Washington Huskies

Huskies know UCLA, USC seeking revenge this week

Washington’s Andrew Andrews, center, shoots between a pair of Southern California defenders earlier this month. The Huskies erased a 22-point deficit to win that game against the Trojans. UW plays at UCLA on Thursday and USC on Sunday.
Washington’s Andrew Andrews, center, shoots between a pair of Southern California defenders earlier this month. The Huskies erased a 22-point deficit to win that game against the Trojans. UW plays at UCLA on Thursday and USC on Sunday. The Associated Press

As the Washington Huskies prepare this week for what might be the Pac-12’s most challenging basketball road trip — at UCLA and USC — they have reason to be confident.

Why? Because they’ve already beaten both the Bruins and Trojans this season.

They also have reason to be wary.

Why? Because they’ve already beaten both the Bruins and Trojans this season.

The Los Angeles schools visited Washington for the first weekend of Pac-12 play, and both left Hec Edmundson Pavilion defeated — UCLA by three points in double overtime after Bryce Alford hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers to force both extra periods, and USC by two points after the Trojans relinquished a 22-point lead with 14 minutes to play.

The Huskies were fortunate to win both games — particularly against USC, because that comeback was made possible by an ankle injury to star guard Julian Jacobs, who is now healthy — and know they will see two vengeful outfits in L.A. on Thursday and Saturday.

“That’s not even speculation. That’s more so in line with fact,” said UW guard Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12’s leading scorer. “I think no team wants to come into a situation where they had the game won, speaking of USC, and then lose the way they lost. So we know especially with them coming in, they have a big chip on their shoulder, especially with them being up so much late.

“And with UCLA, I bet they’re saying, ‘We had ’em at home, we had ’em at home,’ so now we have to come in and play that same way and we can get them (Thursday).”

Historically, it’s been a difficult trip for the Huskies. Washington has won seven times against UCLA in Los Angeles in 69 tries, the most recent of those victories coming in February 2011. And the Huskies are 28-40 all-time on the road against USC and haven’t won at Galen Center since 2012.

The Bruins (12-8, 3-4 Pac-12) are 9-2 at home this season with victories against 20th-ranked Kentucky and 18th-ranked Arizona. USC is 11-0 at Galen Center and has beaten Arizona there.

Washington enters these games tied with Oregon for first place in the Pac-12 standings at 5-2, and the Ducks visit Arizona and Arizona State this week. So if the Huskies can earn at least a split, they should have a decent chance of remaining atop the league standings.

“We’re thinking UCLA, they had us, they hit big shots in overtime, but we battled through and got the win,” Andrews said. “USC, same thing — we battled through and we got the win. So we know what it feels like to win those games, so we’ve got to take that chip on our shoulder and go in with the same mentality.”

TOURNAMENT BERTH FOR THE HUSKIES?

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi projects eight Pac-12 teams will make the NCAA tournament field, and he thinks the Huskies will be among the last to make it.

Lunardi currently projects the Huskies will be in a play-in game as a No. 12 seed and projects UW among the last four teams to be selected.

As of Tuesday, the Huskies were ranked 70th in the RPI, behind every Pac-12 team except Washington State — meaning that 10 of UW’s final 11 conference games will come against teams currently rated 66th or better in the RPI.

Christian Caple: 253-597-8437, @ChristianCaple

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