Arizona (14-3, 2-2) has won 48 straight at home, tops in the nation. Halfway through the road trip to the desert, Washington State (9-7, 1-3) offered few inklings against an ASU team in search of its first Pac-12 win to believe the Cougs are ready to snap 'Zona's streak.
If the Cougs are going to pull off the upset of the Pac-12 season, they need to do two things above all else.
Washington State looked sublime moving the ball around in its win over No. 25 UCLA last week. The Cougs haven’t come close to matching that level of crispness in generating open looks in two losses since.
And the Cougars also need to move better on defense. So many time this season Washington State has not been able to get through screens, leading to wide open looks for the opponent.
It goes without saying Washington State can’t afford a stretch where they let down their guard against UA.
On Thursday, WSU went on an eight minute, 24 second stretch in which it went 0 for 10 from the field, committed 7 fouls and turned the ball over 4 times. And a 13-10 WSU lead devolved into a 27-13 deficit WSU never recovered from. A similar crimson malaise against Arizona, at any point in the game, would prove decisive.
Arizona’s last time out, they led UW by only three points at halftime. The Wildcats then ran the Huskies out of the gym in the second half, outscoring UW 55-26 over the final 20 minutes on the way to a 99-67 laugher.
How much did Washington State learn from the ASU loss?
Kent and the Cougs are about to find out.
Saturday’s tip is set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.