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Archive for March 7th, 2008

GAME THREAD: Washington at No. 23 WSU

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 7, 2008

Huskies (16-14 overall, 7-10 Pac-10) at Cougars (22-7, 10-7)

Beasley Coliseum (Pullman, Wash.), 4:30 p.m. PT

I’m heading out of town early tonight, so I needed to get this up now in advance of tomorrow’s game. There isn’t a lot of breaking down to be done here with regards to the matchup itself, as scenes such as the one on the right have become commonplace in this series.

Washington is a team that can hang with just about anyone when its offense is clicking, and that’s usually only happening when they’re hitting some outside shots.

Usually, the 3-point shot means one thing: Ryan Appleby. Appleby averages 7.5 shots from behind the arc, and when he’s hitting, the team can stay with just about anyone. But if we look closer, there are x-factors that come into play. Over the weekend, 7-foot stiff Joe Wolfinger went 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, including 4-for-4 against Cal. And although streaky, Justin Dentmon can heat up from out there, too.

The strategy for the Cougs defensively will have to be limiting Appleby’s touches on the perimeter and getting in his grill when he does get the ball, because he is a one-trick pony who literally can’t do anything but shoot. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is the Huskies’ lone meaningful senior with the ball in his hands and the chance to break what the UW has come to view as a highly embarrassing streak.

The television announcers will talk about how awesome Jon Brockman is — which is totally true — but unless he can figure out a way to get Aron Baynes in foul trouble, look for a fairly quiet outing from him. Sure, he’ll get his 10 rebounds, most of them on the defensive end, but I foresee a 4-for-12 kind of offensive game with few free throws thrown in. He struggled mightily against Baynes’ big body in both games last year, and I really don’t see that changing.

Offensively, the Cougs should have very little trouble doing what they want to do. Yes, the UW was much improved defensively for part of the Pac-10 season, but that seems to have gone back in the toilet. Since holding UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State under 100 offensive efficiency in a stretch, they’ve since allowed ASU, Stanford and Cal to go nuts — specifically in the Bay Area, where both the Bears and Cardinal exceeded 117. Ouch.

The common thread? Low turnovers. And they were road games, where the Huskies have shown they need to have lights-out offensive performances to compete. If the Cougs take care of the basketball and make Washington truly work for the entire shot clock, I think they can have their way offensively and cause a repeat of the picture above.

I truly am looking forward to tomorrow. I am so fired up to thank this group of seniors for what they’ve done for us, I can’t even really express it. I will cry. And I will not be ashamed.

Go Cougs.


Posted in Game Threads | 4 Comments »

WSU HOOPS blog function finalized

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 7, 2008

OK, so here it is. It seems it will be a small, but intense and rabid, group of Cougar basketball fans.

WSU HOOPS Blog Function

  • Who: Any of us in Pullman tomorrow
  • What: A get together of the best WSU basketball fans around — the readers of WSU HOOPS
  • When: 2 p.m.
  • Where: The Coug
  • Why: Because we’ll all be there. And it’s senior day. And we rule. And beer is tasty.

I’ll try and make up some kind of table tent or something that says WSU HOOPS so we can find each other, but if all else fails, I’ll be the 30-year-old guy wearing crimson a white collared shirt with a red tie (it’s the closest I’ve got to crimson — I’m on the bandwagon, Michelle!) with earrings that are way too big for someone his age. If you know you’re going to be there and you want my cell number just in case, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send it to you.

Posted in Misc. Blog Stuff | Tagged: | 3 Comments »