What if Cougs were to go full throttle?

WITH THE COUGS' regular season in basketball coming to a close this weekend and the seemingly inevitable ouster of Ken Bone not far after that, thoughts inevitably turn towards next season and what changes may come. Many long for the Cougs to get back to the defensive minded ways that brought success. But might Wazzu go in the completely opposite direction?

Might the path Wazzu chooses with its next coach be to go all offense, rather than all defense?

There are arguments against trying to implement a running, high-adrenaline, full-throttle style out on the Palouse. Chief among them is that WSU would face challenges to consistently recruit the athletes needed to compete in the upper half of the Pac-12.

But there are also reasons to at least consider it.

Scoring has decreased overall in the Pac-12 and in college basketball. And a new system's success relies heavily on how familiar one's conference is with it and how quickly the conference adapts. The Pac-10 wasn't familiar with Dick and Tony Bennett's pack line defense years ago. But Arizona has run a variation of it since Sean Miller arrived. Other have dabbled in it too.

The newness has long since worn off in the Pac-12 and with it, certainly some of the effectiveness for a team looking to implement it from scratch as the Cougs would be next season.

BUT HOW MANY teams are there in the Pac-12 that run all the time regardless of circumstance, score or time left on the shot clock?

Even the Pac-12 teams who get out and run this year also play a whole lot of half-court offense.

WSU could be unique in the Pac-12 and because of that newness, they could put together some 12-2 runs against teams that are, on paper, more talented.

Washington State basketball needs a shot in the arm after this season of woe and rather than methodically build a slow-ball, defensive system out on the Palouse that will likely take a few years before it takes off, Bill Moos might instead make a fast break this offseason, choosing put in motion a team that pushes the ball from the opening tip next season – and pushes it constantly.

In their first game, WSU would probably log more fast breaks than the fans have seen all this season from the Cougs.

With attendance having fallen off a cliff, wouldn't Cougar fans come out to see that?

RECRUITING TO THAT system might not, at least in theory, be quite as difficult as it appears. An argument can be made it's harder to recruit when you're selling unselfishness and team defense and success years down the road… as opposed to ‘Say, how would you like to lead the Pac-12 in scoring and see yourself quite a bit on SportsCenter…'

And let's not forget that Tony Bennett's success at WSU didn't come overnight, there were three seasons at WSU under Dick Bennett that were required to lay the groundwork -- and in none of those three seasons did the Cougs post a winning record.

If you're going to have to take a few years to build this thing anyway, why not build it into something no one else in the conference is doing?

WSU basketball needs a niche in order to be successful. But it might not be found on defense.

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