FROM SEATTLE – Pullman was sunny and dry when I left it on Friday. Now Seattle is covered in a layer of wet, slushy snow. But we made it to the arena and have some thoughts on today’s game, so read on.
First, an injury note: we’ve been told that Mike Ladd will not play today. He re-aggravated a right thumb injury and appears to be wearing some sort of soft wrap or cast on that hand. That may mean more playing time for Dexter Kernich-Drew, who started in place of Reggie Moore against Colorado last week. Coach Ken Bone said he liked Kernich-Drew's length against the athletic Buffaloes, and the Huskies present a similar challenge.
I’d been told that a sell-out is expected here today, though I’m not so sure we’ll see a packed house due to the weather. The drive from downtown to Montlake wasn’t particularly difficult – slow traffic, some slushier spots here and there, but nothing major – but folks in this area darn near lose their minds as soon as the first snowflake falls, so it’ll be interesting to see how many choose to just watch at home. (The game is being carried by ROOT Sports, with Steve Physioc and Ernie Kent on the call.)
We’ll link our game advance here once more, the focus of which is Washington’s Tony Wroten. I saw some conversation on Twitter about Marcus Capers’ comments in the story, which surprised me a bit. I thought Capers simply offered an honest – and, I thought, accurate –evaluation of Wroten and the Huskies. The debate over Wroten is part of what makes him such an interesting player to watch – he’s talented, but can be a detriment to his team at times, too. Plenty fair to point that out when evaluating his game.
We’ll see how the Cougars decide to defend Washington’s guard trio of Wroten, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross. Wroten (tailbone, elbow) and Wilcox (hip) may be slowed by injuries, though both are expected to play. If WSU sticks with its 2-3 zone, its rotations and close-outs are going to have to be very sound to prevent Wilcox and Ross from getting too many open looks.
UPDATE: Wilcox limped through warmups, and this tweet from UW radio color analyst Jason Hamilton indicates that Wilcox may not be able to go today. That would be big for WSU. We'll see if Wilcox tries to play through it, or if the Huskies sit him.
And I know I’ve said this already this week, but it remains important for Reggie Moore to really try to get dribble penetration and try to open up the lane for players like Brock Motum. That’s been the key to beating Washington this season – aggressive, attacking guards who beat their man off the dribble and cause the whole defense to break down from there. No reason why Moore can’t make that happen today.
Also, one more note just to mention the Cougars are wearing their all-gray uniforms for the first time this season.
All for now. We’ll be back postgame, and you can follow along on Twitter: @ChristianCaple
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.