Washington State Cougars-Gonzaga Bulldogs: Men's Basketball Preview

Jeff SmithCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2009

Washington State Cougars (6-0) v. 17 Gonzaga Bulldogs (5-1)

The No. 17 Gonzaga Bulldogs will host rival the Washington State Cougars at The Kennel in Spokane on Wednesday night.

The teams met last on Dec. 10, 2008 as the Bulldogs beat the Cougars 74-52. The two schools are located just 70 miles apart in eastern Washington. The Cougars lead the all-time series 97-46, but has won just two of the last 10 meetings.

Winning the Maui Invitational has put Gonzaga back in The Associated Press college basketball poll. The AP poll has the Bulldogs ranked 17.

Gonzaga has defeated Colorado, Wisconsin, and Cincinnati. Senior guard Matt Bouldin leads the team with 16.2 points per game, while junior guard Steven Gray is second with 15.8 points per game.

The Bulldogs began the season with only five players with college basketball experience, raising questions about their ability to win big games. But Gonzaga has silenced all doubters by winning five of their first six contests.

Washington State won the Great Alaska Shootout last week. While they don't appear in the Top 25, the Cougars did receive four votes.

Sophomore forward Klay Thompson, the nation’s leading scorer, leads the team with 28.3 points per game, adding 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. He scored scored 43 points in their most recent victory over USD.

Freshman point guard Reggie Moore leads the team with 3.8 assists a game and is second with 13.5 points a game. DeAngelo Casto follows him with 5.7 rebounds and 12.8 points per game.

Both teams are surging at the moment and defiantly have momentum coming into Wednesday’s contest. Can Thompson carry his Cougars, or will the Bulldogs’ big men wear down Washington State?

The odds makers currently have the Bulldogs as –16 -point favorites.

I think the odds gods have been generous here. A 16-point margin seems a little more than what I think WSU is going to allow. The Bulldogs will be challenged and will have to fight their way to a narrow margin victory.