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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Guess the UW Score contest: USC

And down the stretch they come …

Good prediction by dawgiedaddy who won Thursday’s Guess the UW Score contest.

He wrote: “As for the game, really major deficits in athleticism and size to overcome. Dawgs should give it a supreme effort though. 82-80 UCLA.”

Washington lost 91-82.

Good job. Please contact me via email (pallen@seattletimes.com) or Twitter to claim your prize. FYI: Time is running out to redeem prizes. If I owe you a hot dog and soft drink, today is likely the last day to collect this season.

Still no movement at the top of the GTUWS season standings. There’s a seven-way tie between two-time winners: andorsjorstad, nwpdxdawg, irwin m. fletcher, progressive dawg, dawgpound99 and Htop. Hoping someone can break away from the pack in the remaining couple of weeks.

OK, let’s move on.

Feels like a Throwback Saturday because for the first time this season, it’s a full slate of games today.

Tip off at Alaska Airlines Arena is at 1:30 p.m. and we’ll preview Washington’s game against USC and keep you updated on the action with a GameCenter live chat that begins at 1 p.m.

Thanks and good luck with your predictions.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Utah (20-9, 9-8) at Stanford (18-11, 9-8), 11:30 a.m. PT ……………….. Pac-12 Networks
No. 3 Arizona (28-2, 15-2) at Oregon (21-8, 9-8), 1 p.m. ………………. CBS
USC (11-19, 2-15) at Washington (16-14, 8-9), 1:30 p.m. ………………. Pac-12 Networks
Arizona State (21-9, 10-7) at Oregon State (15-14, 7-10), 1:30 p.m. …. Pac-12 Networks
Colorado (21-9, 10-7) at California (18-12, 9-8), 3:30 p.m. …………….. Pac-12 Networks
UCLA (23-7, 12-5) at Washington State (9-20, 2-15), 8 p.m. ………….. Fox Sports 1

Picks: Stanford, Oregon, OSU, Colorado and UCLA.Pac-12 tally: 73-29
Season tally: 172-52

WASHINGTON – USC PREVIEW:

The Huskies are a 9.5-point favorite, which is the most points they’ve been favored against a Pac-12 opponent this season. Apparently USC’s 79-68 win at Washington State on Thursday, which snapped its 10-game losing streak, didn’t impress the oddsmakers.

And Washington’s second-half pratfall during a 91-82 loss to UCLA on Thursday didn’t dissuade the oddsmakers from making it a heavy favorite in the regular-season finale at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Coach Lorenzo Romar called USC a “dangerous team” because the Trojans have talent and size on the front line that could give the Huskies problems. Washington’s leaky defense has been torched several times by dynamic guards such as UCLA’s Jordan Adams (31 points), Stanford’s Chasson Randle (33 points) and Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson (31 points). USC’s Byron Wesley, a 6-5 wing, may not be on par with Adams, Randle and Nelson, but he handed 31 points to WSU on Thursday. Stopping him – or at least slowing him down – should be priority No. 1 for the Huskies.

USC also has capable guards in Pe’Shon Howard and J.T. Terrell as well as a big front line that includes 7-2 center Omar Oraby and 6-10 forward Nikola Janovic.

Still, there’s a reason why the Trojans have only won 11 games and beaten just two Pac-12 teams. They average just 770.9 points, which ranks 196th nationally. And they’re a poor shooting team. Here’s a look at USC’s shooting percentages and rank: field goal (44.2%, 182), three-point field goals (29.1%, 343) and free throws (66.6%, 282).

And defensively, the Trojans aren’t very good either. They’ve allowed opponents an average of 75.6 points, which ranks 306th nationally.

However, the statistics don’t tell the whole story.

During its 10-game losing streak, USC was actually in contention in many of those games. The Trojans led in the second half in six contests and the other four games were within five points at some point in the second half. More often, USC’s undoing was an inability to make plays in clutch situations, which goes back to the Trojans’ poor shooting.

Motivation is seemingly in short supply for both teams. Washington is guaranteed the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament while USC will be the No. 11 or 12 seed.

The Huskies are attempting to avoid a losing conference record. They should get a little boost from the home crowd, although the afternoon tip-off isn’t likely to draw a large turnout.

And it’s Senior Day. C.J. Wilcox, Perris Blackwell and Connor Smith will play their last regular-season game at home.

The pick: Washington 73-63.

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

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