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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WSU, USC, the pregame post

COUGARS

Here we are, another Thursday night in Beasley. The last Thursday night in Beasley this season as a matter of fact. The last Thursday we get to see the students "not run" to the best seats. We have some thoughts on this last Thursday game (and I got Thursday into this lead five times, a record I do believe). Read on.

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• One funny thing about the student body. There are distinctive groups that sit in "their spots" every game. A group here, a group there. Territorial. Like hyenas. ... Hey, that last line was just a joke, really. Quit looking at me like that. ... Maybe they're looking that way because they had to follow along with the cheerleaders and dance members, trying to learn some sort of halftime deal on Saturday that includes the word, or words, "booty shake." Sorry, there were not enough adult beverages in the world to get me to do a "booty shake" when I was in college. ... The best part of this deal? The players' response. The ones who are out here shooting will have to be loose tonight. They had 10 minutes or so of hide-their-mouth laughing. ... OK, enough of that stuff. ... We mentioned Marcus Simmons in this morning's post. His booty will be shaking tonight as he chases Klay Thompson through screen after screen tonight. Baxter Holmes of the LA Times wrote about Simmons and his assignment tonight on his blog. ... I was asked again today what I expect from the Cougars tonight. And once again I used my patented answer. I have no clue. I do expect one thing though. This game will be filled with intensity. It has to be. Both teams have too much to play for. It's right there in front of both. Neither can really afford to lose, so I expect a game with NCAA intensity. ... I do have one thing I believe you should watch for tonight. When teams play man-to-man defense with the physical nature USC employs, it's possible to get Washington State out of its offense. If the Cougars get frustrated because the game plan isn't bearing fruit early, at times this year they have abandoned their share-the-ball mentality and began attacking one-on-one. That is not their strength. Sometimes this season, coach Ken Bone hasn't been able to get it fixed until halftime, to get the group to revert to what it does best, cutting, screening, helping each other be successful on the offensive end. If the Cougars trust each other, trust the offense, trust that USC will make mistakes, they will stay with the plan. We'll see.

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• That's it for now. We'll be back at halftime with a short post and on Twitter all night at 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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