Washington State Basketball

Washington State Cougars Host Northwestern After DeAngelo Casto Suspension

Kip ArneyCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2011

Tonight, the Washington State Cougars will host the Northwestern Wildcats in the NIT quarterfinal for a chance to go to the Final Four in New York City and play at Madison Square Garden.

But the bigger story is the Tuesday suspension of starting forward DeAngelo Casto.

According to ESPN, Casto had his apartment searched by Pullman police around 1 AM on Tuesday morning, where they found marijuana just hours after the Cougars' 74-64 victory against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Casto has become the third starter for the Cougars to have been suspended for the same charge, as Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson were caught earlier during the season. Thompson was suspended just two weeks ago causing him to miss the pivotal final regular season game against UCLA, which the Cougars lost by two points.

Without their leading rebounder, the Cougars will look to sophomore Brock Motum to fill the void inside.

The 6'10" Australian averages just seven points and three rebounds in 18 minutes of play per game, but I've always believed he's deserved more playing time.

Motum is an excellent high-post passer and his jump shot is pure. He leads the Cougars in field-goal percentage shooting over 60 percent on the year.

But he lacks in the physicality department. Despite, being 6'10", he only has three blocks on the year.

But against Northwestern, physicality might not be so relevant, as the Wildcats like to shoot the three-ball. During the regular season, they ranked ninth in three-point field goals made, connecting on 37 percent from downtown.

They also ranked 333rd in the nation in rebounding, averaging just under 30 a game. That caused them to be the worst rebounding team of any school in a major conference.

Both teams seem to mirror each other, being perimeter-oriented, but the fact that the game is being played in Pullman should give the Cougars the edge and the victory.

With the one-and-done format now in play, it becomes a wonder for every Washington State fan if they're watching Klay Thompson's final game in a Cougars uniform.

The same can be said for Casto, but for different reasons.

It has been rumored that Casto might make the jump to play professionally in Europe after this season despite being a junior. Should that be the case, I think the Cougars won't miss a beat with Motum most likely sliding into the starting role.

However, should the Cougars lose tonight, then maybe we saw Casto play his final game and not even know it.

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