It was only a couple of years ago that Washington State had one of the worst basketball programs in the country. The arrival of the Dick and Tony Bennett changed all that as the Cougars have become the preeminent team to beat in the Northwest over the last two seasons. What the Bennett's have done is borderline amazing. Nobody doubted that father, and son could coach, but nobody really thought they would be able to attract enough talent to Pullman to make much of a difference. They did attract talent, they did it the old fashioned way, through evaluation, and finding the right mix of unheralded, unselfish players to fit their system.
Washington State comes in to today's game rated #4 in the country with a 12-0 record entering conference play. The Huskies on the other hand are unrated and start conference play with a 9-4 record. The Cougars have a five game winning streak against the Huskies. Tonight's game is all about tempo, whoever controls the tempo is going to win the game. WSU likes to slow things down while the Huskies like to run. Whoever makes the other play their game is going to come out on top in this one.
The Cougars signature win so far this season was a road win against Gonzaga in the Kennel. the Huskies on the other hand fell at the buzzer to Pittsburgh, but picked one up against a slumping LSU on the road last week.
On paper you have to go with the Cougars in this one even though it is on the road in a hostile environment. The Huskies will give it their all trying to break the losing streak, and also try to get off to a positive conference start after last years start which buried their post season hopes. A tough road trip looms next week when the Huskies visit Los Angeles, the last thing Romar and his team wants to do is start off the season 0-3. So this should be a pretty exciting game as the Huskies try to start the conference season with a big win over a top four opponent.
For Washington to win they are going to need a big game as usual from Brockman, and Appleby. they are also going to need to step it up on defense around the perimeter. Patience is the key to beating the Cougars, and Washington needs to improve their shot selection, and convert at the foul line. WSU is a veteran team that has been here before, it will take all the Huskies have to pull the upset in this one. This one will be a must see game, if you want to get an idea of how well Washington will do in conference this season this game will be the barometer.