COUGARS • UPDATED: 4 P.M.
Spent the morning watching Washington State get ready for what is quite possibly the toughest road trip in the Pac-10. First the Cougars get an Arizona team at home coming off a split in Los Angeles and a 30-point whupping from BYU the last time the Wildcats played in Tucson. Then it's up the road for a matchup with Arizona State, hurting from getting swept in Los Angeles. The rest of the day, so far, has been wrapped up in interviews (and lunch, I admit), so we're just getting our head above water. We have some items for you, so read on.
UPDATE: The game time for Sunday's matchup with Arizona State has been moved up an hour, to 12:30 p.m. (MST) from 1:30. That means the game will be on FSN in the Spokane area at 11:30 a.m. The reason for the change? The Arizona Cardinals will be playing an NFC playoff game Sunday afternoon. The change allows the ASU-WSU game to not conflict.
• I was able to find a few links I think you might be interested in, including Percy Allen's summary of some of the questions off the Pac-10 media teleconference. We also found this ranking of the conference after the first week from San Jose and this notebook from the Oregonian. ... The Register-Guard's Bob Clark looks at USC and the Pac-10. ... More on the Trojans. ... Arizona is trying to make a good impression on a couple recruits this weekend. ... One last link. If, as a Washington State fan, you can get past the lead to this Mack Brown story you'll find it a wonderful read.
• Ken Bone met with the media - including five television cameras and two newspaper reporters, one vastly overweight, occupying a small room – today in his weekly press conference and covered subjects ranging from the weekend's upcoming games to last week's two Pac-10 battles. ... Bone said he really hasn't started looking at Arizona and Arizona State, but instead is concentrating on improving his team. That's possible because the Cougars don't play until Friday this week (at UA) thanks to the conference making sure all teams avoid the BCS championship football game Thursday night, a ratings killer for basketball telecasts. ... He admits he's not sure how the schedule change will affect the next two weeks, but believes it will be positive this weekend, with the extra day to prepare, and will make next week a tough proposition, as WSU will have to take Monday off. ... Though the Cougars played zone for ¾ of the Oregon State game, Bone said their tough half-court man-to-man is still their "bread and butter." Don't be surprised, however, if you see WSU in zone more often this year that you are used to. ... DeAngelo Casto practiced sparingly Monday, resting his body battered by battling Micheal Dunigan last Thursday and the Oregon State zone Saturday. Bone said the coaches are relying on Casto to be straight with them concerning how he feels, because they don't want the sophomore to break down. Remember, Casto had knee surgery over the offseason. ... One thing that happened Saturday that few might have noticed is Casto and James Watson played a few minutes together. Bone said that may happen in the future, but not too often. As Watson improves, my guess is the two will spend a little more time on the court at the same time. ... Bone was asked about the Oregon call, and said he wasn't sure if WSU was going to make more of an issue of it. From what I've been able to learn, the call Jim Sterk made over the weekend, which prompted a response from the Pac-10, will be the end of it, other than maybe WSU acknowledging the response. Bone was asked on the Pac-10 call if he thought the conference would replay the game – as if that would ever happen, especially considering the conference office stated it believes the right call was made. He said: "I don't foresee that happening. I think it's in the Pac-10's best interest to let everybody move on. So that's probably what will happen." ... Bone also said he's addressed what happened with the team more than once and he's sure it won't happen again. ... Once again Bone talked about the ability of the Cougars to win a tough game against Oregon State with Klay Thompson struggling to score. The upshot of the answer was that the Cougars are a more confident group than they were at the beginning of the season. ... Bone took some of the responsibility for WSU's slow start against Oregon, saying he might have been better served to schedule a game right after Christmas. ... Asked on the Pac-10 call how long it took his players to adjust to his style, Bone answered: "It took about 30 or 40 seconds from them to accept it." He went on to say that most players like the uptempo game more than the way WSU's played in the recent past. But he took pains to say Dick and Tony Bennett laid such a strong fundamental foundation in Pullman, it's made the transition easier.
• That's it for now. We'll be back as events warrant. Until then ...