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GAME THREAD: No. 4 WSU (12-0) at Washington (9-4)

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 5, 2008

Bank of America Arena (Seattle), 7 p.m. PT
TV: FSN

Here’s the first game thread of the Pac-10 season, which I decided to throw up early this morning because I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to get near a computer immediately following the Seahawks today.

In case you’re not familiar with this concept of a game thread, it’s a discussion post for those of us not at the game. If you’re at home watching on TV and you have a thought on the game, be sure to leave a comment and we can dissect the Cougs’ performance as it’s happening. I’ll also usually begin with a little preview of the game, so here goes …

Immediately following the Apple Cup, I wasted little time in reminding that we Cougs had now won three of four football games and five basketball games in a row against the University of Washington.

Is it dangerous that we now are entering games against Washington with a level of expectation?

Last season, I think we all looked at the two games against the Huskies as major measuring sticks. One of the things about being a Coug, whether we like it or not, is that we measure ourselves by our performances against the Huskies. Following both wins — one dominant, one closer but never really in doubt — I think we finally felt validated in where the program was heading. I know I did as I partied in the rafters of Hec Ed.

Now, it’s as if we’re expecting our first win of the Pac-10 season. Most of us have our eyes on that big matchup with UCLA next weekend. Washington is not good, suffering from many of the same problems that plagued the Huskies last year. Their perimeter defense is still terrible, they still lack a steady, playmaking point guard who can get the ball to Jon Brockman (above) in good scoring position consistently, and many of their young players have failed to develop. (Quincy Pondexter? Joel Smith? Hello?)

The one thing the Huskies have going for them, besides Brockman, is that they tend to be a completely different team at home than on the road. They played Pitt to the wire at home not too long ago, just one week after being blasted on the road by a not very good Oklahoma State team.

Make no mistake about it, the Huskies will be as fired up for this game as any all year. The crowd will be crazy, as Washington players and fans alike are tired of losing to Washington State. The good thing is, it probably won’t matter. This batch of Cougs has not only won there twice, but also has won in a pair of hostile environments this year. They’re locked in on their goal, and aren’t likely to be rattled.

The keys to the game in my book?

  1. Can Aron Baynes contain Brockman without getting into foul trouble?
  2. Can the Cougs’ defense — susceptible to long-range shots — prevent Ryan Appleby from shooting his team into this game?

If the two answers are “yes,” It should be a fun one to watch. Feel free to leave your comments below, both leading up to tipoff and as the game unfolds.

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4 Responses to “GAME THREAD: No. 4 WSU (12-0) at Washington (9-4)”

  1. Nuss said

    OK, I’m in front of a TV, albeit with much less of a voice. That was awesome.

    Let’s hope the Cougs fare as well as former Coug Marcus Trufant, who showed again why he absolutely belongs in the Pro Bowl. I’ll be dropping some thoughts as the game goes along.

  2. Nuss said

    Great, great start for the Cougs. Only up by 2 at 8-6, but the defense looks spectacular already, and what a surprise to see Harmeling playing! The Cougs have missed some shots early, but they’ve been very good shots so far. We all know that means they’ll fall at some point, which bodes well.

  3. Duane said

    Baynes is single-handedly keeping us in this game. His defense has been tremendous and he has had a couple back-downs on Brockman and Wallace in the post that have gotten us points. And he’s been clutch at the line to keep us in it – although, I would have liked to not see him pick up that second foul at the end of the half.

    Rochestie looks completely overmatched and I don’t believe we’ve seen Cowgill or Weaver score yet (sorry, don’t have the box score pulled up). Nothing from Harmeling from behind the arc and Low’s shot selection has been anything but stellar.

    Both teams came to play tonight it’s been a total defensive game. We just seem to have a far better offense with Low/Weaver/Harmeling/Cowgill/Baynes on the floor as opposed to Rochestie in place of Harmeling. Koprivica’s contributions of the two missed threes and the gimme turnover he threw on the pass to Weaver I could do without…

  4. Nuss said

    I really don’t feel that bad about that first half. For the most part, it’s just been missed shots on good opportunities. There will come a run in the second half where those shots begin to fall, and Tim Morris cools off. The defense has been tremendous, and I think that will carry us to the victory in the second half.

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