11-9, 2-5), 8 p.m. ………… P12N

AND THE UW-ARIZONA WINNER IS …

The Huskies 72-71.

Why not?

That’s really the best explanation for this pick. Because aside from Arizona’s awful recent history at Alaska Airlines where it has a three-game losing streak, there’s not many good reasons to believe Washington has what it takes to snap its three-game losing streak and beat a quality team like the Wildcats.

Washington’s last win over a top-10 team was Feb. 10, 2008 when it beat No. 5 UCLA 71-61.

Oddsmakers say Arizona is a 5 1/2-point favorite. Basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy predicts Arizona will win 73-65 and gives the Huskies only a 24 percent chance at victory. Most gambling websites also favor the Wildcats.

If this game were in Tucson, Ariz. I’d also go with the Wildcats.

It’s not as if the Huskies have been playing that great at home, but they’ll likely get a lift from what’s expected to be an energized crowd at Alaska Airlines Arena. Not sure if it will be a sellout, but it should at least sound and feel like a packed house for the first time this season.

And there’s something about Arizona that brings out the best in Washington. These two teams don’t play basketball games, they stage dramas that would make Shakespeare jealous. Seriously, you can’t make up some of the fantastic finishes in three of their past four games.

You got “The Block” or “The Non-Goal-tending Call” depending on your allegiance that saved an Arizona victory February 2011.

You got Isaiah Thomas’ “Cold-blooded” game winner in the 2011  Pac-10 Tournament title game.

And you have “The Block II” when Tony Wroten Jr. preserved a UW win last year at the McKale Center.

Given the recent history, maybe the series is due for a blowout. Given Arizona’s depth and talent, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Wildcats ran away with a convincing victory.

But if you breakdown the individual matchups among the starters, one might say it’s a draw between the teams.

Washington should have the advantage at center (senior Aziz N’Diaye over freshman Kaleb Tarczewski) and shooting guard (junior C.J. Wilcox over sophomore Nick Johnson).

Arizona has the edge at small forward (senior Solomon Hill over senior Scott Suggs) and point guard (senior Mark Lyons over Abdul Gaddy).

And seemingly it’s a wash at power forward between UW sophomore Desmond Simmons and freshman Brandon Ashley.

The Wildcats bench appears stronger on paper, but the Huskies received 27 points last Saturday from reserves Andrew Andrews and Shawn Kemp Jr. at Oregon.

Given all of that, this game could be a lot closer than most people think. And if the Huskies come out and play with a sense of desperation, they could finally turn things around.

One thing is for certain, somebody’s three-game losing streak will come to an end tonight.

And if we’re lucky, maybe we can get another fantastic finish like the one below.

Comments | More in Guess the UW Score | Topics: Arizona

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