Las Vegas oddsmakers established Washington as a 7-point favorite over California, which would lead one to believe Alaska Airlines Arena is worth a touchdown and extra point because these teams appear to be even in major comparisons.
Take a look at the starting lineups.
Both teams are led by dynamic, versatile point guards who were former AAU teammates: Nigel Williams-Goss for UW and Tyrone Wallace for Cal.
Both teams also have capable – yet streaky shooting – wings: Andrew Andrews and Mike Anderson for UW and Jordan Matthews and Jabari Bird for Cal.
Both teams recently inserted a backup shooter in the starting lineup: Donaven Dorsey for UW and Dwight Tarwater for Cal.
And both teams start a somewhat reliable big man: Shawn Kemp Jr. for UW and David Kravish for Cal.
Neither team has received much consistency from the bench.
Since their last meeting – an 81-75 Golden Bears win on Jan. 2 – both teams have been in disarray: UW is 3-4 and Cal is 1-6.
Washington averages 69.3 points while allowing 63.2. Meanwhile, California averages 65.4 points while allowing 64.4.
And so far, both teams have yet to meet modest preseason expectations: UW was picked sixth in the conference, Cal seventh.
Give the psychological edge to Washington, which is looking to avenge an early lost to Cal. The Huskies also lost by 10 in its last outing. Cal won at Washington State, which snapped a five-game losing streak. It’s difficult for most teams to summon what it takes and get the sweep on the road. The Golden Bears did it last year and they’ve beaten the Huskies in four of the past five games.
Washington is also missing big men Robert Upshaw (dismissal) and Jernard Jarreau (knee injury) who combined for 28 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the first meeting at Cal.
And yet, the Huskies are favored by more than touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday. Go figure.
I think they’ll need a field goal, err, three-pointer to pull it out.
THE PICK: Washington 62-59.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
|No. 11 Utah (16-4, 6-2) at USC (9-11, 1-7)||11:30 a.m.||ESPNU|
|California (12-9, 2-6) at Washington (14-6, 3-5)||12 p.m.||Pac-12 Networks|
GUESS THE UW SCORE WINNER – olderdawg picked Stanford 77-69 and wrote: “Romar does his best job of coaching in years but still comes up short.” Washington lost 84-74. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to claim your prize. Thanks for playing.