Do you know it is only 15 degrees warmer here in Tempe than it is in Pullman right now? Of course, the high today here will be 73, while Pullman is predicted to top out some 40 degrees lower. The people at the golf tournament – especially on the 16th hole – will care more about the sun than we will, because we'll be inside the Wells Fargo Arena a lot today. To see what we've found concerning tonight's Pac-10 game between the state schools of Washington and Arizona, read on.
• We'll start, as we should, with our stuff, including the advance we had in the paper, along with the unedited version we posted last night because it included some notes that didn't make the paper. Then we'll also offer the items that appeared on our Four Corners page.
Because we can't find the link to our notes from that page, here they are in an unedited form ...
Center Aron Baynes has been on a rebounding tear, pulling down 59 in the Cougars' last six games. The 6-10 senior came into the season averaging 4.6 rebounds a game. With his recent spurt, Baynes' season average is up to 7.1, fifth in the Pac-10.
Baynes has also improved at the free-throw line, hitting 18 of his last 19 to raise his season mark to 73.4 percent. As a team, WSU has converted 49 of its last 50.
The Cougars shooting woes against USC – they were 14 of 51 from the field for a season-low 27.5 percent – came on the heels of a second half against UCLA in which WSU shot 63.6 percent, hitting 14 of 22 attempts.
Asked to explain, WSU coach Tony Bennett couldn't.
"We were solid," against UCLA, Bennett said. "Against USC, I thought we got as many good looks ... as we've had in a long time. ... We just struggled to knock them down."
Monday, Bennett worked with senior Daven Harmeling, who has scored just 10 points in Pac-10 play, adjusting Harmeling's release and the arc of his shot. Harmeling, who last started in the conference opener against Washington, is slated to start at the small forward tonight.
• Back to the links. Freelancer Howie Stalwick had his advance in today's P-I, along with other Puget Sound newspapers while the Times ran the Associated Press preview. From the Arizona Republic, we found this Jeff Metcalfe story and from Nick Daschel of Buster Sports there is this Pac-10 preview. Finally, we wanted to share this Tucson Citizen piece from Steve Rivera. We can't forget this week is just as important for UA as it is for WSU, maybe even more so.
• Just to let you know, we are working on a football recruiting post for tomorrow that will examine where the Cougars stand heading into the final weekend before letter-of-intent day, which is Wednesday. There's one area in which they really seem to be trailing the new staff over in Seattle: Recruiting faux pas. The Times is reporting UW is investigating another possible violation. That would make it two in two weeks if you were keeping score at home. No wonder John Blanchette has started calling him Steve Sarkheisel.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back with our usual pregame post. Till then ...