Some thoughts on the Cougs after watching the Cal game last night. I wanted to post this in the comments on Grady’s post game, but it just got too long. BTW, I love the conversation generated here and that is the main reason why I am on this site daily/hourly. I feel like this team has lost a little focus lately and that is not good enough to win on the road. Who to blame? It seems to be a combination of factors, coaching has to play a part. I think mentally they are still recovering from the road trip and then right back the Pac-10 grind. Also, there is no natural vocal senior leader on this team. Klay and Abe are great from an effort/example leadership standpoint but I feel that if this team had true senior leadership they would be more likely to win tough close games on the road.
I also feel that this team is missing an extra big guy. Put in another Casto type player, or Ivory Clark, Cowgill, then this team is a lot better. With two post defenders the double teams don't have to come as often. Any team with two players who can score from the low post is going to give them problems. Think: Kansas St. Baylor, Butler, UCLA, USC, and Cal, all had 2 big guys that could score 1 on 1 in the post. WSU cannot defend against that at this point.
I think they are few tweaks away on D from being good again. When they were playing well early in the season they weren't allowing guards to get into the key. Middle penetration was given up too often by Aden and Moore last night. Combine that with having to double; Cal got a lot of open mid range shots against the man D. I think with the length of the guards they need to be playing more of a pack style forcing teams to shoot outside contested shots.
The zone has been better for forcing turnovers, but they are not good enough rebounding team to play it all the time. I think the coaches can do a few things to mask some of the inherent weakness of the team, but they cannot mask lack of senior leadership/experience. I am thinking that right now they are going to take few lumps but will be able to recover and finish out the Pac 10 on a higher note, I don’t think we are looking at a late season collapse like last year.