Washington State University (Public – Research Institution)
Location: Pullman, WA
Current Record: 9-7 — (1-3 Pac-12)
RPI: 144 SOS: 152 Coach: Ken Bone (3rd year)
First Thought: This matchup is called the Apple Cup of basketball. The two rival schools has bad blood between the fans and much of WSU’s fan base is in Seattle. This game is sold out and it will be full of excitement and momentum shifts. The two teams also are fairly connected, the players all know each other from high school/AAU or just playing each other the last couple of years. Coach Romar and Coach Bone are longtime friends. However, this just helps fuel the rivalry, you don’t want to lose to friends- especially when they are your rivals on the court.
Best Win: 81-76 over Oregon State (RPI 149)
Worst Loss: 62-60 OT at Utah (RPI 293)
Last Game: 60-71 loss at Colorado (RPI 65)
Synopsis: Both teams have struggled with consistency. Each have losses on their records that many could point to as an embarrassing loss. WSU seems to clearly lack the focus on the court, and in some games seem to have explosive fire-power on the offensive end (93 points vs Santa Clara) but in other games struggle to score (59 points vs Oklahoma). This team just hasn’t been able to find a consistent rhythm offensively.
They also have struggled on defense, especially since conference play has started. They allowed both Utah and Colorado to shoot over 46% from the field, and 30+ rebounds in each game. The Cougars struggled to find an answer to either team’s offense and Utah doesn’t really have an offense. However, the Cougar team can play focused, with explosive offense, and solid defense. That being said, they haven’t proved they can do this every game or even most games.
UW is in a very similar boat, no consistency in the game, a team that can hang with teams like Duke and Marquette but allows South Dakota State to run all over them and Seattle University to hang with them. The pieces are there but the consistency, the leadership, the depth, the defense etc. doesn’t help them put together a solid outing each time they hit the floor.
This is a rivalry game, the crowd will be jacked up, the players will be pumped, and we will see what each team puts on the floor.
My analysis: WSU has some weapons especially when they get hot from the field. They have two players that average over 10 points a game, 4 of their starters shoot over 40% from the field and over half their team can shoot the 3.
Brock Motum is clearly the offensive leader on this WSU team, he averages 15.2 points a game, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and plays about 30 minutes a game. He is very effective both inside and outside. He is active and has a high motor, the Huskies need to look to contain him.
The Cougars have a nice trio of guards in Reggie Moore, DaVonte Lacy, and Faisal Aiden. Any of those three or all of those three can get hot and score at a high level. Moore averages 9 points and 5 assists a game. Aiden averages 12.7 points and shoots from 3 at almost 40%. Lacy the freshman guard averages almost 10 points a game, he attempts a lot of shots from 3 and hits about 37% of them, he also has made 50 trips to the line this season. He is a freshman guard that has found a way to impact the game early in this season and his level of play is only increasing as the season goes along.
My Prediction: The prediction depends on which team shows up (both ways). I believe WSU continues to struggle on the road and UW rallys behind the momentum of the crowd and the Dawg Pack to win this game. UW 83 WSU 79