Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
The Cougs take on the No. 12 Wildcats in Tucson today at noon PT as decided underdogs. The game is being broadcast on Fox Sports Net. Check your provider for your local regional sports network affiliate.
First place meets last place as WSU is in the midst of a major slide, having lost seven in a row and 10 of 12 since starting conference play, while Arizona sits in a tie for first place with Oregon at 10-4 and can keep pace with a win today.
The Cougars enter their fourth consecutive game without perhaps their most important player, Mike Ladd, and while they put up a good fight last weekend in Pullman against the Oregon schools, his absence is going to make it very difficult for WSU to compete in this one.
One part of Ladd's game that goes overlooked by many is his skill as a reobunder - you can make a strong case he's second best on the team at that - and WSU has taken a major hit on both ends of the floor in that category over the past three games. Arizona probably is the best all-around rebounding team in the conference. So there's that.
Chances are good that WSU is going to need something akin to a miracle to win this game. The Cougars' deficiencies on the glass mean that even if they shoot it well and defend well, they're still going to have a tough time being efficient on both ends.
Ken Pomeroy's laptop says the Cougars should win this game less than 10 percent of the time. Probably the best they can hope for is getting a lead in some wacky way and then figuring out some way to hold on.