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Washington (9-5) at California (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Washington 6-3, California 4-3. Away Record: Washington 2-1, California 2-2. Neutral Record: Washington 1-1, California 3-0. Conference Record: Washington 1-0, California 1-1. Series Record: Washington leads, 78-77.
GAMES NOTES: The suddenly streaking Washington Huskies will play the third leg of a four-game road trip on Wednesday night against the California Golden Bears in Pac-12 action at Haas Pavilion.
The Huskies knocked off instate rival Washington State, 68-63, on Saturday in their conference opener as well as their fifth win in the last six games. Using the recent surge, Washington has improved to 9-5 this season, including a 2-1 mark in true road games. Washington will close out the current road trip on Saturday against Stanford.
California also captured a win on Saturday as the Golden Bears dismissed USC, 72-64. The victory came after the Golden Bears had lost back-to-back games including their conference opener against UCLA. This is the first of a two- game homestand for California which is 9-5 this season, including a mediocre 4-3 mark at Haas Pavilion.
Last year California ended a three-game losing streak to the Huskies in their only meeting of the season with a 69-66 road win. Washington still leads the all-time series but by a slim 78-77 advantage.
Using a better than 50 percent shooting percentage in both halves Washington was able to take care of the rival Cougars on Saturday. The Huskies opened the game on a 21-4 run and were able to hold on by hitting 4-of-5 free throws in the final minutes.
Although not an especially deep team, Washington has a number of talented players on the roster. Chief among them is C.J. Wilcox (18.4 ppg) who is the fourth most productive scorer in the Pac-12. Also scoring well out of the backcourt are Scott Suggs (13.5 ppg), who is a gunner from beyond the arc, and Abdul Gaddy (12.6 ppg, 3.8 apg), who is the main distributor. On the interior center Aziz N'Diaye (11.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is a constant double-double threat. Even with those four playing at such a high level Washington is only eighth in the conference in scoring (70.7 ppg) and 10th in rebounding (35.9 ppg).
In the second half against USC, California really heated up, hitting on 52.4 percent of its field goal attempts including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to capture the win. The Golden Bears also had a 21-8 advantage from the free-throw line. Allen Crabbe was the standout in the contest with a game-high 27 points.
While Wilcox has been filling it up at a high level for Washington, no one in the Pac-12 has been lighting it up like Crabbe. The 6-foot-6 swingman is pouring in 21.4 points per game. Justin Cobbs (16.9 ppg) is a more than capable second option. There aren't a great deal of scorers after Crabbe and Cobbs with Richard Solomon (8.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg) the next best option. Overall California is just a step better than Washington, ranking seventh in the conference in scoring (71.1 ppg). Led by David Kravish (7.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) the Golden Bears have managed to be the second best rebounding team in the conference (40.2 pg), while limiting foes to less than 40 percent shooting.
Although Washington has a stellar backcourt, Wilcox, Gaddy and Suggs lack the size to match up with Crabbe and Cobbs. Also aiding the Golden Bears' cause is their superior production on the glass, which could prove to be a major difference in what should be a close game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 72, Washington 67
01/09 10:33:08 ET