Washington State Week: Evaluating The Recent Past

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 30th, 2012

It was just five short seasons ago when Washington State hit an all-time peak. Under the direction of head coach Tony Bennett, the 2007-08 Cougars won the first 14 games they played (including victories against Baylor, Washington, and USC away from home, and Gonzaga in Spokane), finished the season with 24 wins, and earned a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While there they demolished a solid Winthrop team by 31 and beat fifth-seeded Notre Dame by 20. They even hung with top-seeded North Carolina for a half in the Sweet Sixteen before the Tar Heels pulled away. Behind Pauley Pavilion and the McKale Center, Beasley Coliseum was one of the toughest places to play in the Pac-10, thanks to a large and relentless “ZZU CRU.” You’d have to go back pretty far to find a time when the Cougars were this prominent on a conference and national scale.

The ZZU CRU Made For One Of The Most Intimidating Atmospheres In The Pac-10 (credit: Ninety-Nine Drives)

Excitement in Pullman remained high in the offseason when Bennett turned down an offer to rebuild the Indiana program. However, that would be one of the final good things to happen to the team in the last five years. The losses of Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver, and Robbie Cowgill proved to be too much to overcome, and Washington State ended the 2008-09 season by bowing out in the first round of the NIT. With Taylor Rochestie, Daven Harmeling, and Aron Baynes graduating at the end of that year, Bennett decided to jump ship as well to Virginia. The move puzzled Cougar fans as Bennett had been a candidate for many high-profile jobs in past offseasons, and yet he chose Charlottesville over those destinations. Bennett’s replacement came in the form of Ken Bone, who had built Portland State into a Big Sky power. He would be charged with getting the Cougars back to NCAA Tournaments, a tough task as Bennett left a depleted roster in his wake.

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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 06.01.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on June 1st, 2012

  1. UCLA and Arizona have their 2012 blockbuster recruiting classes all sewn up, with up  north, Washington mostly struck out. But all eyes begin to turn to the 2013 class, and it could be Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies who are in a position to score big. Romar landed his first verbal commitment this week as 6’3” guard Nigel Williams-Goss, regarded as a four-star prospect, chose Washington over UCLA, Oregon  State, and UNLV (a school he once committed to prior to head coach Lon Kruger’s defection to Oklahoma). While one four-star guard does not a recruiting class make, Romar still has his eyes on players like Jabari Parker (the number one overall prospect), Aaron Gordon (the number two rated power forward), Jabari Bird (the fourth rated off-guard), and Isaac Hamilton (the fifth rated off-guard) among others.
  2. Aside from offseason trouble, some typically minor tweaks to rosters and the shaping of the 2013 recruiting class, the other big news that can be expected throughout the summer is the trickling out of teams’ 2012-13 schedules. UCLA’s calendar dropped on Thursday, with the highly-regarded Bruins reopening Pauley Pavilion on November 9 with a visit from Indiana State. Ben Howland’s club will also host Long Beach State and Missouri (along with a handful of low-major schools), play San Diego State in the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, and participate in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with potential matchups against Indiana, Georgetown, and Georgia. Here’s hoping the Bruins find matchups with both the Hoosiers and the Hoyas awaiting them in New York.
  3. Elsewhere around the conference, schedules are starting to take shape. Late last week, it came out that Colorado after a year away, would be renewing its competition with long-time opponent Kansas. While nothing is official yet, both schools have confirmed that an agreement is in place for the Buffaloes and Jayhawks to schedule a home-and-home series in each of the next two seasons. It’s unclear yet exactly where the 2012-13 edition will be played, but while Kansas has had Colorado’s number on a regular basis in their meetings, head coach Tad Boyle certainly has the Buffs on the upswing and his squad should be able to give the Jayhawks a couple interesting games. Down south, Arizona has added games with Charleston Southern, Long Beach State and Southern Miss. While none of those three teams is a huge name, both Long Beach State and Southern Miss made the NCAA Tournament last year and should provide solid challenges for an already strong Arizona schedule. The Wildcats are still looking to add two more games, both of which are expected to be home-and-home series’.
  4. Continuing our tour around the conference, Oregon State is on the verge of breaking ground on a new basketball practice facility. The structure will be a four-story structure with a couple different regulation-sized basketball courts layer in with locker rooms, support areas, offices and an entrance to the facility that will feature an Oregon State basketball hall of fame. With the upgrade in facilities, head coach Craig Robinson hopes to be able to induce a higher caliber of recruit to Corvallis.
  5. Lastly, last week Pacific Takes unveiled a feature on the ten best sleeper recruits in the last decade, with Kyle Weaver of Washington State leading the way. Interesting to note that of the 14 players on the list (including a four-man honorable mention), six of the players (Weaver, Derrick Low, Brock Motum, DeAngelo Casto, Robbie Cowgill and Reggie Moore) matriculated to Washington State. This speaks well for the Cougar coaching staffs’ (beginning with Dick and Tony Bennett and continuing to current head coach Ken Bone) ability to target under the radar players and develop the talent once it arrives on campus. Given that five-star recruits are rarely going to find their way to Pullman, that is a must for the Cougs.
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Wazzu @ UCLA Preview

