What Cougs have to overcome vs. UW: 17.75

IF THE REGULAR-season finale on Saturday between Washington State and Washington is anything like the Huskies' previous eight conference home games this season, the Cougars should be prepared to face eight people on the court, not five. Indeed, the Huskies at home this Pac-10 season have gone to the free throw line a mind-numbing 17.75 times more per game than their opponents.

That disparity is more striking when viewed in a comparative sense.

A look at Pac-10 box scores shows that the home team nearly always gets more foul calls to their benefit than does the visitor. But nothing like the 17.75 foul-line disparity the Huskies have enjoyed.

Certainly, some of the disparity can be explained by the trailing team fouling at game's end to try to catch up. But that accounts for only a small part of the whopping foul shot differential by the UW at home this season.

Moreover, if you compare the Huskies this season to the UCLA team of last season -- a team far more dominant than this year's Huskies -- you'll find only a 9.5 foul-shot advantage, on average, per Pac-10 home game.

Take the two most recent Washington wins, starting with their 73-70 overtime victory over Arizona State. Washington scored 25 of its points in 31 trips to the foul line, while ASU took only 13 trips, hitting nine.

In an 83-78 win by Washington over Arizona, the Huskies went to the line 35 times, compared to the Wildcats' 14 free throw attempts.

Arizona in the game was awarded a grand total of two foul shots in the decisive second half. The Huskies? Twenty-four.

Some UW fans point to an aggressive style of play on offense that leads to more fouls being called against the opponent.

But if that were true, wouldn't the foul and free throw attempt totals have been similar when the Huskies played in Tucson?

In the Arizona-Washington meeting in Tucson, the Huskies were whistled for 34 personal fouls on the road. Arizona was called for 21.

Washington went to the free throw line 20 times. Arizona made 51 trips.

In Eugene and Corvallis, where the Huskies won easily by 19 points in both games, and therefore had no reason to foul, the UW was still called for more fouls than the home teams. So much for style of play.

If the Cougars are to win on Saturday, they'll probably have to do it by overcoming a substantial free throw attempts discrepancy on the road. Cougar fans can only hope it's not as large as the UW's 17.75 average.

By the numbers, Washington at home:
Arizona, 5-point win
Personal fouls: UA 28; UW 16
Free throws: UA 13-14; UW 19-35
UW +21 in free throw attempts

ASU, 3-point win, (OT)
Personal fouls: ASU 22; UW 15
Free throws: ASU 9-13; UW 25-31
UW +18 in free throw attempts

Oregon, 19-point win
Personal fouls: UO 31; UW 22
Free throws: UO 16-25, UW 36-46
UW +21 in free throw attempts

OSU, 19-point win
Personal fouls: OSU 23; UW 18
Free throws: OSU 14-22; UW 21-29
UW +7 in free throw attempts

UCLA, 9-point win
Personal fouls: UCLA 28; UW 18
Free throws: UCLA 10-15; UW 36-43
UW +28 in free throw attempts

USC, 5-point win
Personal fouls: USC 25, UW 18
Free throws: USC 13-17; UW 32-40
UW +23 in free throw attempts

Cal, 3-point loss, (3 OT)
Personal fouls: Cal 30; UW 26
Free throws: Cal 22-29; UW 27-40
UW +11 in free throw attempts

Stanford, 1-point win
Personal fouls: Stanford 24; UW 21
Free throws: Stanford 15-20, UW 22-33
UW +13 in free throw attempts

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