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Archive for December, 2007

Length of Harmeling’s injury still unknown

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 27, 2007

With not a lot out there floating around as we gear up for that huge matchup with North Carolina … uh, A&T … I’ve thrown together a quick hodge-podge of stuff to tide you over for the day.

First off, we still don’t know how long Daven Harmeling will be out. We do know that he doesn’t need surgery, but according to the Spokesman-Review’s Vince Grippi, the cast won’t be taken off for another two weeks when another x-ray will be performed — basically, that will have been three weeks from the actual injury. A timetable is expected at that time. 

Other stuff:

That’s all for now. I’ll be en route to Disneyland tomorrow, so I can tell you the posts will be sparse for the next week or so. I hope you all had an awesome Christmas and have a safe and happy New Year.


Posted in Around the 'Net, News, Where Are They Now | Comments Off on Length of Harmeling’s injury still unknown

Harmeling picture clears up just a bit in pummeling of ISU

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 23, 2007

The Cougs predictably whipped Idaho State today — it was nice to see them more or less obliterate an inferior opponent from start to finish for the second consecutive game — and in the process we got a little bit of a glimpse into how Tony Bennett will handle the absence of Daven Harmeling.

Now, I won’t pretend to totally know what happened today; after all, there’s only so much you can glean from a box score, play-by-play and not listening to the game. However, here’s what we know:

  • Caleb Forrest was the first guy off the bench, coming in to replace Robbie Cowgill with just over 14 minutes to go in the first half and the Cougs up 7-5. He would go on to play 28 minutes in the contest, easily a season high for him.
  • Nikola Koprivica was the second guy off the bench, giving Taylor Rochestie a blow with 12:37 to go in the first half. He would go on to play just 11 minutes.
  • Thomas Abercrombie was the third guy off the bench, subbing into a 16-7 game with 9:19 left in the first half. He played four minutes, missed a jumper, collected no other statistics, and did not re-enter until the game was 55-31 with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. He played the rest of the way.
  • Derrick Low played 29 minutes, Kyle Weaver played 30 minutes, and Rochestie played 31 minutes … in a 30-point blowout.

What to make of all this?

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Posted in Breakdowns, Game Analysis | 6 Comments »

Afterglow of Hardwood win tempered by a loss

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 22, 2007

Sorry it took a couple of days to get to the postgame breakdown — while on vacation on the west side of the mountains, I’m kind of at the mercy of whose house I happen to be at as my wife and I take our 9-month-old son on his whirlwind tour of the South Sound.

Rather than rehash the blowout — which really didn’t tell us a whole lot about where this team is at — let’s pass along the bit of news that many seem to have already gotten: Daven Harmeling will be out at least a month with a broken thumb on his right (shooting) hand.

This is bad for a number of reasons. One is that of all the guys who needed to figure out a way to get it going, Harmeling was No. 1 — and that’s going to be tough to do with a cast on his shooting hand. Another problem is that this messes with what already was a short rotation for Tony Bennett.

I had planned on doing a full post on the rotation leading into the Pac-10 schedule, but given this recent development, now seems like as good a time as any to throw this out there.

Earlier this season, I think many of us were eager to see what some of the newcomers might be able to do, specifically guys such as Stephen Sauls and Thomas Abercrombie. Given the light competition, I think a lot of us expected that Bennett would use this preseason as both an opportunity to get ready for the Pac-10 season and develop some depth, both for this season and next.

Instead, what we’ve seen is Bennett go almost exclusively with a seven- or eight-man rotation that gives the bulk of the minutes to six guys: Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver, Taylor Rochestie, Robbie Cowgill, Aron Baynes and Harmeling. Caleb Forrest and Nikolai Koprovica (above) each have picked up minutes here and there, but really only 10-15 minutes a game.