Posted by rtmsf on January 11th, 2008

#4 Washington St. @ #4 UCLA preview.   Ok, let’s get this out of the way immediately.  Wazzu is 1-49 all-time at Pauley Pavilion.  What else do we know?  We know that the last four games at UCLA have come down to the last possession of the game (UCLA won all four by 3/3/2/3 pts).  We know that both of these teams play old man ball (each has a tempo hovering near the bottom of D1), but they also play stifling defense (Pomeroy has UCLA as the fifth best D and Wazzu as the eighth) and don’t make many mistakes (each is in the top thirty most efficient teams on both ends of the court).  We know that both teams play a high-caliber basketball and do not suffer fools lightly (poorly coached teams simply stand no chance against these two).  We know that Tony Bennett and Ben Howland are both tremendous motivators and tacticians.  We know that Wazzu has been criticized for a soft nonconference schedule (#304 – Pomeroy) to get to their 14-0 mark but we also know that winning at Washington and USC are no cupcakes, and UCLA already lost once this year at Pauley to Texas.  And we know that the old-school game of Kevin Love (16/10) and how Wazzu handles him with Aron Baynes (12/7) and Robbie Cowgill (8/5) will probably be the deciding factor in what will likely be another very close matchup tomorrow.   

Fwiw, Pomeroy is only giving Wazzu a 24% chance of winning the game, teamrankings.com gives them a 30% chance and Sagarin has the Bruins as a seven-point favorite. 

Let’s see what’s coming out of both camps today – it appears that both sides are expecting an all-out war:

From UCLA:

Well we are going to need lot more of Love, Mata-Real, Westbrook, Shipp and AA2 on Saturday when taking on the Cougars. Howland described what Saturday is going to be like to Dohn:

“It will be like getting a root canal without any pain killers,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “Playing them is going through the grinder. It is unbelievably hard because of how patient they are offensively, and how they just wait for a breakdown.”

Hopefully Luc and DC will be ready to go on Saturday. And if one of them can’t or they are not 100 percent, rest of their team-mates will have to step up through the adversity. It is going to be another all out war. And judging from the past we know our warriors will battle through the adversity and give it everything they have.

From Wazzu:

If there’s one thing to worry about heading into Saturday, it’s this: Low, Rochestie and Weaver each played 37 minutes or more, including 38 high-effort minutes for Weaver, who had the unenviable task of chasing O.J. Mayo around for most of the game. He’ll likely draw Josh Shipp on Saturday, who doesn’t figure to run off 32 screens the way Mayo did.

One key factor could be the availability of UCLA uber-guard Darren Collison.  According to Bruins Nation blog:

“Right now, my hip hurts a lot,” Collison said. “I’m going to be doing treatment (today) and I don’t really know the status of how things are, if I’m even going to play or not. Hopefully, I can play Saturday. Right now, they’re looking at it as a hip contusion.”

