PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State (10-3, 0-1) will spend this New Year's Day shaking off the effects of a stunning overtime loss to the Oregon Ducks in their Pac-10 opener.
Will they be ready for Oregon State Saturday evening?
Based on how well prepared the Cougs have entered each game under first year Coach Ken Bone, the simple answer would be "yes".
Preparation hasn't been an issue for this WSU basketball team all season. There have been occasions where they struggled with execution, but this team belies their collective youth filling out the roster.
Oregon State (6-6, 0-1) will make the trip from Seattle to Pullman hoping to atone for their conference opening loss to the No. 17 Washington Huskies on Thursday, 76-70.
The performance of Coach Craig Robinson's team against the UW mirrored the effort of their neighbors to the south, the Oregon Ducks. His Beavers came out ready to play and moved out to an early lead. However, OSU couldn't hold their advantage and not only let the Huskies back into the game before halftime, they surrendered their lead to the extreme. The Beavs went into the locker room trailing by 10 points.
From the moment Coach Robinson arrived in Corvallis, the attitude and confidence of Beaver basketball has completely turned around. That was evident once again going down the stretch against the UW. They trailed the Huskies by just three points with about a minute to go in the game but couldn't complete a comeback.
Oregon State has been led by Seth Tarver this season who's averaging 13.4 points per game. However, Tarver was stone cold Thursday, going just 3-of-10 from the field, finishing with eight points.
Coach Robinson runs the Princeton offense. Simply put, the ball goes in to Roland Schaftenaar at the high post (top of the key) and he looks for cutters or will turn and drive the lane. The size, strength and intensity of the Huskies front line never let Schaftenaar settle into a rhythm to effectively run the Princeton. He did put up a team-high 16 points though.
This game looks like a good match up for the Cougs. Oregon State is most comfortable when setting up their half court offense and working the shot clock down. WSU should be able to frustrate the Beavers with their speed and the length of Klay Thompson, DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers. The quickness of that trio of Cougs can be a passing team's nightmare.
The other edge Washington State has over the Beavers is the ability to score points quickly and in bunches. Coach Robinson's team is similar to the style of the Cougs last season when they were playing Bennett ball. If the game is played at a steady, deliberate pace it will favor Oregon State. WSU has consistently played at a quick pace, always looking for an outlet pass to push the ball in transition.
Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00pm PST Saturday evening in Pullman, Wash. on the hardwood of Friel Court. The game will be televised on FSN Northwest and can be heard on the Cougar Radio Network featuring the play-by-play of Bud Nameck.
Originally published in Lew Wright's WSU Sports column on Examiner.com