Enough leadup. Let's do this for real.
Why it's important: Eastern Washington supremacy! Also, a quality win for someone's tournament resume.
Players to Watch:
Gonzaga - Matt Bouldin. An exceptional perimeter shooter, good passer, and surprisingly good rebounder, Bouldin is a young man who can put up points in a hurry. And with the Cougars' inability to defend the three-point shot at times this season, it's imperative they keep an eye on him.
Washington State - Reggie Moore. Not Klay? For shame! Ok, we all know how important Klay Thompson is. We know he has to score. But what if he comes out cold? What if the Zags throw everything and the kitchen sink at him? Then it's going to be up to Reggie Moore to stay aggressive in the lane, find open shooters, or get to the line and keep our offense afloat. If not, Wazzu runs the risk of being blown out for the second consecutive year.
Zags - Elias Harris. The Cougs don't have a lot of size, but neither do the Zags, and that's where Harris becomes key for GU's frontcourt. Harris is 6'7" and 215 out of Germany, and has already proven he has the talent to log big minutes for a ranked team. He can provide a huge lift to the Bulldogs if he can secure boards and score a few points on Casto.
Cougs - Xavier Thames. Like a Reggie Moore 2.0, Thames can come in off the bench and provide the Cougs with a lift by shooting and passing the ball. And that's good since Moore probably won't play 40 minutes tonight. Gonzaga's one of the few teams that can claim a considerable advantage in guard play over us - X can help alleviate that.
The Zags when if... They shoot the ball well and continue to dominate the defensive glass.
The Cougs when if... They defend the three-point shot and stay away from turnovers. Oh, and they still might need another scintillating performance by Klay Thompson.