NCAA Basketball Preview: Portland Pilots at Washington Huskies Picks & Predictions

Portland Pilots at Washington Huskies
Monday, 12/6/10, 10:00 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread:  Washington -18
Current Betting Line:  Washington -19

The Washington Huskies lead the nation in scoring and get set to host the Portland Pilots on Monday night

Portland visits the 22nd-ranked Washington Huskies on Monday night in the second of four consecutive road games.  The Pilots enter the game having won three straight after dealing the Montana Grizzlies a 58-54 loss in Missoula, Montana on Friday.  With its most recent win, the team is 2-0 in true road games.  It’s a bit of a surprising start for a program that returned just a single starter from last year’s 21-11 squad, which matched a school Division I record in wins last season.  Portland will need a huge game from outside the arc in possibly pulling off the upset, ranking fourth nationally in team three-point percentage (45.4).  Last year, the squad finished fifth nationally in the category (40.7).  Over the last three seasons, the team is 17-11 ATS on the road and is currently a double-digit underdog on the college basketball lines page.

The Pilots two-leading scorers, Jared Stohl and Luke Sikma, are Washington natives looking to fare better in gaining revenge from a 89-54 defeat in last year’s meeting.  They combined for nine points off the bench against the Huskies in that contest.  Portland has played two high-profile programs thus far in the 2010-11 campaign and has managed to shoot below 36 percent in both losses.  The team dropped a 79-48 decision to the Kentucky Wildcats on November 19 and 84-68 contest to Washington State four days later.  Portland is No. 18 in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

Washington wraps up a quick three-game home stand in meeting tonight’s opponent for the 15th time in the series.  The Huskies are 12-2 all-time and 7-0 at home against Portland, but know the Pilots are dangerous due to a season-opening road loss to the Pilots in 2008-09.  Coach Lorenzo Romar is 5-4 all-time against Portland, which includes a 3-3 mark at Pepperdine.  Losing at Hec Edmundson Pavilion is rare under coach Romar, as the Huskies have won 20 straight non-conference games at the venue.  In nine years under his direction, the program is 119-23 overall at home.  Washington is 3-3 ATS on the year and 37-34 ATS over the last three seasons overall.

The Huskies lead the nation in scoring 95.7 points per game and pace the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at 46.3 percent.  Washington is also among the country’s leaders in assists per game (20.1), field goal percentage (51.0) and steals (9.7).  “It’s crazy,” said point guard Isaiah Thomas.  “It’s like every time I look up I’m like, ‘Dang, we’re at 90.”  The offense is well-balanced and has five players averaging in double figures thus far.  All of this firepower was the main reason the Pac-10 media experts picked the Huskies to win the Pac-10 for the first time in school history in the preseason media poll.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Pilots are 2-8 ATS as an underdog, while the Huskies are 1-6 ATS versus the West Coast Conference.

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