Brian's note: I wrote this even though it's under Jeff's name.
Championship time! The Cougs get the Butler Bulldogs in the finals of the Diamond Head Classic after picking up an all-important signature win over Baylor on Thursday. To me, this is just bonus basketball. I'm of the opinion WSU has made a statement already; a loss here won't kill anything. It's been, thus far, a tremendous trip to the islands.
That said, it would be a perfect exclamation point on the non-conference schedule, and a reward for a job well-done, if the Cougs could bring home the title.
To find out what the Cougs are up against, check out Craig's preview of Butler. In short, the Bulldogs force contested jumpers, don't turn teams over much, but do defend the three well. On offense, it's the Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard show. Howard should provide a nice test for the DeAngelo Casto/Brock Motum combination while Mack gets Marcus Capers glued to his hip if the Cougs go man-to-man.
KenPom predicts a 67-65 WSU win with 61 percent confidence. Time to grab a Christmas win and head into the Pac-10 schedule with all the momentum in the world.
Tip-off is half an hour after the third-place game ends, perhaps as early as 6:30.