Washington (8-5) at Washington State(9-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,671) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Washington 6-3, WSU 7-1. Away Record: Washington 1-1, WSU 0-1. Neutral Record: Washington 1-1, WSU 2-2. Conference Record: Washington 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Washington leads, 174-100.
GAMES NOTES: Long time instate rivals will collide on Saturday night when the Washington Huskies battle the Washington State Cougars in each team's Pac-12 opener at Beasley Coliseum.
The Huskies had been humming along with wins in four straight games before losing to Connecticut, 61-53, on the road last Saturday. The loss dropped Washington, which was playing its final non-conference game of the campaign, to 8-5 this season. The matchup with UConn was also just the second true away game for Washington, which will stay on the road against California and Stanford next.
Meanwhile, Washington State extended its winning streak to four games with a 74-39 route of Idaho State last Saturday. The Cougars have really been heating up recently with wins in seven of their last eight games. The Cougars have also benefited from a home-heavy schedule early on as they are 7-1 in Pullman already. Next up for Washington State are road tests against Stanford and California.
This will be the 275th meeting all-time between these bitter rivals. In that time Washington has accrued a 174-100 advantage including a series sweep last year.
Washington really struggled on the offensive end against UConn as the Huskies managed to shoot just 19.7 percent from the field in the game. Normally a potent scorer, C.J. Wilcox had trouble finding his shot in the loss as he connected on just 2-of-12 shots from the floor.
On the campaign, Wilcox (18.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) has been one of the best scorers in the Pac-12. Before the loss to UConn, Wilcox had been playing extremely well by scoring at least 21 points in seven of his previous eight games. Center Aziz N'Diaye also took a step back against UConn. The 7-footer (10.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg) was held scoreless and managed a season low three rebounds. N'Diaye had scored in double figures in a career-high seven straight games previously. Suggs (13.7 ppg) and Abdul Gaddy (12.8 ppg) have also been strong scorers for Washington, although the Huskies lack much depth beyond those four. As a team Washington is eighth in the Pac-12 in scoring (70.9 ppg) and ninth in field goal percentage (.446).
The Cougars led by as many as 37 points in the rout of Idaho State. Washington State pounded the Bengals inside and outscored them 28-12 on points in the paint. By constantly getting the ball in close the Cougars also got to the foul line a fair amount where they outscored Idaho State 19-1.
Washington State's answer to Wilcox comes in the frontcourt in Brock Motum. The 6-foot-10 forward is currently second in the Pac-12 in scoring (19.7 ppg), while managing to rebound at a solid rate (7.0 pg). Motum has been in double figures in every game this season and has scored less than 15 points only twice. DaVonte Lacy (11.8 ppg) is the second option and will tangle with Washington's talented backcourt. Despite Motum's efforts, the Cougars haven't been overly successful on offense scoring just 64.0 points per game, which ranks 11th in the conference. The meager offensive production has been outweighed by some stingy defense, as the Cougars rank in the top 25 nationally in points allowed (55.2 pg, 12th) and field-goal percentage (.373, 10th).
In a battle of two of the top scorers, this game could very well be decided by the supporting casts. N'Diaye should be able to at least slow Motum down and the rest of the high-scoring Huskies' backcourt could push them to a road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 71, Washington State 69
01/05 10:31:52 ET