Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004
Time: Noon MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)
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Washington State at a glance
Coach: Dick Bennett
Location: Pullman, WA
Starters Returning: 4
2002-03 Record: 7-20 (2-16)
Post Season: none
Last Meeting: Arizona won 61-57 in Pullman. The Wildcats lead the series 44-10.
Good Wins: Cal, USC
Bad Loses: Southern Utah,
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona was stunned by Washington 89-84. Washington State beat ASU 83-70.
OVERVIEW: Washington State provides stark contrast to the Huskies. The Cougars will try to slow it down and milk each possession. This will be a great test for the Wildcats, who have trouble against teams who like to slow things down. Saint Louis almost stunned the Cats with this exact same style and Washington State hung close in Pullman.
"With Washington State, it's going to be a matter of where we're going to see a lot of time with zone defense," Lute Olson said. "The key becomes not losing your patience on the offensive end. When you are on defense that long, there is a tendency to want to get it down and get it up quickly. That's the worst thing you can do."
The Cougars don't score a lot. They average just 55.4 ppg and scored just 29 points against Fresno State. WSU has been held to 50 points or less six times.
The Cougars are big, but not very talented. They have fielded line-ups where every starter was over 6-4, but they have just one player over 6-8.
Marcus Moore is one of the best scorers in the Pac-10, but in Bennett's system he averages just a little over 12 points per game. Moore is tall and athletic. Last season he led the Cougars in scoring, rebounding and assists before getting hurt. This season he is struggling from behind the arc (17.8%).
Moore is one of two Cougars to average in double figures scoring.
The Cougars gave Arizona fits last time out. The Cats are in a fragile state after the suspension of Salim Stoudamire and a tough home loss to Washington. The Wildcats will have Stoudamire back, but they must shake off their recent shaky play and focus on putting the Cougars away. BEST PLAYER:Marcus Moore. Moore is big and talented. He's been stifled in the new system, but can do everything well. He was the main reason Arizona had so much trouble in Pullman.
KEY MATCH-UP: Arizona perimeter vs. the Cougar zone. The Cats have to shoot well from the outside, but not rush shots. If the shots fall, this one is a cakewalk. If they struggle from the outside, this one is interesting.
WASHINGTON STATE'S STRENGTHS:The Cougars have good size and their style of play does not jive with what Arizona wants to do.
WASHINGTON STATE'S WEAKNESSES:The Cougars just aren't very talented. Other than Moore, they don't have a single player who could start for the Wildcats.
OUTLOOK: The team that dictates the pace wins. If The Cats score 80 or more, you can bet they leave with the win. If they struggle to get to 60, then Washington State has a great opportunity to break the streak. Arizona needs to play smart, something they have not done lately.