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February 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Guess the UW Score contest: Stanford

There was a first-time winner on Sunday in the Guess the UW contest, which was, well, a first in quite some time. After a three-game run of multiple winners, clarence trent bowtie broke the streak with a winning prediction: Colorado 84, Washington 67. The Huskies lost 91-65.

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).

FYI, there’s a five-way tie at the top of the GTUWS season leaderboard that includes: andorsjorstad, nwpdxdawg, irwin m. fletcher, progressive dawg and Htop.

In addition to playing GTUWS, be sure to check out Pick & Roll, the Seattle Times prediction contest where you pick the outcomes of Pac-12 men’s basketball games. It’s too late to win the 16GB iPad mini grand prize, but you can still enter, play and keep track of your scores.

Alright, let’s move on.

Just two games on tap and still plenty of time to get your picks in. Please post predictions in the comments section.

And finally, here’s a reminder to join us for a live chat starting at 5:30 p.m. to preview today’s game against Stanford at Alaska Airlines Arena. Thanks and good luck.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Stanford (15-7, 6-4) at Washington (13-11, 5-6), 6 p.m. PT ………… ESPN2
California (15-8, 6-4) at Washington State (9-14, 2-9), 8 p.m. …… ESPNU

Pick: Cal
Pac-12 tally: 45-19 (.703)
Season tally:  142-42 (.771)

WASHINGTON-STANFORD PREVIEW:

Stanford is a 2.5-point favorite, which makes sense considering the Cardinal has won 6 of its past 8 games, including losses against then-No.1 Arizona and UCLA, which is second in the Pac-12 standings. Meanwhile, Washington is riding a three-game losing streak into tonight’s game.

Stanford poses several problems for Washington starting with junior point guard Chasson Randle, who torched the Huskies for a career-high tying 33 points during UW’s 79-67 defeat at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 18. It wasn’t a one-time thing. He’s scored 24 points against the Huskies in two other games. He’s also scored at least 30 points in three games this season. Randle may not get the publicity, but he’s one of the best players in the conference.

As good as he is, Washington’s biggest problem tonight is dealing with Stanford’s big and experienced front line that includes 6-11 junior center Stefan Nastic, 6-10 senior forward Dwight Powell and 6-7 senior forward Josh Huestis. It’s a formidable group that also includes 6-6 junior wing Anthony Brown.

It’s unlikely the Huskies will have a lot of success inside offensively unless they’re scoring in transition or just executing their offense at a very high level. Ball movement without turnovers is going to be important. Nastic and Powell are susceptible to silly fouls. Nastic has six disqualifications, Powell three.

If Washington forces Stanford to rely on its reserves for heavy minutes, then that bodes well for the Huskies because the Cardinal bench hasn’t been impressive. Eight available Stanford reserves average a collective 11.1  points.

Even if the Huskies don’t get inside offensively, they should feel comfortable scoring on the perimeter inside Alaska Airlines Arena. Andrew Andrews, who is 8 for 36 from the field in the past three games, should be able to break out of his shooting slump at home. The same goes for C.J. Wilcox, who was 2 for 10 and 0 for 7 on three-pointers in Sunday’s 91-65 loss at Colorado.

Even if the offense improves, Washington will win or lose this game with its defense. In four of its past five defeats, UW has allowed the opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. Stanford converted 54.2 percent of its shots in the first meeting with Washington.

During its three-game losing streak, the Huskies have been unable to defend without fouling. In each of three most recent defeats, the opposing team has taken at least 28 free throws. When Washington lost to Stanford last month, the Cardinal was 24 of 34 at the line.

At Alaska Airlines Arena, the Huskies are 11-2 overall and 4-0 against Pac-12. With the exception of a 71-54 win over Colorado, Washington’s winning margin over conference teams is 2, 4 and 6. It’s not as if the Huskies are juggernauts at home. Meanwhile, Stanford is 3-2 on the road in Pac-12 games.

The pick: Washington 78-74.

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