Washington State University (Public – Research Institution)
Location: Pullman, WA
Current Record: 14-13 — (6-9 Pac-12)
RPI: 178 SOS: 153 Coach: Ken Bone (3rd year)
First Thought: This Cougar team has had a down year but they have found amongst their ranks easily the Pac-12’s most improved player in Brock Motum. He has given them life and has single handedly helped them win games. This is a rivalry game for the Huskies on the Cougar floor. The crowd will be loud and will give the Cougars momentum. On paper, the Huskies win this game but this game isn’t played on paper.
Best Win: 77-75 over California (RPI 39)
Worst Loss: 62-60 OT at Utah (RPI 270)
Last Game: 72-50 win over Arizona State (RPI 241)
Synopsis: The Huskies won the last time these two teams faced earlier this year at Alaska Airlines Arena 75-65. This was primarily due to a huge second half by Terrence Ross and a technical foul by Lorenzo Romar that spurred the Huskies from a deficit to win the game.
The Cougars had a fantastic game plan coming into the game and their zone defense created many struggles for the UW team. In the second half, Romar switched the game plan to putting Tony Wroten into the high post and feeding the ball to Ross as much as possible. This helped the Huskies beat their rivals in a game that the Cougars clearly had the early advantage.
Last meeting, the Huskies were without CJ Wilcox and they now have him back. The Huskies will be able to stretch the zone with one more perimeter shooter, and their best shooter. WSU has the opposite problem as they will be without one of their best guards in Faisal Aiden. He is done for the season.
My analysis: WSU rides their best player, Brock Motum, this season. But they have others that can score and score at a high level. While Faisel Aiden was the only other player besides Motum in double digit averages, the Cougars have Reggie Moore and DaVonte Lacy who both average close to 10 a game.
Motum is clearly the offensive leader on this WSU team, he averages 17.7 points a game, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists 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.
Moore averages 9.5 points, 5.5 assists, and at least 1 steal a game. He has the ability to shoot the three (37%) but his ability to get to the rim is his most impressive attribute.
Lacy, on the other hand, is more known for his ability to shoot the three. While he is also averaging 37% on the year, he has attempted about 60 more three point shots this season than Moore. Lacy averages 9.3 points and 2 assists a game.
My Prediction: The atmosphere will be a crucial factor for WSU. They will look to come out hot, aggressive, and looking for a quick/big lead. UW may need half-time (like last time they met) to really get going. However, if the Huskies can come out quick and silence the crowd early, this game could get out of hand. In the end, the talent will win out. UW 84 WSU 76