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Some pregame thoughts from Tucson

COUGARS

Let's talk upset. And why it would be even more of an upset if Washington State can find a way to win here tonight. For that and more, read on.


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• You all know about DeAngelo Casto's rolled ankle, suffered against California the other night. And you all know he sat Monday but practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. He is OK and will play tonight. That, in itself, is a big deal for the Cougars. But one of his backups, Charlie Enquist, is a little under the weather. I'm sure he'll go and I'm sure many of you are asking yourself what the big deal is, seeing he plays a couple minutes here and a few there. But Enquist adds depth to a position that sorely needs it, especially tonight. I'm pretty sure it will be tough for the Cougar bigs, from Casto to Abe Lodwick to Brock Motum, to stay out of foul trouble tonight. The combination of Derrick Williams' strength and the McKale Center crowd's fervor usually serves to guarantee a few more whistles than normal on the visiting team. And though Enquist isn't a make-or-break guy, he does bring energy, height and length when he is called to fill in, usually due to foul trouble. A full-strength Enquist gives Ken Bone one more tall body to call on. … This place holds 14,545 folks, one of whom spent the entire game a couple years ago screaming at Tony Bennett that he and his dad ruined the Pac-10 with their defense-first style. Pretty funny. But that just shows how raucous even the so-called adults can get here. When you spend a couple grand on a seat license, it seems you should get pretty loud. Money's worth and all that. … Want to know why 12th-ranked Arizona is 20-4 and, at 10-2, is first in the conference? The Wildcats' home-court is part of it – they are 5-0 in conference, 13-0 overall and have scored more than 80 points in their last three home games. And their ability to clear the glass is crucial – though they've won this year when they have been beaten on the boards, in three of their four losses they were outboarded. But the biggest thing lately has been balance. Everyone knows how good Williams is, as the sophomore will probably be the Pac-10 player of the year if UA holds off Washington and UCLA down the stretch. But one guy isn't good enough to win every game. And lately the Cats have received help from a variety of players. For a while Lamont “MoMo” Jones was the guy, scoring 11, 17, 17, 15 and 27 as UA won five consecutive games. But against ASU the other night he was 0-for-6 from the floor and had two points. So Kyle Fogg, who has been quiet lately, put up 26 points. The game before Kevin Parrom had 25. At times the Wildcats have been able to be a choose-your-poison type of team. … The one question about UA that must be asked is, will the Cats be looking past WSU at Washington. Could be. The UW loss was their last. There is a revenge factor there. That's not a factor tonight. … Keys? Keep Williams off the offensive glass. Don't let him grab nine O-boards like he did in Pullman. Or let him shoot 13 free throws – as we said above, that might not be possible. And it's time for Klay Thompson to get hot. A 10-for-17 night would go a long way toward helping the Cougars pull the upset. Another 4-for-16 (1-for-7 beyond the arc) game, like he had against UA the first time, won't be overcome. … One last note. Since defeating Arizona State Jan. 20, Washington State has not won two games in-a-row. Of course, the Cougars haven't lost two consecutive games either. … And a couple links for you. … Jim Moore has his own way of saying WSU will pull an upset. … CougCenter's Jeff Nusser has a plan.

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• That's it for now. We'll be back at halftime here and on Twitter during the first half at vinceg55. Until then …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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