Cougs vs. Cowboys should be interesting

SAY THIS ABOUT Washington State's entrance into the College Basketball Invitational: It's mid-March and the Cougs are still playing ball. Whether they make the most of their quarterfinals game Monday at 7 p.m. against Wyoming remains to be seen, but Bill Moos is certainly doing his part to both get the seats filled and the folks at home tuned in.

While there's no TV for the game, WSU will be streaming the game live over the internet via its All-Access fee service at

As for fans in the stands, students with a sports pass get in for free, while non-sport-pass-holding students will be charged $5. The bargain doesn't end there. General admission tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.

The Cougars are 16-16 this season after winning at San Francisco, 89-75, in their CBI opener while the Cowboys come in at 21-11 after downing North Dakota State 78-75 in their CBI debut last week.

It is uncertain who Coug-Cowboy winner will play -- after the quarterfinals, the remaining teams will be re-bracketed for semifinal round action on Wednesday. The semifinal winners will then advance to the best-of-three Championship Series, which begins on Monday, March 26.

WSU is 10-3 in home games played at Beasley Coliseum this season and 5-0 in non-conference home games. The Cowboys are 5-8 on the road this season.

THE POKES HAIL FROM the Mountain West Conference, where they finished sixth (out of eight) with a 6-8 record in league games. But two of their wins were over teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths, UNLV and Colorado State.

In addition, one of the Cowboys' non-conference wins was over Pac-12 Tournament champion Colorado, 65-54, in Boulder in December. The Cougars lost on the road to the Buffs a month later, 71-60.

Wyoming is coached by Larry Shyatt, who is in the second season of his second stint as the Cowboys' head man. He was also their head coach in 1997-98, before moving on to Clemson for five seasons. Before returning to Laramie, he served for seven seasons at Florida as assistant head coach to Billy Donovan.

Defense has been the Cowboys' calling card this season. They ranked sixth nationally in scoring D in the regular season, surrendering an average of just 56.1 points per game. On offense, the Pokes take good care of the ball (40th in the nation in turnovers and 34th in turnover margin), and shoot well from downtown (30.4 percent/36th in the nation) and from the charity stripe (74 percent/34th nationally).

COWBOYS TO LOOK FOR: Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington has had double-doubles in four of the last five contests. He was a second-team all-league pick, averaging 12.9 points and 7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Francisco Cruz and redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez are Wyoming's outside threats at 12.3 and 12.1 ppg, respectively. Cruz ranks third in the MW at 46.2 percent from the floor, while Martinez leads the league and ranks 54th in the nation at 2.6 threes per game.

Senior guard JayDee Luster leads the Pokes on both ends of the floor. He was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and ranks 29th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio at 2.4. Senior center Adam Waddell also excels on the defensive end, drawing 18 charges during MW play, to go with 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds.

  • The Cougars and the Cowboys have met five times in history and Wyoming holds a 4-1 advantage. The first three meetings were in the 1940s. The two teams last played in 2004 and 2005 (Cougs winning 63-47).

  • WSU is 16-9 all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference and 0-1 this season, losing to league co-champion New Mexico 72-62 in the 76 Classic.

  • This marks the 12th postseason appearance for Washington State and its first College Basketball Invitational (CBI) appearance. It's WSU's fifth postseason appearance in the last six years. The Cougars are 14-11 all-time in postseason play.

    NOTABLE: Brock Motum is averaging 18.3 points per game this season, the most among Pac-12 players. He's also averaging 6.5 rebounds per game. Reggie Moore leads the league and ranks 32nd in the country with 5.5 assists per game.

  • Cougfan Top Stories