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March 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Guess the UW Score — BYU

Not many expected Washington and Oregon would play a high-scoring game when they met last Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament. There were several low-scoring predictions in the Guess the UW Score contest and only a handful of folks predicted Oregon would win.

So congrats to dawginparadise who guessed the Ducks would prevail 73-68. Oregon won 80-77 in overtime.

Let’s recap the race for the grand prize. Three-game winners wayupwaydown and husky basketball 2009 have a one-game lead over dawgpound99, ProgressiveDawg, stockboi, justosu and bleeding purple and gold.

Alright, let’s move on.

TODAY’S NIT SCHEDULE (All times Pacific)

No. 7 Niagara (19-13) at No. 2 Maryland (22-12), 4 p.m. …………………………… ESPN2

No. 5 St. John’s (16-15) at No. 4 St. Joseph’s (18-13), 4 p.m. ……………………… ESPNU

No. 5 Louisiana Tech (26-6) at No. 4 Florida State (18-15), 4:15 p.m. …………. ESPN3

No. 1 Kentucky (21-11) at No. 8 Robert Morris (23-10), 4:30 p.m. ………………. ESPN

No. 8 Norfolk State (21-11) at No. 1 Virginia (21-11), 6 p.m. ……………………….. ESPNU

No. 8 Northeastern (20-12) at No. 1 Alabama (21-12), 6 p.m. ……………………. ESPN2

No. 6 Ohio (24-9) at No. 3 Denver (21-9), 6:15 p.m. ………………………………… ESPN3

No. 6 Washington (18-15) at No. 3 BYU (21-11), 6:30 p.m. ……………………….. ESPN

No. 5 Stephen F. Austin (27-4) at No. 4 Stanford (18-14), 8 p.m. ……………… ESPN2

AND THE UW-BYU WINNER IS …

The Huskies 68-65.

Washington is a 6-point underdog, but this is a very winnable game.

Regardless of the rankings, the first-round NIT contest is usually a toss-up. The higher seed often has home court advantage, but usually has to overcome the disappointment of missing the NCAA tourney. Several teams never truly invest in the NIT and they’re embarrassed at home. It happened last year to Arizona and it nearly happened to Washington.

BYU also hasn’t played well recently. The Cougars are 1-3 in their last four games with defeats to San Diego, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

Washington has a height advantage with 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye pairing against 6-9 forward Brandon Davies. BYU uses a four-guard lineup. After Davies, the next tallest starter is 6-6. Presumably 6-9 forward Shawn Kemp Jr. should enjoy an advantage inside. But we’ll see if Kemp can remain on the floor.

BYU often forces teams to play small and to contain their perimeter attack. But even if Kemp is a step slow, the Huskies could turn to 6-7 froward Desmond Simmons or 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau who are quicker and still taller than most BYU starters.

Still, size doesn’t always matter.

Washington will need to contain BYU sophomore guard Tyler Haws, who averages 20.9 points. If the Huskies can keep him under his average, they have a good chance of pulling off the upset.

The Huskies will also need to adjust quickly to the high altitude and hostile environment – BYU averaged 16,707 fans at the Marriott Center this season. The Cougars were 13-3 at home.

In many ways, this game is a test of strength between two of three top conferences on the west coast. Washington finished tied for sixth in the Pac-12 while BYU was third in the West Coast Conference.

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