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February 25, 2011Matchup: Washington State Cougars (17-10, 7-8) vs. Washington Huskies (18-7,10-4)
Tip: Sunday, 7 p.m., Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle
TV, radio: The game will be broadcast on FSN with commentary by Barry Tompkins and Marques Johnson. Locally, KJR 950-AM will produce the game on the radio with Bob Rondeau calling the play-by-play and Jason Hamilton providing color commentary.
Coaches: Lorenzo Romar, Washington (ninth year); Ken Bone (second year).
Series: Washington leads the all-time series 171-99, but the Cougars won the last meeting 87-80 in Pullman. The last time Washington State won in Seattle was in 2008, when the Cougars beat the Huskies 56-52.
About the Cougars: Like the Huskies, the Cougars have struggled since they beat Washington on their home court. They have dropped four of six games and wasted an opportunity to move into the upper tier of the Pac-10. They are led by junior Klay Thompson, who is averaging more than 21 points per game this season, including 28 and 30 points in their two most recent games. Even though he did not start against the Huskies in Pullman, he finished the game with 25 points and five steals. In the middle of the season, he looked to be in the running for conference player of the year, but the recent slide by the Cougars has silenced some of that talk. If he can play well and help the Cougars to a strong finish, he may still be in the running for the award. Coming from off the bench, junior Faisal Aden is a dangerous threat for the Cougars. He averages almost 13 points per game, and was a key reason for the win earlier in the season when he scored 15 points, 10 of which came in the first half when the Cougars were struggling on offense. Several Cougars have the ability to score 20 points, which makes them a tough team to defend, but by far and away, Thompson is their biggest threat.
About the Huskies: The Huskies are a much different team headed into this meeting between the two teams; most notably is their absence from the national rankings. They were ranked 18th in the country when the two teams met, but the loss sent the Huskies spiraling to a three-game losing streak. The Huskies have bounced back by winning four of their last five, and almost defeated the first place Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. The starting lineup for Washington now features redshirt freshman, C.J. Wilcox, who has contributed in all facets for the Huskies. He has scored in double figures in the last four conference games, including a 19-point outburst against the Wildcats last weekend. Aside from his points, he has also helped the Huskies with his rebounding and defensive presence. He did not travel to Pullman for the first meeting between these teams, so he could have a major impact in this game. Washington is in third place in the Pac-10, has an outside chance at the conference title, but a more attainable goal would be to earn the second seed for the conference tournament. The Huskies will likely need to win out, which starts with this game against their in-state rival.
Projected Starters for Washington State
G Klay Thompson 6-6 202 Jr. Ladera Ranch, Calif. 21.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg
G Reggie Moore 6-1 180 So. Seattle, Wash. 9.7 ppg, 3.7 apg
G Marcus Capers 6-4 185 Jr. Winter Haven, Fla. 6.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F DeAngelo Casto 6-8 255 Jr. Spokane, Wash. 11.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
F Abe Lodwick 6-7 208 Jr. Bend, Ore. 3.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Projected Starters for Washington:
G Isaiah Thomas 5-9 185 Jr. Tacoma, Wash. 16.8 ppg, 5.7 apg
G C.J. Wilcox 6-5 190 RS Fr. Pleasant Grove, Utah 7.2 ppg, 2.1 apg
C Aziz N'Diaye 7-0 260 So. Dakar, Senegal 4.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
F Justin Holiday 6-6 185 Sr. Chatsworth, Calif. 12 ppg, 5.3 rpg
F Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6-9 240 Sr. London, England 16 ppg, 8 rpg
UDubSports.com pick: Washington. 92-72.