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Talkin’ Tall Firs: The Good Huskies and the Bad Cougars

The State of Oregon Versus The State of Washington Goes Down This Week

Washington Huskies

UW, riding a seven-game winning streak, are the top dogs in the PAC-12 as of right now. They just passed Oregon (#52) in the KenPom rankings about two weeks ago. The Huskies really have no bad losses and were one defensive stop away from beating then the #1 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Even though they are favorites to get the automatic bid for winning the PAC-12 Tournament, they have a chance at getting an at-large bid (pending how they play out the rest of the season).

Wins - Western Kentucky, San Diego, Santa Clara, Texas A&M, Eastern Washington, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Sacramento State, Cal State Fullerton, Washington State, @ Utah, @ Colorado, Stanford, California

Losses - @ #11 Auburn, Minnesota, @ #1 Gonzaga, #13 Virginia Tech

KenPom Ranking - #45

Game Time:

Washington (14-4, 5-0) @ Oregon (11-7, 2-3) 9:00 PM ET, ESPN2 on Thursday, January 24th

Key Numbers:

  • 72.6 Points Per Game
  • 34.4 Rebounds Per Game
  • 11.7 Assists Per Game
  • 8.1 Steals Per Game (Ranked 39th in the Nation)
  • 6.7 Blocks Per Game (Ranked 2nd in the Nation)
  • 65.0 Points Allowed Per Game (Ranked 36th in the Nation)
  • 45.9 Field Goal Percentage

Player to Watch For:

Jaylen Nowell, Sophomore - 16.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG

I thought the senior leadership of Noah Dickerson and David Crisp would be the 1-2 punch that would be leading this team to victory after victory but it seems that Nowell is the man on this team. Jaylen is a smart guard who doesn’t make too many mental errors. He has made a huge jump from his freshman campaign to this season.

Score Prediction: 81-70, Huskies over Ducks

The Huskies have the best defensive team in the PAC-12 and they will shut down any sort of offensive plan Altman will throw at them. Also, The Huskies have the trio of stars (Crisp, Nowell, Dickerson) who will turn it up on offense.

Washington State Cougars

The Cougars are debatably the worst team in the PAC-12. In my opinion, it is between Stanford, California, and Washington State. Let’s be honest, WSU hasn’t been good since the 2007-2008 team that went to the Sweet Sixteen.

Wins - Nicholls, Cal Poly, Delaware State, CSU Northridge, Idaho, Rider, SIU-Edwardsville, California

Losses - @ Seattle, @ New Mexico State, Montana State, San Diego, New Mexico State, Santa Clara, @ Washington, @ Colorado, @ Utah, Stanford

KenPom Ranking - #195

Game Time:

Washington State (8-10, 1-4) @ Oregon (11-7, 2-3) 8:00 PM ET, ESPNU on Sunday, January 27th

Key Numbers:

  • 78.6 Points Per Game
  • 34.1 Rebounds Per Game
  • 14.8 Assists Per Game
  • 5.4 Steals Per Game
  • 2.6 Blocks Per Game
  • 77.3 Points Allowed Per Game
  • 45.9 Field Goal Percentage

Player to Watch For:

Robert Franks, Senior - 21.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.7 APG

Franks was out for four-straight games with a hip injury but when he returned, it was like he never left. Robert dropped 24 points in a win over the California Golden Bears. He will bring major help to an offense that ranks dead last in the PAC-12 for PPG.

Score Prediction: 84-68, Ducks over Cougars

If the Ducks can’t beat this team, I might just have to quit doing these score predictions altogether.

*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho