Washington travels to Tuscon for Crucial Pac-10 Rematch with Arizona

Washington Huskies at Arizona Wildcats, McKale Center, Tuscon, AZ
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 6:00 PM Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Arizona -1 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -2 1/2
Opening Total: 156 1/2
Current Total: 156 1/2
Money Line: Arizona -145 / Washington +125

Isaiah Thomas and the Huskies travel to Tucson to take on the red hot Arizona Wildcats in a crucial Pac-10 tilt. The Huskies are 2 1/2 point underdogs.

Washington won the first match-up between these schools January 20th in Seattle 85-68. After that game Washington looked to be the runaway favorite to win the Pac-10. However, Washington went on a 3 game losing streak on the road to the Oregon Schools and in-state rival Washington St. The losing streak dropped Washington out of the top 25 rankings and into 3rd place in the Pac-10, behind Arizona and UCLA. Washington is 18-7 overall and 10-4 in the conference. Arizona meanwhile has gone on a seven game winning streak since the loss at Washington. They have climbed all the way up to #12 in the AP poll and #13 in the ESPN poll. Arizona is 22-4 overall and 11-2 in the Pac-10. Both teams are pretty safe as far as the NCAA tournament goes, but Washington needs it more to bolster their resume. Washington has wins over Virginia, Long Beach St, Texas Tech, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon St, Cal twice, Arizona St twice, and Stanford. Washington has won three straight since the losing streak, including a 79-62 win at Arizona St Thursday night. The Huskies have losses to Kentucky, Michigan St, Texas A&M, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon St, and Washington St. Arizona has wins over Oklahoma, NC State, Oregon, Cal twice, Stanford twice,  Arizona St twice, USC, UCLA, and Washington St twice. Arizona won at home versus Washington St Thursday night 79-70. The Wildcats have losses to Kansas, BYU, and Oregon St in addition to the Washington loss. All of Arizona’s losses are on the road. The Wildcats are 14-0 at home.

Arizona leads the overall series against Washington 43-25. Washington hasn’t won in Tuscon since 2006. Washington is 3-2 straight up in the last five but Arizona is 4-1 ATS in those games. Four of those five have gone over the total as well. Arizona is 15-8 ATS in all games this season and 13-6 ATS as a favorite.

Washington guard Abdul Gaddy tore his ACL in practice a few weeks ago and is gone for the season. He was averaging 8.5 points a game. Washington guard Scott Suggs is listed as doubtful for this game with a sprained MCL. He averages 7.3 points a game but leads the Pac-10 in 3-point shooting at 45.5%. Husky forward Brandon Sherrer is also listed as doubtful with a staph infection. He plays less than 3 minutes a game anyway.  Washington is led by guard Isaiah Thomas, a candidate to win Pac-10 player of the year. Thomas is averaging 16.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. He leads the team in points and assists. Forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning is averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks. Justin Holiday averages 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 steals a game to lead the team. Washington is outscoring opponents 86-70 on the year. The Huskies are shooting 48% from the field and 38.7% from 3-point range. Husky opponents are shooting 41.6% from the field. Washington is shooting 65.8% from the free throw line. The Huskies average 39.8 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +5.3. Washington averages 17.9 assists and 12.4 turnovers a game. They force 15.3 turnovers a game on defense. The Huskies force 7 steals and 5.3 blocks a game.

Arizona is healthy right now with no injuries. They are led by sophomore forward Derrick Williams, also a candidate for Pac-10 player of the year. He leads the Wildcats in almost every statistical category except assists. He is averaging 19.5 points a game, 8 rebounds, 1 assists, and 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks a game. Though he doesn’t shoot a lot of 3-pointers he has shot 65.8% from behind the arc. Guard Lamont Jones averages 9.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. Guard Kyle Fogg is averaging 8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists to lead the team and 0.9 steals a game. Forward Solomon Hill averages 8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.8 steals a game.  Arizona is outscoring opponents 78-66 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 48.1% from the field and 40.4% from 3-point range. Arizona holds opponents to 42.7% shooting from the field. The ‘Cats make 75.1% of their free throws. Arizona averages 35.3 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +5.1. Arizona averages 14.8 assists and 13.5 turnovers a game. They force 13 turnovers a game on defense. Arizona averages 2.7 blocks and 5.3 steals a game.

An Arizona win will likely eliminate Washington from winning the Pac-10 regular season title. However if Washington were to win and complete the sweep it would create a three way race to the finish with Arizona, UCLA, and Washington. Both Washington and Arizona still have games left against UCLA though Arizona has to travel to Westwood, while the Bruins have to go to Seattle. Washington is the better rebounding team, and both teams sometimes struggle on defense. Both the Huskies and Wildcats are comfortable playing in the high 70’s. This should be a great game between two long time rivals.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot this season. Don’t miss out on any more winners in 2011.

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