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Pac-10 Semifinals Preview

March 13, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




Pac-10 Conference Semifinals Preview

Preview by Scott Allen

(1) Stanford vs. (5) Oregon
The Cardinal swept the season series, but the wins could not have come in more different fashion. Stanford overcame a 19-point deficit at McArthur Court on January 31 and then blew out the Ducks on senior day at Maples Pavilion on February 28. As always, Oregon’s three-point shooters make the Ducks dangerous, but the return of Justin Davis makes Stanford’s advantage down-low even more obvious. The matchup between Stanford’s seasoned point guard Chris Hernandez and Oregon freshman Aaron Brooks could dictate whether Ernie Kent’s squad can pull off the shocker. If their performance against Cal is any indication, Oregon’s sharpshooters are hot at just the right time. Stanford’s defense, however, looked equally dominant against the Cougars in the Cardinal’s quarterfinal victory. Look for Davis to get more involved in his second game back and Stanford to advance to the title game.

Prediction: Stanford 78, Oregon 69

(2) Washington vs. (3) Arizona
Arizona will look to avoid a third straight loss to the Huskies after Washington swept the season series, including an 89-84 decision at the McKale Center on February 26. Five Huskies scored in double figures in that game and it will likely take a similar balanced attack to combat Arizona’s multiple scoring options. Washington will have to do a better job containing Channing Frye, who had 25 points and nine boards in their last meeting and 19 points against USC in the Wildcats’ quarterfinal victory. While it’s hard to imagine Arizona losing three times in the same season to one team, even with the scare from UCLA, there’s no reason to bet against the Huskies at this point. Washington needs this game more and Lorenzo Romar has his team playing every game like it’s their last. Look for a Stanford-Washington grudge match in Saturday’s championship game.

Prediction: Washington 92, Arizona 86

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