I'm actually really digging this Wed/Thu slate. I'm going to be in Maples for the Oregon-Stanford game and taking in some pregame cold ones at The Old Pro if you're interested. Beyond that the AZ-UW rivalry is revisited which is always a blast. On to the details.
USC @ UCLA, 7pm, P12N: Have you seen what UCLA is going to be rocking? Check these bad blue boys out. I'd like that photo on The Book. It's certainly a better blue look than Kansas rocked earlier this week and UCLA had to do something fresh considering last year this rivalry game was played practically on USC's campus at the Sports Arena. We kinda want to believe that Bob Cantu's team is playing carefree and has a shot to beat anyone. It's a really nice thought but I'm just not all that positive they're going to have what it takes to win this one on the road coming off of a game that UCLA knew would be a letdown and then went ahead and letdown. Can't see the Bruins, despite the circus act they've somewhat become, falling into back-to-back traps.
Oregon @ Stanford, 8pm, ESPNU: Like I said, I'm going to this game and so I seriously need some help knowing who to pull for. On the one hand I picked Stanford to be a whole lot better than they've played and so my predictions are struggling. The Cardinal and I could both use some help in the wins column. I also did not foresee Oregon being 18-2 good and in the Top-10 in the Nation - no one did - and further hurting my cred as a forecaster. If you're keeping score, it's 2-0, Stanford right now. But it's so damn fun to cheer on the visitors. So which of my two winter coats should I sport (and by winter I mean that by ridiculously West Coast standards)? One is red and one is green. My increasingly worthless prediction however? I wear red (it's the lighter of the two and it's really not that cold out yet) and the Cardinal win. Boom.
Arizona @ Washington, 6pm, ESPN: My favorite rivalry. Maybe this year's game doesn't quite have the luster of matchups past. There's no whiteout or blackout to speak of and this version of the Huskies just doesn't quite have the shine of years past. But it's still HecEd. It's still the Dawg Pound. And it's still the place Sean Miller has never won at. Did you know the MillerCats have an average margin of defeat of 11 points in Seattle (that's including a blowout at the hands of Gonzaga in the Battle in Seattle)? Or that they're 2-5 against the Huskies? I have to imagine LoRo's group can find some semblance of confidence amongst those facts. The major question, however, is whether or not they can find some talent to help them play beyond six-deep. Not sure that's happening this year.
Oregon State @ Cal, 7pm, ESPNU: Oh! Interesting fact. Oregon State leads the conference in 3FG% defense. They hold opponents to a miniscule 31.8% shooting from distance. Conversely, Cal has the worst 3FG% in the conference, connecting on just 31.2% of their threes. So...I guess we can say Cal will continue to suck from range? Though I'd also venture to say they haven't done much of anything well lately beside let Allen Crabbe shoot. Which ultimately may be their best chance to win and isn't that bad of a strategy considering they play about six guys due to talent deficiencies and injury. Brandon Smith is back, however. I will say that I like what Oregon State has from a talent standpoint. They just seem so dysfunctional and inefficient at times. Someday it'll click. Wonder when that will be?
Arizona State @ Washington State, 8pm, P12N: Wait, is that ASU playing the lesser of two travel partners on a Thursday again? It appears that way so while Arizona is taking the Huskies' best shot in Seattle, the Devils will play the two-fer-the-conference-season Cougars in Pullman. But to the Herbivores' credit, they've played well and are becoming a legitimately feared fork. Though have you noticed the emergence of senior(!) Mike Ladd? Dude has been in double digit scoring for eight straight games and gobbled up 6+ boards in seven of those eight. That's to say Mike Ladd is playing well and if you catch a pair of hot seniors (when is Brock not en fuego?) at home, anything can happen.