“I am frustrated, but I’m going to continue to stay positive,” Collison said. “This team has a bright future ahead, and all I can do is keep my head up and stay positive. I’m going through a lot of adversity right now. It’s going to really challenge me to see how I’m going to progress and mature through those situations.”

If Collison can’t go, Russell Westbrook is a more than adequate replacement at the point.  But knowing Howland players’ penchant for toughness, we’d expect to see DC out there tomorrow afternoon.  At least we hope so.  Should Wazzu pull the upset, we’d like to know that it happened with a full-strength UCLA.  Not that we’re calling the upset.  Just sayin’… 

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ATB: Wazzup Baylor?

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2007

ATB v.4

11.30.07

Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  Two games tonight, and the Big 12 finally got one.  #7 Washington St. 67, Baylor 64.  We had a sneaky feeling that this would end up being a tremendous game, and we were spot on with that call.  Baylor’s home crowd inspired the Bears to a 12-pt halftime lead, but Wazzu hung in there and used Derrick Low’s heroics to finally catch up and take the lead for good in the last three minutes.  Despite an overall rough game for him, Low (9/3) hit two threes in a row late in the second half to give WSU the lead for good.    Robbie Cowgill picked it up for him with 18/5.  Scott Drew’s Baylor squad is definitely a team to watch out for in the Big 12 this year.   Iowa St. 71, Oregon St. 64.  Explain to us how this game was chosen for ESPN FC, while the game involving a top ten team was relegated to ESPNU.  Right.  Anyway, these two teams pretty much suck, and the  only reason we tuned it in the first place was to catch a glimpse of OSU’s CJ Giles before we remembered that he’s not eligible yet.  

Other Ranked Teams.

  • #12 Tennessee 98, UL-Lafayette 70. Tyler Smith with 22/7/8 assts.  Lofton only 7 pts tonight. 
  • #14 Marquette 100, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 65.  Jerel McNeal had 16/10 assts and Lazar Hayward had 19/11 in the blowout win.

Other Scores of Note.

  • Florida 86, Vermont 61.  Gator freshmen had 55 of their 86 pts tonight.

On Tap Saturday (all times EST).   Huge day of hoops as December arrives right on time.

  • Duke (-8) v. Davidson (ESPNU) 12pm – Davidson gets its second shot in Charlotte at pulling the big upset.
  • Vanderbilt (-6) v. Georgia Tech (ESPN FC) 1pm.  great SEC-ACC matchup – will Vandy be tired from its 2OT game on Thurs?
  • West Virginia (NL) v. Winthrop 1pm - another winnable road game for Winthrop.
  • North Carolina (-6.5) v. Kentucky (ESPN2) 2pm – UK’s first real opponent of the year.
  • Louisville (-12) v. Miami (OH) (ESPN FC) 2pm – Charlie Coles’ Redhawks with yet another FC game.
  • Arkansas (NL) v. Oral Roberts  3pm – tough home game for the Hawgs.
  • Connecticut (-4.5) v. Gonzaga (ESPN) 3:30pm – Zags coming off tough game in Philly two nights ago.
  • Clemson (-7.5) v. South Carolina (FSNS)4pm - is there an ACC/SEC Challenge today?
  • Michigan (-9) v. Harvard (ESPNU) 5:30pm - how rich is this one now that Amaker is coaching at Harvard?
  • Oklahoma St. (-3) v. Washington  (ESPN) 5:30pm - UW needs to win this game to get a look as an at-large in March.
  • Boston College (-1.5) v. Providence (ESPN Classic)  6pm – BC could be better than everyone expected this year.
  • St. Mary’s (-9) v. Seton Hall 7pm- interesting matchup of unbeatens.
  • Xavier (NL) v. Belmont (FSNC) 7pm - BU tries to get the sweep of Cincy schools.
  • Butler (-6) v. Ohio St. (ESPNU) 7:30pm – a rare home game for Butler versus a B10 team.
  • S. Illinois (-2.5) v. Indiana (ESPNU) 9:30pm – see above – hopefully SIU will play better in this one than they did vs. USC last week.
  • California (-2) v. Missouri (FSN) 11pm - worth staying up late to see this Big 12/Pac-10 matchup.
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