Don’t let Long Beach State’s 3-3 record fool you, the 49ers should give Washington (4-0) a stiff challenge Friday night in the DirecTV Wooden Legacy semifinals at Cal-State Fullerton’s Titan Gym.
LBSU is battle tested having faced Kansas State, BYU, Xavier and UCLA. The 49ers won’t be intimidated by Washington.
In fact, they’re probably happy to see the Huskies after nearly upsetting them last year at Alaska Airlines Arena before falling 92-89 in double overtime.
Washington is a little better this year, but Long Beach State is improved as well.
Former UCLA guard Tyler Lamb, who transferred to LBSU, didn’t play against UW last year. The 49ers also return senior guard Mike Caffey, who scored 28 points against the Huskies.
Washington has dramatically upgraded its front line with Shawn Kemp Jr. and Robert Upshaw.
The Huskies will counter Long Beach State’s backcourt with talented guard combo Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews.
Through four games, Washington is slowly building a stable of shooters who have shown they’re capable of big games on the perimeter. Freshman Donaven Dorsey drained five three-pointers in Thursday’s 78-56 win over San Jose State and newcomer Quevyn Winters had four last week in a 63-48 win over Seattle University. Two other UW players have had at least three three-pointers in a game.
Someone will need to step up because Long Beach State will throw a zone at UW because it’s woefully overmatched in the post. The 49ers don’t have anyone on the roster taller than 6-8.
Long Beach State stymied UCLA with a zone, but the 49ers eventually wore down and lost 77-63.
Washington will need to take care of the ball, minimize mistakes and keep close tabs on Carrey and Lamb.
Las Vegas oddsmakers say this is a toss-up game, but the Huskies’ depth and front line should carry them past the 49ers and into Sunday’s title game where they’ll face either Xavier or UTEP.
THE PICK: Washington 82, Long Beach State 72.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Washington State (1-3) vs. Rice (1-3), 3 p.m. ……… No TV
North Dakota (2-2) at Utah (3-1), 7 p.m. …………… Pac-12 Networks
UCLA (4-2) vs. UAB (2-4), 7:30 p.m. ……………… No TV
Washington (4-0) vs. Long Beach State, 8:30 p.m. …. ESPN2
PICKS: Rice, Utah and UCLA
GUESS THE UW SCORE WINNER: DawgBlawginIt (79-58, UW). The Huskies beat San Jose State 78-56. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to claim your prize. Thanks for playing.