This actually tells us a lot about how Tony Bennett views this season. First, let me tell you a little story:

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Posted in Breakdowns | 2 Comments »

GAME THREAD: The Citadel (4-5) at No. 7 WSU (9-0)

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 20, 2007

KeyArena (Seattle), 7:30 p.m. PT

The Cougs are expecting potentially 12,000 lustily screaming fans for this matchup, which ought to be a blowout on the order of Mississippi Valley State. The Bulldogs are 264th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 340th nationally in defensive efficiency. The Cougs are 24th in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency.

A lot of people have made a big deal about the fact that we can’t seem to get a big-name program to play in this game, but I don’t see it as so bad. Essentially, this will be a big WSU alumni rally — the kind of game where we pat each other on the back and celebrate how far we’ve come as a program. The outcome will never be in doubt, as we’ll get to watch our heroes shake off some of the rust as well as watch some of the lesser-known players get some PT in front of a big crowd.

What will I be looking for on the court? Well, I want to see how focused this team looks after 11 days off against yet another severely overmatched opponent. Will they value the basketball? Will they work as hard on the defensive end as they will have to all year long? You know, the typical stuff. This is the beginning of the stretch run to really get ready for Pac-10 play, so we want to see some momentum building for that brutal opening to the conference schedule.

I won’t be attending the game in person, so I should be able to post some thoughts here tonight. And if you’re loooking for a game that ought to be a great contest, check out Pitt vs. Duke at 4 p.m. on ESPN. Also, Gonzaga travels to Oklahoma. Should be a great night for hoops. Feel free to post your thoughts throughout the day heading up to the contest and into the evening.

Oh, and if you’re looking for the various previews for tonight available on the Internet, check out He does a great job compiling all the stories out there each day.

Posted in Game Threads | 5 Comments »

Cougs jump up to No. 6 in BlogPoll; Citadel game on TV

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 19, 2007

The latest edition of the BlogPoll Top 25 has been released, and the Cougs have unexpectedly leapfrogged both UCLA and Georgetown to climb to No. 6. I’m not sure what caused the change, given that no one really played last week, but I’ll take it. If you look at the full results, you’ll see just how little separates those three teams, so perhaps someone didn’t get a chance to cast their ballot this week and that made the change.

Also, one quick correction. The game tomorrow night against The Citadel at KeyArena actually is on TV — Fox Sports Northwest. Sorry for the mixup. It’s been a TV game all along. I’ll have a game thread up early afternoon tomorrow, and my plan is to watch the game at home and post thoughts as the game goes on. They’ll probably be things along the lines of, “Wow, what a great pass by Stephen Sauls to put the Cougs up by 35,” but whatever.

Posted in BlogPoll, Rankings | Comments Off on Cougs jump up to No. 6 in BlogPoll; Citadel game on TV

BlogPoll ballot changes little after quiet week

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 18, 2007

The middle of December generally are the most quiet — and boring — two weeks of the college basketball season. Most BCS schools play only a game or two over the stretch and take on especially weak opponents thanks to end-of-term finals.

Who do these people think they are? As if academics are more important than our viewing enjoyment or something!

Anyway, the result is that my BlogPoll changed little from last week, given that there were so few upsets — with the notable exceptions of Oregon and Xavier — and so few games to actually tell us something about how teams are playing. I mean, beating the North Carolina A&F&T Culinary Institute by 50 doesn’t really give us a whole lot of insight.

So, without further ado, here is my ballot. Comments and observations follow. The full BlogPoll will be released later today or tonight — look for that on the right-hand side of the page. If you’re curious who the guys are who vote on this thing, check out the links under the “BlogPoll Roll” header on the right side of the page.

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Posted in BlogPoll, Rankings | Tagged: | Comments Off on BlogPoll ballot changes little after quiet week

Cougs hang steady in both major polls

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 17, 2007

The Cougs are hanging tight at No. 6 in the latest coaches poll and No. 7 in the latest AP poll, both released this morning. No big surprise here, what with the light schedule of games across the country as teams finish up finals and the lack of any major upsets. Things will pick up again this week.

Look for my BlogPoll ballot, and the newest edition of the overall BlogPoll, tomorrow.

