Believe it or not, we have some thoughts about tonight's National Invitation Tournament game here in rainy Pullman. If you so choose, you can read on.
• There are three areas we want to concentrate on in this pregame post. One is Oklahoma State's defense vs. the Cougar offense. The other is the littlest Cowboy, 5-foot-9 Keiton Page. And the last is inside play. I don't know if that's the right order of importance to tonight's outcome, but all three are important. … Let's start with the Cowboys on the defensive end. You know OSU is going to be physical with Washington State, especially with Klay Thompson. The Cowboys will bump, grab, claw, whatever they have to – and get away with – trying to take the Cougars out of their comfort zone – and the sets they want to run. With a few days to prepare, watch video, walk-through, practice, OSU should be familiar with WSU's tendencies. So expect the Cougars to do a few different things. But more important than that is how WSU responds to OSU, which I would compare to USC without the height or Marcus Simmons, but with a similar philosophy. Can the Cougars trust their offense, trust what they are supposed to do, and execute it? At times this year when opponents have pushed hard, the Cougars have abandoned what they do best, which is share the basketball and trust their teammates. The bounce becomes the focal point of their attack and that is playing into the opponent's hands. That tendency has receded as the season has wound down, which is a testament to WSU's improvement. … As for Page, he's the one guy WSU is worried about on the perimeter. If you look at his stats, you'll see a guy only shooting 31.1 percent from beyond the arc, but that's deceiving. He's the ultimate streak shooter. If he gets going, watch out. The junior will shoot from as far away as 30 feet, will shoot in transition and, surprisingly, is shooting much better on the road (33.3 percent) than at home (26.4). He's also hit 7 of 19 (36.8 percent) in the Cowboys' three postseason games. On the defensive end, Page likes to roam and be a pest. If he starts out guarding Marcus Capers, expect him to sag off and double DeAngelo Casto in the post or, if Capers cuts through the key, stay around the basket and try to disrupt the next cutter's path. He may also try to double Thompson at times. … Finally, let's talk size and strength, both of which probably favor OSU. The Cowboys aren't overly tall, but they are wide. The cubic area they fill up is impressive. Keeping them off the offensive glass – especially Marshall Moses, who has 95 offensive rebounds, 32 more than WSU's leader Casto – is, as usual, crucial. … Watch OSU's Jean-Paul Olukemi, or JP as he's known. The 6-5 sophomore is as athletic as anyone you'll see this season. Olukemi played against Klay Thompson in high school – he attended Sonora High in northern Orange County – and then attended Stoneridge Prep with Thompson's younger brother. … Though these two schools have only played once in their history, this season they played five games against the same opponents – Kansas State, Baylor, Gonzaga and Stanford. Both were 3-2 in those five games. … One last thing. It's more than an hour before game time and I can guarantee you Beasley Coliseum will be louder and more raucous tonight than it was last week. It already is.
• That's all for now. Except for this programming note. We'll be on Twitter a little less tonight due to the late start. We have to get our story to the paper in time for the Pullman edition, so we'll spend the second-half timeouts writing. We will, however, try to get our finished product up here as soon as possible after the game. Until then …