FROM PULLMAN — A few notes before Washington State and Fresno State get going this afternoon. Read on.
If you missed our advance in today's newspaper, here you go. … An interesting note from Fresno State's game release — Mountain West teams are 58-14 in non-conference games this season, with five of those losses coming against teams ranked in the top 25. Anyone remember the whole “Mountain West is better than Pac-12” debate last season? Some would probably say not enough has changed since then. Fresno State will find out better than anyone. Counting today, the Bulldogs will play three of its next four games against Pac-12 teams — WSU, Colorado, UCLA. … Speaking of UCLA, the Bruins beat Texas by two points last night in a bumbling, stumbling, joke of a basketball game. Fresno State nearly did the same, in Austin, on Nov. 9, falling 55-53 to a Texas team that was ranked 24th in the nation at the time. The Bulldogs pulled out a thrilling, 39-30 win over UC Riverside in their next game (they also managed to beat Cal Poly — on the road, no less — something the Bruins couldn't do.) … Fresno State is 3-2 in road games this season. … Will be interesting to see whether DaVonte Lacy returns to the starting lineup tonight. If you based the decision solely off how he played against Gonzaga, it's a no-brainer. But there are, of course, physical concerns. How Lacy's knee feels on a day to day basis could play a factor in how much Ken Bone decides to play him. Like Bone said after Wednesday's game, he didn't expect Lacy to play much more than 20 or so minutes. But he was so good that he needed him to be on the court. We'll see how those minutes are managed today. As his knee gets closer and closer to full strength, it won't be as much of a concern. … Bone talked after WSU's win over Idaho about the need for WSU to play (and win) close games. That's something Lacy mentioned the other day, too — that in the long run, games like Gonzaga and Texas A&M (and Pepperdine, for that matter) will help the Cougars, because they're so young and they need to learn and understand what it takes to pull out those down-to-the-wire games. Today could be one of those games. Fresno State isn't Gonzaga. But it isn't Arkansas-Pine Bluff or Utah Valley, either.
We'll be back after the game, as usual.