Fri., Jan. 7, 2011
WSU’s win over Oregon State from a different perspective
We – meaning most readers and myself – have a difference of opinion when it comes to Washington State's home games not being televised, as was the case with last night's 84-70 win over Oregon State. You folks hate it. We like it. If you want to know why, read on.
• Washington State: Before we get to the why, we have some video highlights from last night, courtesy of Jared Prenguber of WSU's video department.
Now that you've watched the highlights, you know the angle from which we see the game when it is televised. With no room on the floor, we watch from the concourse. Now the view of the action is just fine, but the nuances of the on-court play are lost. Last night, with no television in the building, there was a spot down by the floor where I was able to sit and cover the action. And there were some thoughts we've had for a while that were confirmed by the up-close observations in a two-thirds empty (thus oftentimes real quiet) arena. ... Abe Lodwick isn't the most athletic guy but he's the leader on the defensive end. You can't play good defense at this level (or even the elementary school level) if you don't talk. Lodwick never stops. When his man is screening, the guard knows it. When it's time to go under or over a screen, everyone knows. If he's in help, everyone knows. I don't have the stats in front of me, but it wouldn't surprise me if WSU's defense isn't quite a bit better when Lodwick is on the floor, no matter who he is playing with. ... Klay Thompson's intensity is impressive. Remember that guy on you high school football team who used to get in your face, eyes really wide, mouth exploding with profanity, arms all askew? That's not Klay. But he's as intense as that guy. It just doesn't show in demonstrative ways all that often. But never underestimate his desire to win. ... Reggie Moore and Marcus Capers have an interesting on-court relationship. The two don't have a problem telling each other everything, from where to go to make a reversal pass easier to helping each other on the defensive end. ... I don't think there are many people who realize how physical the play around the hoop has become on the collegiate level. It's a strong man's game, with two-hand shoves and body-to-body checks tolerated by the referees much more often than they are ever called. ... Before we move on to the links, we wanted to add a couple more game notes to those we had last night. ... We made a pretty big deal of WSU not sharing the ball well against USC, when the Trojans' physical man-to-man defense took the Cougars out of their offense and turned them into a one-on-one, dribble-drive team. Well last night the Beavers tried to entice the same reaction early on with their 2-3 zone. There were gaps big enough for me to run through but those were traps. Dribble there and the Beavers surrounded you and forced a turnover. After a few early lessons, WSU quit taking the bait. The result was 18 assists on 26 baskets, with many of those 26 coming from open outside jumpers after a good pass. Moore, Thompson and Brock Motum had all but one of those assists, which I believe was more a consequence of WSU's offensive attack than any selfishness by the others. ... Now on to the links. ... We have our story as it appeared in the S-R. ... And CougCenter's Jeff Nusser has this analysis of the numbers. ... The Oregonian's Paul Buker had this coverage. ... And that's about it.
• Around the Pac-10: The number of undefeated conference team is down to two after WSU's win over the Beavers. One everyone expected. That would be Washington, which pulled away from Oregon late for an 87-69 win. ... The other would be Stanford, which raised its record to 2-0 with 55-41 trouncing of Arizona State in the desert. That the Cardinal are atop the league has to be a surprise. Though the lofty perch may not last long. They head down the highway to Tucson for a game with Arizona on Saturday. ... The Wildcats barley edged Cal, 73-71, as Derrick Williams shot 22 free throws en route to 31 points. ... USC and UCLA play Sunday and the Trojans have a few players who are new to this rivalry. The Bruins might lose a couple players to the draft, but really, there is no way Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee are ready for pro basketball, is there? ... And that's it for basketball coverage. ... But we have more, thanks to the on-going Jim Harbaugh saga – the Dolphins threw a bunch of money at him and he declined but the 49ers are still interested – and Andrew Luck's decision to stay at Stanford. And, of course, the national title game. The Ducks are really worried about one Auburn defender, Nick Fairley, who has a reputation. Not a good one, either. It will be up to their offensive line to keep him under control. ... Finally, more on the television plans for next year's Pac-12 title game. The overall number is $25 million.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back today if news warrants. Until then ...