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February 8, 2015 at 7:38 AM

Pac-12 predictions: Will Washington avoid fifth straight loss?

Washington's Mike Anderson (right) fights for a loose ball with Oregon State's Gary Payton II and Daniel Gomis. The Huskies won 56-43 on Jan. 15, 2015 at Alaska Airlines Arena. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson - Associated Press)

Washington’s Mike Anderson (right) fights for a loose ball with Oregon State’s Gary Payton II and Daniel Gomis. The Huskies won 56-43 on Jan. 15, 2015 at Alaska Airlines Arena. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson – Associated Press)

In their first 11 games the Huskies were perfect. Over the next 11, they’re 3-8.

After 22 games Washington (14-8, 3-7 Pac-12) is a mess. The past 11 games have included a four-game losing streak followed by three consecutive wins and now four straight defeats.

Still, there’s a few reasons for optimism. The Huskies appear to be close to rediscovering their winning formula. They’ve lost the past two games by a combined six points. They’ve faltered in the final seconds during defeats against California (90-88) and Oregon (78-74).

Without 7-foot center Robert Upshaw, who was dismissed after violating team rules, Washington’s defense has fallen off dramatically in the past three games. Coach Lorenzo Romar said it’s imperative UW guards keep opposing players out of the lane because the Huskies no longer have a record-setting shot blocker inside.

However, that’s been a difficult task.

Oregon’s Joseph Young torched Washington for 32 points on Wednesday. The Huskies also had trouble containing California guards Jordan Matthews (23 points) and Tyrone Wallace (21) and Stanford guards Anthony Brown (23) and Chasson Randle (20).

Next up is Oregon State’s guards Gary Payton II and Malcolm Duvivier.

They’re not prolific scorers. Payton II averages 12.5 points and Duvivier 9.7 for the defensive-minded Beavers. However, Romar cautioned: “We can’t let them have their best nights against us. … And that’s happened a few times.”

It’ll be interesting to see if Washington will be able to sustain its newfound high-scoring offense against Oregon State, which allows opponents just 56.7 points per game.

In their first meeting, the Huskies won a low-scoring 56-43 battle against the Beavers at Alaska Airlines Arena on Jan. 15. In that game, Upshaw led the way with 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. UW held OSU to just 31.9 percent shooting.

Not sure if the Huskies can duplicate that stellar defensive performance without Upshaw.

Also not sure if Washington – or any team – can win at Gill Coliseum where Oregon State is 13-0 this season, including a 58-56 win over then-No. 7 Arizona.

And speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats play at Washington on Friday. It would behoove the Huskies to get a win today or they could be looking at a six-game losing streak.

Las Vegas oddsmakers made the Beavers a four-point favorite. Until Washington get’s off the schneid, it’s difficult picking the Huskies.

THE PICK: Oregon State 66-62.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

Game Time TV
Washington (14-8, 3-7) at Oregon State (15-7, 6-4) 1:30 p.m. Fox Sports 1
Washington State (10-12, 4-6) at Oregon (16-7, 6-4) 4 p.m. Pac-12 Networks
USC (9-13, 1-9) at Stanford (15-7, 6-4) 5:30 p.m. ESPNU

PICKS: Oregon and Stanford

GUESS THE UW SCORE WINNER – haute dawg picked Oregon 83-71 and wrote: “I’m rooting for our guys.   They’re playing hard despite huge changes and losses of key players. But I think they lose tonight.” Washington lost 78-74. Contact me (pallen@seattletimes.com) to claim your prize. Thanks for playing.

Comments | More in Guess the UW Score | Topics: Oregon State

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