The second round of the 2012 CBI kicks off on Monday, March 19th. Wyoming has headed to Pullman, WA to face the Washington State Cougars. Despite living in the State of Washington I didn't watch a single minute of Cougar basketball this year and really could tell you nothing about the team expect the name of their head coach "Ken Bone".
That is why I enlisted the help of Kyle Rancourt from the SB Nation Wazzu site CougCenter. Kyle Rancourt was kind enough to answer several of my questions about Cougar hoops. He mainly covers recruiting for CougCenter but he certainly knows a thing or two about what is happening on the court.
His answers to my questions are below. I've also tossed in a few handy graphs to help give you some further insight to this match-up. The Cougars started off as -3 favorites but on some sites that has dropped to -2.5 or even -2. The Mountain West is 11-4 versus the PAC 12 this season including the recent victory by Colorado over UNLV.
Well, the CBI isn't exactly a prestigious postseason tournament. The CBI needs all the exposure it can get, and they love big conference schools. Oregon and Oregon State have both won the CBI in the past few years, so there's a connection with the Pac12.
As for our biggest win, it was probably against Cal. We played Stanford on a Thursday, somehow beat them, and then played Cal that Saturday, and beat them. The Stanford win could have been brushed off as a fluke, but then the Cougs beat Cal a few days later. It seemed like they had stuff figured out at that point.
2. Were the Cougars expected to perform better or worse then their record this year?
The Cougs were in a rebuilding year. I don't think anyone expected them to go to the tournament -- and if they did, they're putting unrealistic expectations on this team and coach Ken Bone. Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto both bolted for the professional leagues (Thompson to the Warriors of the NBA, Casto to a professional team in Turkey) and any time you lose your two best players, the next year won't be as successful. To be honest, Klay was one of the best players we've ever had, and if he stayed, there's no doubt in my mind he'd have finished his career at WSU as the number one player ever. With a bullet.
Part B - What the hell happened to PAC 12 Hoops this year?
I have no idea what happened to the Pac 12. It was horrible to watch, though. Every single team had a down year. It's like lightening in a bottle or something.
3. Brock Motum looks to be a pretty good player stat wise. Tell us more about the Aussie.
Brock is an interesting case. He was the recipient of the Pac 12's Most Improved Player, and as my colleague Jeff Nusser pointed out, he was deserving of Player of the Year honors, as well. Those went to a player on one of the best teams, naturally, but Brock deserved at least some of the vote. His first two years, however, were a different story. Brock was allergic to rebounding, and aside from a few games here and there, didn't really assert himself much. He was happy to let Klay and Aden take all the shots and get his 5 to 10 points a night. He now realizes that he's the focal point of the offense and he needs to be more aggressive.
4. What should we expect to see from Washington State when it comes to defense?
A lot of different looks. They'll run a 2-3 zone for a little while, then switch to man. Mainly, we don't really play defense. (Kidding. Sort of...)
5. What does Ken Bone think about Pirates?
At first, we all loved Pirates. Then some overzealous fans, like some pop radio stations, played it into the ground. I'm fine with the "Mike Leach likes Pirates" meme, but I just don't want it to be the only thing associated with WSU football. The funniest thing is Leach isn't even obsessed with Pirates. He just gave a speech that centered on them, and Michael Lewis (the guy who wrote Moneyball and The Blind Side) wrote about it in an article in the New York Times. People heard that and ran with it. Now they think Mike Leach is obsessed with Pirates. But hey, whatever gets WSU more national attention.
Ken Bone hates Pirates, though. Because Ken Bone hates fun. We should fire Ken Bone because he doesn't like Pirates or fun or anything.
5. Wyoming leads the series with Wazzu 4-1. Surprised by that figure?
The only Wyoming basketball teams I remember are the ones with Jay Straight running the point, and that's because I watched Chicago Preps and he was featured on it. That Wyoming team also beat Gonzaga in the tournament, and I hate Gonzaga. So high five for that.
I'm surprised Wyoming leads the all time series because I didn't realize we ever played each other. I'm not surprised that we lost because historically, we're just awful.
It was big. People didn't like Aden because he was a player who just jacked up a lot of shots regardless of situation, but he could still score. He was valuable. I think if we had Aden, we might have won another game or two and perhaps have been considered for the NIT.
7. What role will Trent Sewell play in this game?
You're dead to me.
8. Has the sponsorship of the CBI by Zebra Pen caused you to change your pen buying habits?
On a scale of no Zebra Pens to ALL THE ZEBRA PENS I'm somewhere around A Fistful of Zebra Pens.
9. No TV for this game. Does WSU offer any type of streaming service?
WSU has streamed games in the past when you purchase an All Access Pass for $9.99. They might do that, I'm not sure. Our community is great at finding online streams for free through totally legit and not at all sketchy methods. So I'd like to formally invite you to partake in our Open Game Thread this Monday evening. You'll come to understand how our memes work, and that Buffalo Wild Wings is pretty much the greatest place in the history of ever.