FROM PULLMAN -- Washington State players are out shooting around and warming up for tonight's game against Gonzaga. And for the first time in a little more than two weeks, DaVonte Lacy is with them. Read on for our pregame post.
(The above photo is a sign someone has in the Zzu Cru tonight. Clever, huh?)
Yes, Lacy is suited up and expected to play tonight. He's moving pretty well through warmups, wearing a brace on his left knee. I wouldn't expect him to start over Dexter Kernich-Drew in his first game back, since Kernich-Drew has been playing well recently and Lacy is likely going to be at least a little bit rusty. But if he's able to go -- and it appears at this point that he is, with WSU officially listing him as probable -- he'll give the Cougars another shooter off the bench. That's going to be important tonight against a Gonzaga team that figures to cause WSU problems inside. Lacy being back will help, but the Cougars need strong shooting performances from everyone -- Kernich-Drew, Brock Motum, Royce Woolridge. If D.J. Shelton can aid in that cause -- and he's shown he's at least capable -- that will help bring Gonzaga's bigs out of the paint and force the Bulldogs to pay close attention to the perimeter, thus opening things up a bit. ... Rebounding will be the other key tonight, I think. Gonzaga entered the week ranked third in the country in rebounding margin, and WSU coach Ken Bone has said all season that he's not sure the Cougars will be a great rebounding team. They haven't been all that bad through their first eight games (89th in the country in rebounding margin, outrebounding teams by a little more than four per game), but tonight certainly presents a bigger challenge in that aspect. Shelton and Motum need to show up in a big way on the boards, and they need help from WSU's guards -- Mike Ladd, in particular, comes to mind as someone who has had strong rebounding games for his size.
We'll be back afterward with the usual fare.