Posted in Rankings | Comments Off on Cougs hang steady in both major polls

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Rodrigo de la Fuente

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 17, 2007

Periodically, we’ll try and track down some information on former Cougs from the recent past (read: Since I began college at WSU in 1995). Today’s subject is a man who made a short splash on the Palouse, only to take off too soon from a team that was already embarrassingly short on talent.

Rodrigo de la Fuente, a Spaniard, stood out as one of Kevin Eastman’s few decent recruits in his shockingly awful tenure at WSU. He was pretty much everything we stereotype about European players — he was a so-so shooter but a smart player, solid passer, and did a lot of the little things that help teams win. At 6-foot-6, he also was an excellent defender on the wing.

Too bad he stuck around for less than two years. After a solid campaign in 1996-97, he left the program midway through the next season — he was averaging 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists — to seize an opportunity to return to Spain and play for FC Barcelona. De la Fuente was never looked at as a superstar in Pullman, but he parlayed his talent into a long career in Spain. He had played his entire professional career for FC Barcelona until this year, as he now plays for Benetton in Italy.

The highlight of his career overseas appears to be a silver medal finish with the Spanish national team at the 2003 European Championships. He also won numerous national championships. And it appears his M.O. didn’t change when he got to Spain, averaging 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds over his career, but was named the league defensive player of the year in 2003-04.

But when all is said and done, anyone who attended a game in Pullman in which de la Fuente played will remember him best for this: The way Glenn Johnson used to say is name. You just had to be there.

Posted in Where Are They Now | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Call in CSI: WSU employee leaked logo to high school

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 14, 2007

OK, so maybe “leaked” is a little too strong of a word here, but I think it nicely represents the quasi ridiculousness of this ongoing saga regarding Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas, using a near replica logo of one that was in use at WSU decades ago.

This morning, the Reporter News out of Abilene is reporting that the logo actually had been sent by former WSU football coach Bert Clark who was old army buddies with the football coach at Cooper, Merrill Green.

Said Green: “I would think Washington State would love somebody to use their logo.”

No way, pal. Not us. We’re big time.

Of course, the good people of Abilene are pretty ticked. How ticked? If you’ve ever read the book Friday Night Lights (and if you haven’t, you should), you can imagine the uproar in a similar town where — this is not a typo — 10,000 people regularly attend the high school football games. My guess is that they probably wouldn’t care about the logo change if it wasn’t on the football uniforms …

Oh, and if you’re curious about getting a read on the pulse of the community, check out this Web poll. The leader in the clubhouse will shock you. Shock you!

Posted in Game Threads | Comments Off on Call in CSI: WSU employee leaked logo to high school

Yet another reason to love Andy Katz

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 13, 2007

As if you needed more evidence that this is a slow week.

I was taking a look at’s Power 16, a poll compiled from votes by the site’s stable of college basketball experts, to see how the Cougs were stacking up. They checked in at No. 8, same as the week before. Then I looked at the individual ballots, and virtually all of them had WSU ranked between 6 and 8, which seemed pretty fair to me. They also all were basically identical in their top 10.

Then I came across the ballot of one Andy Katz. He dared to be different. Observe:

1. Texas
2. North Carolina
3. Memphis
4. Kansas
5. Washington State
6. Duke
7. Pitt
9. Georgetown
10. Xavier
11. Indiana
12. Michigan State
13. Vanderbilt
14. Marquette
15. West Virginia
16. Arizona

I love the guts to put this ballot together. Ranking the Cougs No. 5 — where I had them on my latest BlogPoll ballot — and ranking Georgetown No. 9. The Hoyas have proven so little this year, it’s nice to see someone finally recognize that. (The vote of Pitt at No. 7 is a little confounding, given that the Panthers’ first road game of the year was that 1-point squeaker against UW, though.)

Anyway, kudos to Katz for daring to be different. This is what passes for news as we wait out the days until The Citadel.

Posted in Around the 'Net, Rankings | Tagged: | 2 Comments »