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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Guess the UW Score contest: Utah

Still time to sign up and enter to play Pick & Roll. It’s a season-long, 10-week contest in which readers pick Pac-12 men’s basketball games. Your lowest weekly score will be dropped, so only the nine highest weeks will count toward your overall points total.

The grand prize this year is a 16 GB iPad mini (valued at $329).

There’s 572 people in the contest and after last week’s 7-3 performance, I rank 272nd. Not bad. But not that great either.

Certainly not as good as olderdawg who took first place in Saturday’s Guess the UW Score contest. He predicted the Huskies would fall 73-59 to No. 1 Arizona and Washington lost 71-62.

Contact me via email (pallen@seattletimes.com) or Twitter to claim your prize.

And for the newbies, please make your picks in the comments section on this post.

Alright, let’s move on. It’s a light night in the Pac-12, but let’s get to it.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

No. 15 Colorado (13-2, 2-0) at Washington State (7-7, 0-2), 6 p.m. PT …… Pac-12 Networks
Utah (12-2, 1-1) at Washington (9-6, 1-1), 8 p.m. ………………………………….. Pac-12 Networks

Pick: Colorado
Pac-12 tally: 7-3
Season tally: 104-25

AND THE UW-UTAH WINNER IS …

The Huskies 70-65.

Washington is a 2.5-point favorite, but if this game were played in Utah got a feeling the line and my pick would swing towards the Utes.

On paper, Utah appears to have as much talent – if not more – than Washington. The Utes are led by the high-scoring trio of Jordan Loveridge, Delon Wright and Brendan Taylor. Collectively they average 46 points. Utah has three serviceable big men in 6-10 sophomore Jeremy Olsen, 6-9 senior Renan Lenz and 7-foot junior Dallin Bachynski. And Dakarai Tucker is an adequate spot-up jump shooter.

The Utes weren’t as good last year and they came into Alaska Airlines Arena and beat Washington 74-65.

You could argue the Huskies didn’t take the Utes seriously last year, but that shouldn’t be the case this time. Utah got everyone’s attention when it nearly upset then-No.-10 Oregon in the Pac-12 opener before falling 70-68 in overtime.

Washington also seems to have finally figured out how it needs to play defense.  During the nonconference season when the Huskies allowed 79.2 points per game and opponents shot 49.6 percent from the field. Against No. 1 Arizona and Arizona State, Washington surrendered an average of 68 points and held both teams to a combined 40.9 percent shooting.

If the Huskies play that kind of defense tonight, then they should be able to cobble enough points to overcome a stingy Utah defense that allows 61.2 points per  game.

The Utes built an impressive record against a weak nonconference schedule ranked 35oth among the 351 Division I teams by basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy. They’ve also enjoyed a favorable schedule that included just one road game. At home, they’ve drawn over 13,000 fans in the past two games.

The big mystery is how will Utah handle playing on the road for just the second time this season. Since joining the Pac-12, it’s 1-17 in conference road games. And the Utes are 4-28 the past three years away from home.

It’s not as if Washington has been stellar at home recently – 7-2 this season and 5-3 in Pac-12 games last season – but the intangibles (home crowd and late 9 p.m. MT start ) favor the Huskies.

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


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