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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 5, 2008 8:35 PM

Thursday's picks

Posted by Bob Condotta

One weekend left of regular season action, and it's one that figures to go a long way toward determining whether the Pac-10 gets four, five or six teams into the NCAA Tournament.

I don't really buy the notion that only four will get in, and it's telling that ESPN's Joe Lunardi has six Pac-10 teams in his most recent Bracketology and has them all in comfortably --- the lowest seed is Arizona State at No. 10.

Seems now to be a foregone conclusion that some precedents will be set in the Pac-10, which has never had a team with a conference record worse than 10-8 get an at-large bid. Arizona can no longer do better than 9-9 and ASU needs a road sweep to get to 10-8. Yet if people like Lunardi can be believed, each may be getting in at 9-9, and Arizona may even have a shot at 8-10. My how times have changed in just five years --- remember that only three Pac-10 teams got invites as recently as 2004.

(Speaking of Bracketology, I love some of Lunardi's second-round matchups. Stanford-Gonzaga, a rematch of the memorable 1999 second-rounder at Key Arena? WSU-Wisconsin, with the storyline of Tony Bennett coaching against the state where his dad is a folk hero? USC-Duke?)

But I digress. On with the picks.

STANFORD AT UCLA: The game of the year in the Pac-10. UCLA clinches the outright title with a win, Stanford can stay alive with a win and put the Bruins in the position of rooting for rival USC Saturday. As Bud Withers of our staff noted Wednesday, one of the oddities of the year was both Lopez twins fouling out in the first meeting while Kevin Love wasn't whistled once, a big reason UCLA won 76-67. The teams are pretty even in a lot of statistical categories. Two where they aren't ---- shooting (UCLA is at 48.1, Stanford 42.8) and turnover margin (UCLA is plus-1.31, Stanford minus-1.38). With UCLA at home, expect those two trends to continue and key a Bruins win. UCLA 67, STANFORD 61.

ARIZONA STATE AT OREGON: With a game at OSU in the offing Saturday. ASU can all-but-clinch a tourney spot with a victory over the Ducks. Oregon needs a win to keep its faint hopes alive, but the trends aren't great for the Ducks, who are 4-8 since Jan. 13. Whole key to this one will be outside shooting. ASU's zone defense figures to lure the Ducks into shooting a lot of threes (Oregon leads the Pac-10 in three attempts with 38 more than any other team in conference play). If Oregon gets hot early, look out. Otherwise, the collars could get awfully tight. I'll side with thinking that the home court and some emotion from Oregon's seniors will sway things the way of the Ducks. OREGON 72, ASU 63.

ARIZONA AT OREGON STATE: I really didn't think OSU could actually go 0-18. But after watching the Oregon game, when twice late it was the Ducks who dove on the ground for loose balls while the Beavers stayed upright and reached, I decided there's no hope left for the Beavers. No analysis needed of this one. As much of a soap opera as Arizona may be, hard to believe they the Wildcats could lose this one. ARIZONA 82, OSU 65.

CAL AT USC: Serious rumblings that Cal's Ben Braun could be in some trouble, especially if the Bears lose out the season and finish .500, which would be the fourth time in the last five years without a winning record. One of Cal's two home wins came in the first meeting against USC when O.J. Mayo scored 34 --- USC has lost three of the four games where Mayo has score more than 30. Trojans generally assumed to be in the tournament, but one more win will clinch at least a 10-8 conference record and assure a bid. They'll get it gainst the Bears USC 77, CAL 70.


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Posted by Cougfan

7:05 AM, Mar 06, 2008

I feel bad that Bob put his picks out so early. He is trailing me, by my calculations, by one game in the picks. SHould have waited, Bob. Anyway, I am sure Mallory is surprised that the UW is not in Lunardi's Bracketology--sorry, I just can't get off the stupidity of his argument comparing a loss to Ok State to a loss to Memphis--but I don't think any person with sense is surprised. On to the picks:

UCLA over Stanford: I actually don't think the game is going to be as close as Bob predicts. Stanford was taken to the end by both UW (I guess they should be a 3 seed since they almost beat Stanford) and what is turning out to be an average Wazzzu team (like I said before the season started, remember MT?) Unless the officials give this one to Stanford, UCLA wins big. (73-61)

USC over Cal: USC needs a win to ensure a decent seed. I think Cal has quit on Braun. (78-65)

ASU over Oregon: Just to give Bob a chance to get even with me. Winner has a chance to dance, loser goes to NIT. (63-58)

UofA over BHS: (81-55)

Good luck to all! (except Mallory/condottarulz)

Posted by sequimdawgbob

7:37 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Bob, they are ball games, times you had some. Your picks smack of some accountant in the back room at WaMu. Stanford will step up! The twins will make up for all the Love that UCLA has to offer.

The Ducks are dead. ASU by 12. Nice pick in the AZ - Baseball School game, I gotta go along with that one.

