Capsule Preview: Washington State vs. Oregon

WASHINGTON STATE HAS been installed as three point favorites in Thursday night's Pac-10 tourney game against Oregon but as USC proved in last year's tourney against the Cougs, beating any team three times in one season presents unique challenges. Daven Harmeling's ankle has improved, plus it's hi-def broadcast time again.

The records: No. 21 Washington State (23-7, 11-7) vs. Oregon (18-12, 9-9).

Last time: WSU won 62-53 in Eugene on Feb. 16.

At stake: With a Pac-10 tourney win, the Cougs would solidify or possibly improve their seeding in the Big Dance and perhaps also their chances to play the opening round game closer to home (Anaheim or Denver). Oregon may have done enough with a three game winning streak to secure an NCAA Tourney invite but if they want to be sure, they need to win this game.

Injury update: Tony Bennett said this week that Daven Harmeling (ankle) is close to being back to full strength. "He looked better (Monday) morning. Whether I'd say he's 100 percent? No, but he's certainly close to it," said Bennett. Harmeling before the injury had been in something of a shooting slump. His best performances this year came directly after he returned from an injury.

Noteworthy: The Ducks' strength is their outside shooting, they hit on 40 percent of their three-point attempts. Maarty Leunen, a 6-9 senior forward, has connected on 53 percent of his treys and has been a thorn in Wazzu's side. The Cougs effectively schemed against the Ducks in both meetings this year but it is expected UO will have something new to show the Cougs this time around, providing one more area of intrigue to the matchup.

The Series: Oregon leads 154-118 and are 9-4 at neutral sites. WSU has won the last two meetings between the two schools, the first of which snapped a 13-game losing streak to Oregon.

TV: FSN, 6 pm PT.

High Definition broadcast?: Yes, FSN-HD (varies, 720p or 1080i).
Radio: The Cougar Sports Radio Network, Click here for listings.

The line: WSU by 3.

CF.C Prediction: WSU 63, Oregon 58


NOTABLE NOTES:
  • The message boards will be down starting at 11 pm tonight for maintenance and upgrades on Scout.com. The outage is expected to last until around 1 or 2 a.m.

  • Kyle Weaver has been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Men's All-District IX Team. It marks the the first USBWA honor for Weaver, who was previously selected National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) all-district and Pac-10 second team and all-Defensive team.

  • Now through March 14 at noon, Cougar fans can determine whether WSU will be awarded $10,000 by voting for the Cougars as the 2008 Pontiac Pac-10 Game Changing Performance of the Year. The school that receives the most votes will be announced March 14 on Fox Sports Net at 8:30 p.m., and awarded $10,000 to their general scholarship fund, compliments of Pontiac. WSU is currently in the lead as of the morning of March 13. To vote: http://www.pac-10.org/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/pontiac-08.html



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