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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


The road to the NCAA tournament is paved with good possessions


On their way to the NCAA tournament, the WSU Cougars must make it through the gantlet that is the Pac-10 Conference season. And that 18-game test starts Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Against the No. 1 team in the nation, the UCLA Bruins.

That is the subject of a lot of word processing this morning, starting with John Blanchette's column in The Spokesman-Review.

John talked with Coug coach Tony Bennett, who seemed just as worried about Saturday night's opponent, USC, or even next Thursday's foe, Arizona, as he was about the Bruins (7:30 Thursday; FSN; 920-AM), which is part of the Pac-10 conundrum this season. There are relatively few mark-'em-in-the-win-column-right-now games.

Of course, there have been none of those in the past couple years for the Cougs, but with an 11-1 non-conference mark – against a decent schedule – you would think WSU would have a decided edge a few times in the conference. And they will. Just not during the first three games.

From the West Side, the P-I's Dan Raley writes about the Pac-10's strength, and how this year it isn't just a mirage, while the Times' Bob Condotta posts his Pac-10 preview. He has the Cougars picked to finish sixth, which should be good enough for an NCAA berth.

For more Cougar – and Pac-10 – information, don't forget to check Glenn Kasses' blog. And read on for more conference news.

I also have a question for you: Where do you think the Cougars will finish in the conference race? I'm leaning toward fourth or fifth, but am not really sure. Give me your thoughts, so I can incorporate (read: steal) them into mine. Just click the comment link and let me know.

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