Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#873 Washington State 137 vs.
#874 Washington -9.5
Friday, February 28, 2020 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

This article covers a past game!

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The Washington State Cougars will head to Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday evening for a PAC-12 Conference matchup versus the Washington Huskies.

Washington State has slid back to the .500-mark with a 14-14 overall record after losing its last four PAC-12 games. The Cougars are just 5-10 in conference play while Washington has won just three of its first 15 league contests. The Huskies are in last place in the PAC-12 standings but they can still secure a winning record by closing with three straight wins. After snapping a nine-game slide, can Washington keep its momentum going against in-state rival Washington State?

Washington State can't stop slide vs. Stanford

Washington State fell to 5-10 in PAC-12 play on Sunday with a 75-57 loss at home against Stanford as 4.5-point underdogs. CJ Elleby finished with a team-high 22 points and 10 rebounds while Jervae Robinson added 14 for the Cougars, who trailed from start to finish in the blowout loss. Elleby carried his team from long-range, making four of his nine 3-point shots but his teammates combined to go just 3-for-21 from beyond the arc on the night.

Kyle Smith’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 136 in the latest KenPom rankings after dropping its fourth straight PAC-12 contest. The Cougars have struggled on both ends of the floor this season but they do a good job of taking care of the basketball and forcing turnovers on the defensive end. Washington State has scored 100.5 points per 100 possessions for the season (193rd in the NCAA) but things haven’t gotten any better during league play. Despite turning the ball over only 17.1 percent of the time (2nd in the PAC-12), the Cougars are averaging just 93.9 points per 100 possessions during conference play (11th in the PAC-12). That’s because they rank near the bottom of the PAC-12 in nearly every other major offensive category.

Washington State does most of its damage from 3-point range but it has shot just 32.4 percent from behind the 3-point line during league play (8th in the PAC-12). The Cougars are also the worst 2-point shooting team in the conference at 42.6 percent and they rank near the bottom of the PAC-12 in both offensive rebounding rate (11th in the PAC-12) and free throw rate (10th in the PAC-12), which makes it difficult for them to make up points when their shots aren’t falling.

Huskies cover the spread for first time in 10 games

Washington snapped a nine-game losing streak on Saturday with an 87-52 victory at home against California as 8.5-point favorites. Nahziah Carter scored 16 points and Isaiah Stewart added 15 for the Huskies, who shot 11-for-22 from 3-point range and 22-of-26 from the free-throw line in the win. The win marked Washington’s first time covering the spread in its last 10 games.

Twenty-twenty hasn’t been friendly to Mike Hopkins, who is having a tough year in his third season in Seattle. The Huskies have just three wins since Christmas (3-13) and they enter the weekend ranked No. 56 in the latest KenPom rankings. Washington has scored 104.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (139th in the NCAA) and 95.3 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (10th in the PAC-12). Turnovers have been a major problem for the Huskies and that issue has reared its ugly head once again during PAC-12 play. Washington has turned the ball over 22.1 percent of the time (12th in the PAC-12) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of just 47.7 percent (9th in the PAC-12).

Shot selection has been part of the problem for Washington, which has launched a league-high 42.8 percent of their total attempts from 3-point range. Through 15 conference games, the Huskies have shot just 32.4 percent from deep (9th in the PAC-12), 47.0 percent from inside the arc (8th in the PAC-12), and 69.6 percent from the free-throw line as a team (10th in the PAC-12).

Instead, Washington has been forced to rely on its defense to keep it in games. The Huskies have given up just 92.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (26th in the NCAA) and 95.0 points per 100 possessions versus PAC-12 teams (3rd in the PAC-12). They sport the top effective field goal percentage in the conference at 42.9 percent and have held league opponents to just 42.2 percent from inside the arc (1st in the PAC-12) and 29.4 percent shooting from 3-point range (2nd in the PAC-12).

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The last time these two teams got together, Washington State won handily, beating the Huskies 79-67. However, Washington should come into this game with some confidence after beating California over the weekend and the Cougars have been trending in the wrong direction of late. Washington State is expected to get point guard Isaac Bonton back on Friday and he’s shot a healthy 35.8 percent from distance during conference play, so he gives them another weapon from beyond the arc here. Elleby had 34 points and 10 rebounds in this first matchup, so Washington will need to find a way to contain him in this one. Despite their current slide, I’ll take my chances with the Cougars covering the number on the road in this PAC-12 Conference battle on Friday night. 

Prediction: Washington State Cougars

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These two teams combined for 146 points in the first meeting. A quick glance at either team’s tempo numbers doesn’t spark up a lot of confidence but they’ve both been playing faster during conference play. Washington State ranks second in the conference in tempo and average possession length on offense while the Huskies come in at No. 3 in the PAC-12 in both categories. These teams also rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference in terms of 3-point frequency and they combined for 49 3-point attempts back on Feb. 9. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Friday.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.