Can the second game of the Pac-10 schedule really be a must win? Maybe not, but this one comes about as close as a possible to that. Read on for our pregame thoughts.
• Starting conference 0-2 on your home court probably isn't they way to build a postseason resume. So today's game with Oregon State takes on added importance for the young Cougars, especially considering how they got to 0-1. Of course, every game in a conference season is important, but a game like today's may just be crucial for a young team like WSU. So what problems do the Beavers present?
First off, all zones are not created equal. What does that have to with anything? Well, the Beavers play zone, but usually play two distinctly different types. After made baskets, they usually retreat into a 1-3-1, extending it to halfcourt and beyond at times. When OSU misses or turns it over, it usually plays a 2-3 zone. Why is that important? The way you attack each is radically different. The 1-3-1 leaves more open space, making the offensive team, in this case, the Cougars, attack using the bounce more often. The 2-3, at least the way the Beavers play it, is more of a basket-oriented scheme, packing it in and forcing the attackers to beat it with quick ball movement. Two distinctively different schemes means the Cougars will have to ball able to switch offensive emphasis possibly each possession. ... But what if OSU throws a wrinkle or two, like it did last year when it played some junk defenses against WSU? Then the Cougars will have to adjust again, and attack another way. In other words, today it's important WSU "thinks" the game.
How about the other end. If you remember, WSU struggled to contain Calvin Haynes. The quick 6-foot-2 guard sliced them up a bit, no matter if either Taylor Rochestie or Marcus Capers was guarding him. He'll be a handful again today, though it is Seth Tarver who leads OSU in scoring. Another guy to keep an eye on is senior Roeland Schaftenaar, the Dutch important who has turned into an excellent center in coach Craig Robinson's Princeton-style offense. ... One problem OSU presents is the Beavers are the polar opposite style of Oregon, giving the Cougars very little time to prepare. It's the same problem WSU and UW used to present to Pac-10 teams during the Bennett years. How quickly the Cougars learned their lessons this weekend might play a huge part in their ability to be successful.
• That's it for now. We'll be back at halftime. Until then ...