Washington State-Washington: A Look Forward to the Season Finale

Lew WrightSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2008

The Washington State Cougars close out their regular season schedule tomorrow evening against cross-state rival Washington.  Friel Court will be the scene of the contest with tip-off set for 4:30 PM.

There’s plenty at stake for both teams.

The Huskies would love to end the recent domination of the Cougs over their team—six losses in a row.  Frankly, they’re just getting tired of losing to WSU.  Period.

If the Dawgs can pull out a win against the Cougs, they would probably have a much better row to hoe in the Pac-10 tournament next week.

Win, and they'd probably face Oregon State with their potential 20-game losing streak.  Yikes!  Lose, and they face a strong Cal team just itching to bang on someone.

Washington split their season series with the Bears, both games high scoring affairs.  On the other hand, in 2008, everyone beats the Beavers.

Looking at the Huskies' record coming into this game, it’s easy to detect a trend: their play doesn’t follow a trend.  One night this team is blown out by USC on their own court.  Two nights later they come back to defeat Pac-10 Champ UCLA by 10 points.

Following that rousing victory over an NCAA No. 1 seed, the Dawgs traveled to Eugene and lost to the Ducks.  Continuing the inconsistency, they defeated an excellent Arizona team (one that beat the Cougs in Pullman two nights later), but then lost to ASU on their home court.

This edition of Husky basketball begs the question, “Who are those guys?”

Here’s an answer.  The Huskies are a pretty young squad, placing four freshmen and a couple of sophomores on the roster.  They are a team with talent, great coaching, and promise.  And if you’re a Cougar fan, they are a very dangerous archrival.

In recent weeks, Washington State has been coming out strong to begin games.  They faded against both Arizona and Stanford, resulting in losses, but when you look at the entire season both of those games stand out as unique.

The Cougs' pattern over the schedule has been just the opposite.  If they are to handle business against Washington, they cannot let the Dawgs believe they can win.  Frustrating the Husky offense early and often will be the key to the game.

Let me repeat myself.  Frustrating the Husky offense is the key to this game.

They have plenty of offensive firepower to come from behind.  Should they jump out to a lead, they can run any team off the court.  WSU will be no exception if that becomes the case.

Saturday will also be a barometer for the Cougar bandwagon.  With school out for spring break, just how many Zzu Cru members will hang around to support their team?

Their basketball team has practiced hard and played their hearts out this season.  True fans should honor that commitment by turning Friel Court into a frenzied madhouse of Zzu Cru mania.  We’ll have to see about that.

One thing you can count on, Coach Tony Bennett and the team will certainly hold up their end of the bargain for Cougar Nation.

Next week is Pac-10 tournament time at Staples Center in Los Angeles.  Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver, Taylor Rochestie, Aron Baynes, and Robbie Cowgill will have a truly enjoyable trip to LA-LA Land on the heels of a regular season victory.

Prediction: WSU 66 - UW 58