Washington State has gotten off to a hot start this season jumping out of the gate to a perfect 5-0 record this season. However, four of those five victories were against opponents through today only have no more than two wins. Overall, the teams combine for a 12-20 record.
But that's all about to change.
Tomorrow, Dec. 3, the Cougars will host the Kansas State Wildcats who are ranked No. 5 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. The Wildcats come in with a record of 6-1 having lost only to No. 1 Duke back on Nov. 23.
The Cougars most recently are coming off their most dominant offensive performance when they hosted Sacramento State this past Tuesday and won easily 84-36 thanks in large part to coring the first 27 points in the game before Sacramento State's Antoine Proctor scored at the 10:01 mark in the first half to put the Hornets on the scoreboard.
For Washington State, the game featured an even balance of scoring as seven players scored at least seven points with junior Klay Thompson leading the way with 16.
Thompson, who was named last week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, leads the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 22 points a game and also leads the conference in assists per game with five a contest.
The scoring comes as no surprise as he's on par with last season, but the assists are up due to sophomore Reggie Moore's wrist injury who has yet to play during the regular season. He did play in an exhibition game but hurt his wrist off the court.
However, Moore's cast was taken off on Monday and after being reevaluated, it was determined that he could play with a splint on his wrist and is listed as probable for Friday's game.
Also missing the past two games because of a sprained ankle has been junior forward DeAngelo Casto. Casto led the conference in blocked shots last season and in three games has recorded eight blocks while averaging nine points and five rebounds, however, since he's not played in 75 percent of his team's games, he's not listed in any of the statistical categories for the conference leaders.
He has also been the only resemblance of any interior defense for the Cougars. He will slowly work his way back into practice this week and is currently listed as day-to-day
The injuries have allowed other players to get more playing time.
One player who has taken great strides from last season is sophomore forward Brock Motum. Motum last year only averaged six minutes a game but early on this season has seen that number triple. He's already scored double figures in three of the first five games and is shooting a remarkable 85 percent (22 of 26) from the field including four of five from beyond the three point line.
Junior transfer Faisal Aden, is ranked No. 2 in the conference in scoring, averaging almost 21 points while shooting 41 percent from downtown.
Kansas State is coming in off an 85-61 victory over Emporia State on Nov. 29. The Wildcats are led by preseason All-American senior Jacob Pullen who's averaging a team high 16 points a game.
The Wildcats come in similar to the Cougars in size with only two players listed over 6'9", but having seen both teams play, I it's easily visible to see that Kansas State is the more physical team.
Comparing average of free throws attempted by both teams, Kansas State is averaging 23 per game while Washington State averages under 18 per game. However Kansas State is not making them count as collectively they're only shooting 52 percent from the line compared to 65 percent for Washington State.
Both teams like to play fast and I expect the winner of the this game will have to reach at least 90 on the scoreboard. Last year in Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcats won, 86-69.
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