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February 4, 2011Matchup: No. 20 Washington Huskies (15-6 overall, 7-3 Pac-10) at Oregon Ducks (11-11, 4-6)
Tip: Saturday 1 p.m. , Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.
TV, radio: FSN will broadcast the game nationally with Kevin Calabro and Marques Johnson calling the action. Saturday's game can be heard on the radio on KJR 950-AM.
Coaches: Lorenzo Romar, Washington (ninth year); Dana Altman, Oregon (first year).
Series: Washington leads the series 183-103, including a 87-69 win over Oregon last month in Seattle.
About the Huskies: The Huskies enter Saturday's game against Oregon coming off consecutive losses in Pac-10 play, which dropped them out of first place in the conference for the first time all season. The Huskies have struggled mightily away from home this season. Their road record stands at 3-4, and they are 1-2 at neutral sites. The Huskies need to find a way out of their current slump or else they will risk conceding the top spot in the conference and fall into a position of battling for an NCAA tournament appearance. Isaiah Thomas especially needs to step up for the Huskies, as he is coming off back-to-back games where he shot poorly from the field, and turned the ball over at an uncharacteristically high rate (14 turnovers in the last two games). If Thomas can get back on track, the Huskies should be able to re-establish themselves as the best team out west.
About the Ducks: Oregon is coming off a surprising drubbing of Washington State at home on Thursday. The Cougars may have over-celebrated a victory over UW, as they were embarrassed by the Ducks 69-43 on the road. The Huskies need to key in on senior forward Joevan Catron of Oregon. Catron had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting between these two teams this season, and has been establishing himself as one of the most talented big men in the conference. Catron is averaging 15.8 points per game, and will likely see a combination of Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N'Diaye matched up on him. E.J. Singler, younger brother of Duke's Kyle Singler, has been very productive for the Ducks lately, averaging 11 points per game on the season. The biggest advantage for Oregon on Saturday is going to be playing at home in the Ducks' new arena. The Matthew Knight arena is a state-of-the-art facility that seems to have injected new life into the team, as the Ducks have turned their season around lately, winning four of their past six games.
Projected starters for Washington:
G Isaiah Thomas 5-9 185 Jr. Tacoma, Wash. 16.7 ppg, 5.8 apg
G Scott Suggs6-6 195 Jr. Washington, Mo. 7.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
C Aziz N'Diaye 7-0 260 So. Dakar, Senegal 4.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg
F Justin Holiday 6-6 185 Sr. Chatsworth, Calif. 12.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg
F Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6-9 240 Sr. London, England 15.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg
Projected starters for Oregon:
G Garrett Sim 6-1 181 Jr. Portland, Ore. 8.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
G Johnathon Loyd 5-8 160 Fr. Las Vegas, Nev. 5.1 ppg, 2.4 apg
F Joevan Catron 6-6 245 Sr. Phoenix, Ill. 15.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg
F E.J. Singler 6-6 210 So. Medford, Ore. 11.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
F Tyrone Nared6-8 210 Jr. Woonsocket, R.I. 5.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
UDubSports.com pick: Washington, 88-84.