FROM PULLMAN — Might have been easy to forget amid all of yesterday's football excitement that there's still a basketball game tonight. We're on press row and have some thoughts. Read on.
First, a link to our advance and fact box. … After a couple of pretty discouraging losses — and one very discouraging injury — the Cougars return home needing to feel some success to turn things around. Fortunately for them, USC is in town. The Trojans have been awful on the road this season — 1-7 overall, 0-4 in Pac-12 play — and pretty much awful everywhere else, too. USC has six scholarship players available due to a bevy of injuries and a couple tranfers sitting out until next season. Essentially, if the Cougars can limit Maurice Jones, USC's only real offensive threat, they should be fine tonight. The Trojans defend well enough, allowing 58.1 points per game, fewest in the conference. But that's also because they play at a slow offensive pace, and their field goal percentage defense is actually pretty mediocre — 42.3 percent, sixth in the conference. James Blasczyk, a 7-foot-1 center, is the only player USC uses taller than 6-foot-7. So Washington State's goal in this game should be to get the ball to Brock Motum, over and over and over. If USC collapses on him, WSU needs its shooters — Reggie Moore, DaVonte Lacy, Abe Lodwick — to respond to that. But with such limited depth, I don't see USC defending Motum with much success, regardless.
All for now. As always, we'll be back after the game.