NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington State vs. Washington

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 28, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

In a rare Friday night major conference battle in the Pac-12, the conference doormats this season, the Washington State Cougars, visit their rivals the Washington Huskies.

The last place team in the Pac-12 actually has a chance to be competitive as it takes on its in-state rival Friday night when those Washington State Cougars (9-18, 1-9 away) pay a visit to the Washington Huskies (15-13, 12-3 home) at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, WA at 10:30 ET in a game available on Pac-12 Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington State as a big underdog with the current line at +9½ with odds of -110.

It has been a long season for Washington State, as besides being just 9-18 overall, the Cougars are last in the Pac-12 with a 2-13 conference mark, and it has not helped that leading scorer DaVonte Lacy has only played 18 games due to two separate injuries that both cost him a stretch of games. At least he is back now and playing well however.

As for the Huskies, they have been a bit inconsistent while going just 7-8 during Pac-12 play, and while they have lost just one conference game at home, that loss came the last time they played here in Seattle vs. California on February 15th. They come off of a two-game road trip through the state of Oregon which they split, losing 78-71 to Oregon before romping over a bad Oregon State team 86-62 last Saturday.

The Cougars have now lost 10 of their last 11 games, but can you guess who the lone win was against? If you said Washington, you would be correct by a 72-67 count back in Pullman in Lacy’s first game back on February 1st. Unfortunately the Cougars have not won since having lost six straight games following a 67-53 loss at Oregon when they last played on Sunday.

You cannot blame Lacy for the losing streak though as his 19 points vs. the Ducks means that he is now averaging 24.2 points over the six losses, raising his scoring average for the season to 19.3 points per game. He did get a little bit of help in the loss to Oregon as D.J. Shelton added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and if Shelton comes close to that tonight while Lacy has his typical shooting game, we se no reason why Washington State cannot hang around in this game.

That is because we are not convinced that Washington deserves to be nearly a double-digit favorite over anyone right now, and the loss to the Cougars in the first meeting only reinforces that belief.

The Huskies have been very lax defensively this season, especially on the interior, and that makes them capable of making even a weak Washington State offense look better than it is, especially with the Cougars now having a bona fide scorer in Lacy back at full health. Washington is 282nd in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed and a woeful 331st in two-point defense allowing a generous 53.9 percent success rate.

Furthermore the Huskies are dead last inside the Pac-12 in two-point defense during conference play, so while it may look ugly at times, look for Lacy and Washington State to score enough points to keep this game within single-digits on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington State +9½ (-110)