Last week the Washington State men’s basketball team traveled about as far from Pullman as one can while still remaining in the continental United States to take part in the Old Spice Classic.
But today the Cougars will remain as close to campus as possible without playing a home game to take part in the oldest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi River.
WSU (3-4) will face Idaho (3-4) in Moscow for the 268th meeting between the schools, which have tipped off against each other for 108 consecutive years. When UI last hosted the Cougars, it took a buzzer-beating jumper from Reggie Moore to beat the Vandals, 66-64.
Last season the Cougars won in Pullman, 64-55.
The Old Spice Classic, held in Orlando, Fla., saw the Cougars beat Purdue while losing close contests against Butler and Saint Joseph’s. Though the tournament ended last Sunday, today’s game will be WSU’s first since returning from the Sunshine State.
“Well, we definitely needed some time off and that’s why we set the schedule the way we did,” coach Ken Bone said. “That’s a long trip, we played TCU and then left the very next day and played three games in four days. It takes a toll on your body. Not just physically, but mentally also.”
Stephen Madison, who averages 17 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, leads the Vandals. They have a dangerous 3-point shooter in Glen Dean, who hits 43 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.
Dean originally planned to play for Bone when the WSU coach was still at Portland State. Instead he began his collegiate career at Eastern Washington, where he was named the Big Sky Conference freshman of the year, before transferring to Utah of the Pac-12.
He came to UI this summer, taking advantage of the graduate transfer rule.