CBI 2012: Why Lack of Top Two Scorers Will Doom Washington State vs. Pittsburgh

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Klay Thompson #1 of the Washington State Cougars reacts after the Cougars lost to the Washington Huskies 89-87 in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If a team is going to win on the road in college basketball, then it's undeniable that they will need big contributions from their best big players.

Washington State will be without Faisal Aden and possibly Brock Motum against Pittsburgh.

As a result, they will watch the Panthers win two straight to claim the CBI.

Aden has been out since early February, but the loss of Motum is new. According to USA Today, he is listed as doubtful for the game, but it won't make a difference.

Either he doesn't play at all, or plays but with a serious injury that will limit his effectiveness. Either way, the Cougars are going to be greatly hampered. 

If Motum doesn't play, Ashton Gibbs, Trey Woodall and Nasir Robinson will all be Pittsburgh players who average more points per game than any active player on Washington State.

That is far too much to overcome.

Granted, Washington State does have one thing working in its favor: They are already up one game in the best-of-three series, but that lead is precarious. 

Wazzou won the opener at home by one point. Now, they will still be without Motum, but headed out on the road for two more games.

If you don't think playing on the road (across the country, no less) is worth one point, then you simply haven't watched much basketball. 

Look for Pittsburgh to move the ball around on offense, keeping the ball away from Washington State. That is going to limit the Cougars' possessions, which will really hurt without the top scorers.

The fact that they are up by a game is the only thing that gives Wazzou any chance, but it's not much of one. 

The Panthers will come out and win both games rather convincingly.

Up a game, Washington State could withstand being on the road or being without their top scorers, but will not overcome both.