As for Saturday, I hope the Cougs do very well in the Tourney, but the Huskies are going to help them "Coug it." Go Dawgs!

Posted by MT Husky

7:39 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Cougfan, I do recall your consternation that when WSU was ranked in the top 5 they were overrated and I told you that you were wrong. You were right.

WSU has been a tough team to figure, at times they resemble the team I thought they would be this other times...not so much. I would say now that how far WSU goes in the tourney will really come down to the type of match-ups they draw.

Posted by Nick

9:28 AM, Mar 06, 2008

sequimdawgbob you got it wrong man. those Duck seniors aren't going to go out without a fight. ASU by 12? i see this game being close. ASU knows they'll most likely be in with a win at OSU, so they might come out over-confident The Ducks will get a lot of open shots and Mac court is a tough place to pick up a W. I got a prediction for you...Dawgs lose by 20 on saturday.

Bob, I agree with your picks but USC will beat CAL by at least 15. Should be a good weekend of PAC-10 ball.

Posted by Elvis

9:52 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Cougfan Wazzu "an average team?"

As a "Coug fan," I have enjoyed your posts this season; however, I'm not sure I agree with you this time. The Cougs will have a winning record in one of, if not the toughest conference in the country. Sure, they've had some trouble with UCLA, Stanford and Arizona, mostly because of foul issues. Sometimes, I think the Pac 10 refs don't appreciate good defense down the stretch. But I wouldn't say they're average. This team is special, above average at the least--perhaps their best game is yet to come. They are a very good road team, and who knows what can happen come tourney time. The fact is, they could do very well--and being an old-timer that has suffered through some very lean years, having a team that can PLAY with anyone, is very special and well above average in my book--or anyone's book.

I'm looking forward to Saturday, where I think the Huskies will be in over their heads. I believe it will be hard to win on Senior Day with Low, Weaver, and Cowgill saying goodbye. And although the Huskies have shown some surprising wins, I don't think they get one here--for the simple reason, I don't believe the Cougs are average!

Again, I have enjoyed your posts Cougfan, and despite your early season prediction, there is nothing "average" about this Cougar Team. I believe you will see that on Saturday.

Anyway, GO COUGS!

Posted by Cougfan

10:13 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Elvis: Thanks for the response. I think I meant we are more of an average tourney team than average overall. I think the top 5 ranking was way too high. If we get a 5 or 6 seed I think it is appropriate which would make us an above average Div. 1 school but an average tourney team. Sorry about that. I love my Cougs and don't want it to come across like I am belittling their accomplishments

Posted by Cougfan

10:16 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Elvis: Thanks for the response. I think I meant we are more of an average tourney team than average overall. I think the top 5 ranking was way too high. If we get a 5 or 6 seed I think it is appropriate which would make us an above average Div. 1 school but an average tourney team. Sorry about that. I love my Cougs and don't want it to come across like I am belittling their accomplishments

Posted by Elvis

10:49 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Cougfan: Fair enough! I think you need to give us a early Saturday B-ball Apple Cup score prediction. Let's get this rivalry week started. I know you won't be taking the Dawgs. Go Cougs!

Posted by sittingdawg

12:03 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I have to agree with these two cougs that WSU will win on Saturday. Hopefully not in blowout fashion.

But just the thought of UW winning and damaging WSU's season this late is pretty sweet. And "couging it" is a cliche for a reason, even in basketball (ask Vanderbilt). I think a home loss to UW on Saturday would do catastrophic damage to WSU's seed. There are a lot of deserving 5 and 6 seeds. Needless to say, WSU dropping to an 8 or 9 would be tough on them.

Posted by Glenn

3:21 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Not sure what you mean by WSU losing in the tourney last year to Vandy as "couging it". If we were ahead by 20 and lost I could see it, but it was close throughout, and was a double OT game between two hungry teams.
"Couging It" would be being ranked #7 to begin the season, then not making the postseason. Wait, that was UW last year. Congrats to the huskies on making the made-up tourney this year, enjoy watching us in the Varsity tourney.

Posted by sittingdawg

11:03 AM, Mar 07, 2008

Touche, Glenn. UW really blew it last year. But that hype wasn't really deserved, as most WSU and UW fans knew.

To be honest, I'll likely be rooting for WSU in the tournament, depending on who they play. I was rooting for them against Vandy, but it really felt like WSU had that one and gave it away. They should have won, but found a way not to. Maybe you disagree. Or maybe Cougars are used to losing games like that.

UW had a tough loss to UConn a few years ago in the tournament. Should have won, but for a ridiculous double foul call against Brandon Roy, putting him out of the game with a lot of time left. I suppose it happens, but I wouldn't consider that "couging it."

Point is, WSU should win Saturday, and if they don't then in my opinion it is very damaging to their seed and bracket.

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