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GAME THREAD: No. 4 WSU (14-0, 2-0) at No. 5 UCLA (15-1, 3-0)

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 12, 2008

Pauley Pavilion (Los Angeles), 11:30 a.m. PT

I could spend a whole bunch of words here analyzing this matchup, but let’s be honest: We all know a lot about these two teams and anything I would have to say would more or less be overkill.

The Cougs are good. The Bruins are good. They both are veteran squads — the Cougs a little more veteran — who play a similar style of basketball.

You’ll probably hear a lot of metaphors today in reference to this game, things like it’ll be a “grind,” or it will be like a 15-round heavyweight fight where each is a little bit punchy in the end. Cliche as they are, they’re going to be apt. The Bruins have won the last four by a combined eight points, and all of the contests have been slugfests.

I’d like to give you some kind of keys to the game, or single out some matchups that will give you some glimpse into which team has a better chance to win the game. Yes, the Cougs will need to stop penetration and kick-outs by Darren Collison — who is probable for the game.

But to be honest, when talking about two complete teams such as these, trying to nail down a couple of keys for either just seems far too trite. That’s like trying to analyze the Mona Lisa by picking apart the look of the nose. Instead, just sit back at take in the beauty of the whole. Watch the chess match between two superb teams led by two superb coaches. Enjoy watching the game unfold, because there’s no way we’re not talking about this one until Feb. 7, when the Bruins make their return trip to Pullman.

And revel in the fact that our team — the Washington State University Cougars — is at the center of the college basketball world for one day. We might never get to say that again.

Or maybe we will?


16 Responses to “GAME THREAD: No. 4 WSU (14-0, 2-0) at No. 5 UCLA (15-1, 3-0)”

  1. Nuss said

    Just watched the FSN pregame montage. Nice props, except for that whole Kyle Weaver as sharpshooter thing … but oh, well. What do we expect?

    The good news? Marques Johnson on the call again today. Love that guy.

  2. Longball said

    I’m settled into the lazyboy with bud light in hand, GO COUGS!!!!

  3. Longball said

    Bayne’s problems finishing in the USC game have now struck Low and Weaver. FINISH COUGS!!!

  4. Nuss said

    I hate it when referees come into a game with an agenda. They clearly came into today’s contest with a goal of toning down the physicality, and it’s burning the Cougs early. What a joke.

    The turnovers have to stop. Get some composure guys, run a couple of back-cuts to get them to stop overplaying every pass.

  5. Longball said

    UCLA off to a great start, denying any looks from 3 and getting Baynes on the bench early. Cougs look really tight making unnecessry and poor passes, missing layups. Who steps up for us?

  6. Longball said

    Where have you gone, Derek Low, our nations turns its lonely eyes to you, ooh ooh ooh.

  7. The offense is coming, Low is back, time to make a run.

  8. Nuss said

    I really would like to see us start working some backdoor cuts. You can’t let a team get away with overplaying every pass 20 feet from the basket.

    Low back in. Koprivica standing around the 3-point line when Baynes gets doubled — dive to the basket young man!

  9. Nuss said

    Man, it is tough to watch referees take over a game. It’s the inconsistency that’s especially maddening. They’re letting Baynes and Love bang down low, but then won’t allow any contact outside. They’re ruining a beautiful game. How in the world that’s not a charge right there is an absolute joke.

    Somehow, some way, we’ve got to start knocking down the open shots. This is getting out of hand in a hurry, and UCLA is not a team that’s easy to come back on.

  10. Nuss said

    OK, so it’s halftime. Let’s give credit where credit’s due: UCLA is playing some outstanding defense. But this is the worst offensive performance I’ve seen out of this team all year, hands down. Not only are they getting outplayed, but they’re getting outcoached.

    They have no clue how to beat this UCLA defense when it is overplaying every pass. There is so little movement, it’s embarrassing, and at least half of our turnovers have come on lazy passes. One play in particular sticks out in my mind. Remember that one where the crowd started getting into it as the shot clock ran down? There was Rochestie running around with the ball, and THREE GUYS were standing around the 3-point line with their hands in the air. Somebody, somewhere has to dive to the bucket to get some space.

    The good news? That’s as bad as it can get. The offense showed some life at the end of the half, and Bennett is known for making second-half adjustments. Also, it’s be hard to believe that UCLA can keep hitting everything in site. If we keep the turnovers down — which will keep the Bruins out of their fastbreak — start getting some movement on offense and figure out a way to keep our best players on the floor, we’ve got a shot to whittle this down and make it a game at the end.

    Any other team, I’d mail this thing in right now. But these guys are nothing if not resilient, and I’m counting on a big second half. They will not quit, and any viewer who quits on watching this game will be sad they did.

  11. Nuss said

    You know, what are you going to do defensively when the 6-10, 260-pound guy is hitting 15-foot turnaround bankers and 3-pointers? It sure would help if UCLA would make this a little bit easier!

  12. Where is Cowgill? He has done nothing today, the backpicks are getting us everytime and Weaver keeps missing short shots. Its not the Cougars day.

  13. Nuss said

    Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! Nice cut by Rochestie on the double of Low in the corner. It didn’t result in a layup made, but it resulted in Love coming over to help on the drive which opened up Baynes for the offensive rebound. That is what we have to see. Multiple times.

  14. Nuss said

    Most telling stat no one is mentioning? Daven Harmeling: 0-for-1 FGs, 0-0 3-pt FGs.

  15. Nuss said

    Eight points! Why is it that we have to be down by 15 points before Derrick Low will aggressively shoot? We are not done yet! C’mon!

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