WSU Vs. UCLA: Open Game Thread, Streaming Info


UCLA Bruins
@ Washington St. Cougars

Saturday, Feb 4, 2012, 2:00 PM PST
Friel Court

WSU Vs. UCLA: A First Look At The Bruins

Complete Coverage >


This was a game I wasn't feeling very optimistic about -- and, truth be told, I'm still not -- but I'm feeling less pessimistic today after this little bit of news crossed the wire:

UCLA will try to win its first game against a Division I opponent outside of Southern California on Saturday but will do so without 6-foot-10 forward Travis Wear. Wear suffered a high ankle sprain in the Bruins' 71-69 loss to Washington on Thursday and is unlikely to play against Washington State.

Obviously, UCLA's massive front line was going to be a major sticking point, but now that the Bruins are a little less massive, perhaps there's a crack that WSU can exploit. Travis is the more offensive minded of the brothers (119 offensive rating on 22 percent of possessions used, 13 percent offensive rebounding), so this should theoretically help the Cougars defend the Bruins.

Ben Howland has only been using three big men with the Wears starting and Joshua Smith coming off the bench. This injury completely fouls with Howland's rotation. Does he start Smith and run the risk of the big man getting in foul trouble immediately -- the very reason he became a reserve in the first place? Or does he insert little-used -- and offensively inept -- Anthony Stover as a place holder?

My guess is Howland goes with the latter, and when he eventually brings Smith off the bench, he'll try to ride the out-of-shape center as far as he'll take him. Neither Stover, nor Brendan Lane, are attractive options, as they've played just 68 combined minutes in the last seven games.

This, however, is the question: How far can Howland actually ride Smith?

Looking at this objectively, this injury really does have the potential to be a game changer for WSU. There's a non-zero chance Smith might have shot his wad, so to speak, in his season-high 26 minutes against Washington. They were good minutes (24 points in 13 shots), but they also were hard minutes for a guy who's still very out of shape. If WSU can somehow get him in foul trouble -- honestly, not that tough to do -- Howland is going to have to go deep into his bench for guys that, frankly, aren't very good. Smith is one of the best offensive rebounders in the country, and Travis Wear isn't far behind. Given WSU's defensive rebounding issues, getting Smith off the floor should be paramount for WSU.

Of course, it won't matter a lick if WSU gives up 15 threes to Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson, Norman Powell and Tyler Lamb.

I guess what I'm saying is that I could see this being close, with even the (gasp!) possibility of a WSU win. But I also could see this being another complete blowout. I suppose that could be construed as wishy washy, but until Travis Wear's injury, I didn't even see the first as much of an option. So ... progress!

You can find a radio stream of the game at mynorthwest.com, and if there's a video feed, the link will reside somewhere in the comments.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join CougCenter

You must be a member of CougCenter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CougCenter. You should read them.

Join CougCenter

You must be a member of CougCenter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CougCenter. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker