Are Cougs tough enough for No. 5 Wildcats?

IT WILL NOT be dramatic. The game tape will not be dropped into the garbage can as former Washington State men's basketball coach Tony Bennett did before the 2007-08 season to remind his team that, well, the previous year was in the past. But WSU coach Ken Bone said today he is not interested in having his team review last season's 86-69 loss at Kansas State.

"We won't show that at all," said Bone, referring to game tape. "It's like watching a bad movie and I don't want to see it again."

The Cougars (5-0) host the No. 5 Wildcats (6-1) at 8 p.m. Friday (TV: FSN).

It all begins with 6-foot, 200-pound senior guard Jacob Pullen for KSU. He leads the Wildcats in points (16), assists (4.1) and steals (2.4) per game. Pullen also has converted 38.1 percent of his 3-pointers.

"He's a pretty big engine," Bone said. "He's a first- or second-team All-American in the preseason. He can shoot it from the perimeter and obviously is quick and strong."

And physical.

But Bone said that is a team-wide characteristic of his team's opponent.

"We don't have a lot of time to get tough," he said. "We're either tough enough by now or we're not there yet. That's why I'm really anxious for Friday night."

Bone said while WSU has not played a team as aggressive or talented as KSU this season, he feels his team is better prepared than a year ago.

"I think so, but only because we've seen Kansas State up close last year," Bone said. "At least we know what we're getting into."

WHAT HE DOES not know is what his rotation will look like. Junior center DeAngelo Casto sprained his right foot last week and his missed two consecutive games. Bone said Casto had a protective boot removed Tuesday and is hopeful he will be able to practice today on a limited basis. Sophomore point guard Reggie Moore has not played this season because of an injured left wrist. Bone said Moore had a cast removed from the wrist Tuesday and now will wear a protective wrist. He does not anticipate Moore practicing today and classified both players as day-to-day.

Bone said not knowing whether either will be able to play makes "a little difficult" to develop a rotation.

Without Moore, junior-college transfer shooting guard Faisal Aden has emerged as a scoring option to complement wing Klay Thompson. Aden averages 20.8 points per game and is shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Bone said he would be surprised if Aden scored that much with Moore playing, but not without him.

Continued production against higher-level competition will be important as Bone feels the Wildcats are the best team he has seen in his two years on the Palouse.

"That's why I talked about the competitive side," he said. "Last year I didn't feel like we really went in there and competed. For us to take a step forward in our program, we need to compete against the better team."


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