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Husky Men's Basketball

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

December 20, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Pac-12 predictions: No. 16 Washington puts unbeaten record on the line against No. 15 Oklahoma

Another big day for the Pac-12.

Two of the conferences three ranked teams (No. 16 Washington and No. 14 Utah) are in action while UCLA has a chance to deliver No. 1 Kentucky its first loss. The Pac-12 is 5-9 against ranked teams.

A win for Washington would not only bolster the conference, it would validate the Huskies’ early success, keep them among the nine unbeaten teams in the country and move them one step closer to finishing the nonconference season with a perfect record.

No. 15 Oklahoma is a stiff test for Washington.

The Sooners aren’t overly exceptional, but they’re solid in many areas. They’ve destroyed teams with relentless rebounding. They average 30.2 rebounds on the defensive glass, which ranks second nationally. They average 41.2 total rebounds, which is 21st in the nation.

Oklahoma is also a quality defensive team that’s holding opponents to 61.1 points a game and limiting them to .363 field goal and .288 3-point shooting, which ranks 16th and 44th nationally.

In many ways this is an evenly matched game between two defensive-minded teams. Both teams are balanced offensively. The Sooners rely on a quartet who average at least 10 points, while Washington’s top four scorers average at least 1o points.

Both teams are solid in the back court and on the front line with NBA prospects (Nigel Wiliiams-Goss, Robert Upshaw, Buddy Hield and TaShawn Thomas). And both teams are led by veteran coaches (Lorenzo Romar and Lon Kruger) who have tallied more than 350 wins.

The difference between the teams resumes is their opponents. Oklahoma has faced a tougher nonconference schedule that includes four teams who had been ranked in the top 25, including a 69-56 loss to then-No.2 Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis title in the Bahamas. The Sooners also played at Creighton and knocked off then-No. 22 UCLA.

Washington’s best win to date is a 49-36 demolishing over then-No. 13 San Diego State at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies also toppled UTEP to win the Wooden Legacy title last month.

Playing on the road shouldn’t faze Washington, which has had five games away from home. But playing a quality team like Oklahoma will give the Huskies fits.

THE PICK: Oklahoma 74-71.

Game Time TV
Delaware State (5-6) at Oregon (7-3) 12 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
UCLA (8-3) vs. No. 1 Kentucky (11-0) 12:30 p.m. CBS
No. 16 Washington (9-0) vs. No. 15 Oklahoma (7-2) 6 p.m. ESPNU
Lehigh (4-5) at Arizona State (6-4) 6 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
Stanford (6-2) at BYU (8-3) 8 p.m. ESPNU
No. 14 Utah (7-2) vs. UNLV (7-2) 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

THE PICKS: Oregon, Kentucky, ASU, Stanford and Utah

GUESS THE UW SCORE WINNER: Jon May (85-39, UW). The Huskies beat Grambling State 86-38. Contact me (pallen@seattletimes.com) to claim your prize. Thanks for playing.

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

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