FROM PULLMAN – The weather hasn’t improved any, but both teams are here and warming up before our 7:05 p.m. tip-off. No TV tonight, so if you’re not here, you can listen on the radio or at wsucougars.com. Read on for some thoughts.
We arrived at Beasley about the same time as Stanford players and coaches, who flew into Spokane last night and successfully navigated Highway 195. As we write this about an hour before tip-off, thestudents are beginning to file in, and only a handful of non-students dot the lower bowl. Obviously a small crowd is anticipated – 3,785 non-student tickets had been sold as of yesterday – but I’d be surprised if that many show up. I was almost surprised to see the parking lot attendants out there working, figuring that maybe the weather was bad enough to just allow the brave few in attendance to park wherever they can.
We’ll pass along our advance one more time, as well as our interview with the San Jose Mercury News’ Stanford beat writer, Elliott Almond. He mentioned something that got me thinking – that the teams that have had success against the Cardinal this year have really been able to shoot the ball well. Against a team that puts its emphasis on defense and rebounding, that’s kind of an obvious key. Still, I wonder if being back on their home court will give WSU a little more confidence in that department. If the Cougars can get a lead early and get what little crowd is here into it, the Cardinal isn’t the kind of explosive team that can quickly erase a deficit. Although Stanford does have a big-time depth advantage, which will be accentuated by the absence of Mike Ladd, who is doubtful to play with a right thumb injury. WSU really needs to jump on Stanford early from the get-go to build some confidence and use their more up-tempo style of play to their advantage. If the Cougars get a lead and are able to dictate the tempo, they’ll take Stanford out of its comfort zone.
All for now. We’ll be back after the game.