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Pregame from Staples Center

Staples Center. (Christian Caple)
Staples Center. (Christian Caple)

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES -- Is there a single Pac-12 basketball fan who will miss watching this tournament in this big, empty arena? Can't imagine there is. Anyway, we're here, and we have some thoughts before Washington State and Oregon State get things started at noon. Read on.

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We have all the coverage you need in our morning post, so I'll just link that for now. I'm interested to see how much the Beavers use their 1-3-1 today. WSU wasn't fazed by it at all in the teams' last meeting, slicing it so effectively that OSU had to scrap it for much of the second half. But it's not as if the Cougars had a whole lot of trouble against the Beavers' man-to-man in the first meeting, either, though WSU did struggle to take care of the ball a bit more in that game. Marcus Capers said the Cougars tend to be a little more cautious with their passes against OSU, because so much emphasis is placed on their zone during game preparation. So it seems that it would be in WSU's favor if the Beavers do opt to play zone (though this year, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a 1-3-1). ... Of course, beating a zone is dependent on making some outside shots, and that's something the Cougars haven't done with any kind of success recently. They've made just 5 of their 39 attempts from 3-point range in the past three games. That's 12.8 percent. In two games against OSU this season, WSU has made 12 of 24. That's 50 percent. A performance closer to the latter is going to be needed this afternoon. ... I expect the atmosphere to be about as lively as ... you know, I don't even have a metaphor. Pick your own. It's going to be dead in here, like it always is. This tournament can't move to Las Vegas fast enough.

All for now. We'll be back with more after the game.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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