FROM BERKELEY — After going one season without visiting the Bay Area, the Washington State men's basketball team is back in Haas Pavilion to take on California. We have thoughts about today's game, as usual. Read on.
Sure, this is only WSU's third game of the conference season, and Cal's fourth. But it feels like a huge game for both teams. The Golden Bears haven't defended their home court well at all this season, and are coming off what was probably their most deflating loss of the season to Washington on Wednesday. The Bears came out flat, got destroyed on the glass and never had a chance. WSU, meanwhile, has started the Pac-12 season 0-2 despite having a chance to win both games, and could really use a split down here hearing into next weekend's games against Utah and Colorado, both of which are certainly winnable in Pullman. But an 0-3 start would be awfully tough to recover from. … The question is, then, how Cal responds to its listless effort against Washington, and how WSU responds to losing another close game. There doesn't figure to be a great crowd here today, so I'm not sure how much of an advantage Cal will have on that front. One thing that might concern me is that Allen Crabbe was held in check against UW, and shooters of his caliber don't tend to string bad games together. And after what Stanford did to WSU from the perimeter on Wednesday — 8-of-12 from 3-poinnt range — that figures to be a concern. … One more thing to watch today: Royce Woolridge quietly had a decent game off the bench against Stanford, scoring on a couple of nice drives to the rim against a quality defensive team. Ken Bone mentioned after the game that he thought Woolridge did a nice job. If he can build off that and become a little more adept at getting to the rim, that makes WSU a lot more dynamic offensively.
OK. All for now.