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The Washington Huskies (19-5 / 10-1 Pac-12) will not only be looking to take further control of the Pac-12 Conference standings when they take on the Washington State Cougars (10-14 / 3-8 Pac-12) on Saturday, but they will also be chasing the season sweep of their rivals to boot.
The Huskies have already seized a bit of control of the conference sitting on top of the standings with their impressive 10-1 record through Pac-12 play, although they just had their 12-game win streak snapped last Saturday against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Cougars are basically just sitting ahead of Cal at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, as 3 wins from their 11 conference outings certainly don’t look good, but at least Washington State is showing some fight recently with a sweep of both programs in Arizona coming into tonight’s affair against their biggest rivals.
Huskies Taking Control Of The Pac-12 Standings
The Huskies are already in control of the Pac-12 standings coming into tonight’s 5 p.m. PT tip at Friel Court in Pullman, and they have already taken the first meeting between their in-state rivals way back on January 5th when both programs were getting conference play started.
24 hours until the @BoeingWA 🍎🏆
— Washington Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) February 16, 2019
Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell came away with 20 points in the first meeting, with 8 boards and 5 dimes to go along with it. Nowell leads this Huskies squad averaging 16.4 PPG, and adds 5.3 RBG with 3.4 APG for head coach Mike Hopkins.
Hopkins has his kids on their way to another 20-win season after taking in 21 victories last year in Hopkins’ 1st year in Seattle. Obviously, he is hoping to not be an NIT participant this time around, with the Big Dance in sight for the Huskies.
The Huskies defense stands out this season, as they only allow 64.5 PPG this year which has them ranked 30th in the country.
Noah Dickerson (12.8 PPG) and David Crisp (12.4 PPG) join Nowell as the other 2 players averaging double-digits this year, although senior guard Matisse Thybulle could find his way to the club with a big night tonight, as he snatches 9.7 PPG in his final year in Seattle.
Last time out, the Huskies shot a miserable 11 of 20 from the charity stripe against the Sun Devils (55%), and only converted 21 of their 57 shots from the floor (36.8%). Nowell came away with 15 points, and Dickerson led all scorers with 18 points on the 75 – 63 loss.
Cougs Needing Some Home Court Lovin’ To Upset Huskies
The Cougars are going to need some big-time home lovin’ tonight if they plan on pulling the upset tonight, and, at least, Washington State is 8 – 3 at the Friel Center this season overall. Well, the problem is, they were 8 – 0 at home before losing their last 3 games here, so the fans will likely be in full-throat tonight when their biggest rivals come into Pullman.
— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUMensHoops) February 15, 2019
The Cougars know they are home dogs tonight, and they damn well should be with how poor of a season it’s been for head coach Ernie Kent.
Kent has yet to pull in a winning campaign with this being year 5 in control of the program, and let’s just call it what it is now. Job security has got to be something on his mind, because 5 losing season’s in the Pac-12 Conference is not likely going to just be allowed to drag on for who knows how long?
Well, some life has been found all of a sudden, however, as the Cougs just took the road trip to Arizona and took out both the Wildcats and Sun Devils along the way, both as heavy, double-digit underdogs on the road.
Senior forward Robert Franks leads Cougar Nation in scoring with his impressive 22.6 PPG, and those 7.7 boards a night look just as nice to me. Franks dumped a season-high 34 points on Arizona State and just slapped 31 on Arizona on the 2-game trip to follow it up.
While it’s nice that the Cougs score a 71st ranked 77.5 PPG, they also allow 77.7 PPG on the other side of the court which has them ranked 312th in the country.
This is definitely one of the better free throw shooting teams we have in college hoops as well as they splash 75.2% of their free throws (29th).
Freshman forward CJ Elleby brings in 15.5 PPG, and it is only he and Franks who average double-digits this year for the Cougars. The drop off from there is drastic, as the next player on the roster is junior guard Ahmed Ali, who only brings in 7.9 PPG in his first year in Pullman.
• Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
• Under is 37-14 in Huskies last 51 vs. Pacific-12.
• Under is 23-7 in Huskies last 30 road games.
• Under is 46-22 in Huskies last 68 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Call it a hunch, but for some reason I see these rivals getting together and giving us a game tonight, nothing like the first meeting that Washington walked away with.
The Cougars +8 is the 3* Play on the Side.
Prediction: Washington State +8
Full-Game Total Pick
I see this working out to be 73 – 69 type of game which keeps us under this number offered from the line setters between these two rivals.
It will be tight, but I still think it stays low-scoring and gives us a cashed ticket on the total.
The Under 147 is the 3* Play on the Total.
Prediction: Under 147