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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No. 15 Baylor next up for WSU

COUGARS

As we sit through the end of Mississippi State's easy win over San Diego, we have one thing to say about Washington State's game with Baylor, which will probably start about 20 minutes late. Size matters today. At least for WSU it does. As the Cougars get ready to play the Baylor Bears in the semifinal round of the Diamond Head Classic, we have some thoughts, so read on.

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• Call it a contest of styles – or a style contrast – but today's game for WSU is the type of matchup the Cougars have dreaded the last couple seasons. The Baylor Bears (8-1 and ranked 15th in the nation) may be known for the flamboyant play of 6-foot-4 guard LaceDarius Dunn, who averages 20.3 points per game and converts half of his 3-point attempts, but it is the inside players that will be the biggest concern for WSU today. The Bears start three players 6-7 and taller, and the 6-7 guy, Quincy Acy, is listed at 225 but seems – and plays – a lot bigger than that, averaging 14.2 points and 8 rebounds per game. Perry Jones III (6-11, 235) and Anthony Jones (6-10, 190) combine for 22 points and 14.6 rebounds. That size – along with 6-11, 265-pound reserve forward J'mison Morgan, a former UCLA Bruin – has caused the Bears' opponents trouble. Everyone but Gonzaga. The Bulldogs' Robert Sacre, Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk held their own inside – GU and Baylor split 66 rebounds – and GU pulled the 68-64 upset in Dallas earlier this month. But Baylor is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation (check Ken Pom's stats here) and could cause the Cougars tremendous problems inside. How DeAngelo Casto, Abe Lodwick, Brock Motum, et al do keeping those big Baylor bodies off the glass – especially if the Cougars zone to deny penetration to Dunn and A.J. Walton – should determine the outcome. Don't be worried if WSU's bigs don't have gaudy rebound stats. If they are doing their job the guards will have good numbers and the Cougars will be OK. Do what GU did, get a push or near a push inside, and WSU's strength out front should be the difference. If Baylor can pound the Cougars inside, scoring or grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring, then WSU is in big trouble. On the other end, the Bears usually rely on a zone and against GU that zone had more holes than the SS Minnow. If Baylor plays with the same lack of intensity on that end today, WSU will score in the 80s. And that should be enough. ... A couple links, our story from Wednesday's game and this blog post from the Jackson Clarion Ledger. There is also this blog post from Ryan Collingwood in Lewiston. ... CougCenter looks at today's game. ...

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• That's all for now. We'll be back with more at halftime, but between now and then catch our updates on Twitter (vinceg55). Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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