The second half of the Pac-12 basketball schedule is well underway. The Washington Huskies are well underwater. Lorenzo Romar hopes that his guys can bail the flood out of the ship well enough to take down an Oregon State Beaver team that has proved itself to be vulnerable. These two teams, who could use a win more than anyone needed candy on Valentine's Day, meet at Hec Edmunson Pavilion inside Alaska Airlines Arena Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. P.S.T.
The Washington (13-12, 5-7 Pac-12) story is familiar by now. An up and down underwhelming out of conference performance was followed by a somewhat startling 4-0 start in Pac-12 play. Since then its been seven losses, interrupted only by a 96-92 shootout win over Arizona State. The Huskies have struggled to blend a talented and deep backcourt with a frontcourt that has found its mojo in the last four games. Mostly, though, the Dawgs give away points like they were Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving dinner. At 49% from the field Washington's opponents light up the scoreboard.
Oregon State (13-12, 3-9) comes to town with a team that scores better than it defends as well. Five Beavers average double figures led by Roberto Nelson, a 6'3" junior out of Santa Barbara, California. Nelson averages 17.1 points per game, and his matchup with Washington's guards will be worth watching. The frontcourt is patrolled by sophomore forward Eric Moreland, a 6'10" springer who pulls down over 11 rebounds a night and blocks 2.5 shots a game.
Oregon State is looking for a rare season sweep over Washington. The last time Oregon State pulled off the regular-season sweep of the Huskies was 2003 when the Beavers won 82-62 on Jan. 25 in Corvallis and 80-72 on Feb. 20 in Seattle. Philip Ricci averaged 13.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the two games to lead Oregon State. The Beavers took down the Huskies earlier this season when the Beavers built a 20-point lead and then held on to win 74-66 on Jan. 23 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
Las Vegas lists the Huskies as a four point favorite. I need to see a win of some kind by the Huskies before I give up points. Take the Beavers and the four. Use your winnings on opening day at Emerald Downs, just two months away.
Saturday's game will be carried on FSN nationally and ROOT Sports locally with Justin Kutcher and Marques Johnson on the call and Lisa McKeeman providing sideline analysis. Locally, the game will be broadcast over the radio by IMG College Sports Network and KJR Sportsradio 950 AM and 102.9 FM with Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton calling the action.