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

February 6, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Guess the UW Score contest: Utah

We have a new multiple winner in the Guess the UW Score contest. Congrats to proggressive dawg who predicted Washington would fall at Washington State. He also guessed the Seahawks would beat Denver in the Super Bowl. WSU won 72-67 and the Hawks crushed the Broncos 43-8.

Nice job. Please contact me via email (pallen@seattletimes.com) or Twitter to claim your prize (hot dog and a soft drink at a UW home game).

It’s the second win for PD who moves into a four-way tie with andorsjorstad, nwpdxdawg and irwin m. fletcher at the top of the GTUWS season leaderboard.

Also be sure to check out Pick & Roll, the Seattle Times prediction contest where you pick the outcomes of Pac-12 men’s basketball games. If your intent is winning the grand prize 16GB iPad mini, then it’s too late to enter and play. But if you like picking games and keeping track of your scores, then sign up and play.

Alright, let’s move on.

Just three games on tap and plenty of time to get your picks in. And finally, here’s a reminder to join us a live chat starting at 5:30 p.m. to preview today’s game at Huntsman Center. Thanks and good luck.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Oregon (15-6, 3-6) at No. 2 Arizona (21-1, 8-1), 6 p.m. PT ……….. ESPN
Washington (13-9, 5-4) at Utah (14-7, 3-6), 6 p.m. …………………. Pac-12 Networks
Oregon State (13-8, 5-4) at Arizona State (16-8, 5-4), 8 p.m. …… Fox Sports 1

Picks: Arizona and Arizona State
Pac-12 tally: 37-18
Season tally: 134-41

WASHINGTON-UTAH PREVIEW:

Utah is a 9.5-point favorite, which is quite remarkable for a team that’s riding a three-game losing streak and lost 59-57 in the first game against Washington. Still you can make an argument that if that game was played at Huntsman Center, then the Utes would have come out on top because they were absolutely dreadful (1 for 15) on three-pointers.

You wonder if Washington can duplicate a magnificent defensive performance in which it held Utah to 6-of-23 shooting (26.1 percent) in the first half. The 57 points was the third lowest scoring output for Utah, which averages 79.2.

In many ways, Utah is an easy team to decipher defensively. Delon Wright, Jordan Loveridge and Brandan Taylor do the bulk of the scoring. If the Huskies can limit one or two of them they way they did on Jan. 8, then they’ll sweep the regular-season series. Back then, UW was able to survive a 27-point outburst from Wright because Loveridge finished with just 10 points and Taylor was held to four points on 2-for-11 shooting.

“Washington did a terrific job at defending us,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “They got a lot of athleticism around the perimeter. They can switch 1-4 and they do a good job of keeping you in front of them. It’s difficult from an offensive point of view for us finding ways to score. We’re going to have to get creative.”

Utah is a perfect matchup for Washington, which relies on a four-guard lineup that includes senior star C.J. Wilcox, the Pleasant Grove, Utah native who is second in the Pac-12 averaging 19.8 points. The Huskies aren’t as offensively prolific as Utah, but they score 76.0 points per game.

“They probably execute their offense as well as anyone in our league,” Krystkowiak said. “They know how to get guys shots whether it’s Wilcox – one of our best shooters in the league – or post touches for (Perris) Blackwell. Between (Andrew) Andrews and (Nigel Williams-Goss), they’ve got some other weapons as well. It’s a really efficient group. They’ve got their offense dialed in.”

During last week’s 72-67 loss at Washington State, the Huskies were undone by a 24-5 second-half WSU in which they shot 1 for 12 from the field during the nine-minute span. Wilcox finished with 24 points, but the rest of the Huskies struggled offensively.

You can pretty much pencil in about 20 points for Wright and Wilcox. The big question is who among the supporting casts is going to step up. Loveridge isn’t exactly a role player. He’s got star potential and he scored 17 points in a win at Washington last year. Gotta believe, he’ll play better at home. In fact, you have to expect Utah will play much better at home where it has a 14-1 record and draws over 12,000 fans in Pac-12 play.

The pick: Utah 69-62

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