As painful as this is, it needs to be done. None of us want to relive the game or dissect what happened, but I'm going to give it a shot. As you all know by now, WSU got run in Eugene as the Oregon Ducks dropped the Cougs by a 69-43 margin. Nobody could've predicted this, just as they couldn't have predicted Washington losing to Oregon State or Cal nearly losing to Arizona State.
When an event can't be explained, many begin to reach. Yes, the Cougs shot poorly and the Ducks were lights out, but there had to be a reason, right? A team that shoots 25 percentage points better, by eFG, on average can't just suddenly hit at a 29 percent clip all of a sudden. It's human nature to assess blame and attempt to nail-down an answer.
Ken Bone was as guilty as anyone after the game and placed the blame squarely on his shoulders. I didn't get the team ready, he said, we came out flat and weren't prepared to go. It's typical for a coach to take the blame, especially when such an uncharacteristic performance unfolds.
Compounding matters was DeAngelo Casto's inability to have any kind of impact in the low post. Casto struggled with Joevan Catron and didn't look himself on the offensive end, leaving the Cougs with little to no presence in the paint. The reason for this one, however is simple: Casto was sick and unable to eat or keep food down throughout the day. I can accept that explanation and it's tangible.
Instead of questioning the team's heart, mentality and calling the team out, it would be more wise to just accept that these things happen and move on. No amount of heart, dedication or determination was going to make those shots fall or turn things around as the game spiraled out of control. Driving to the bucket wasn't working, open jumpers weren't falling and Oregon was hitting tough shots all night.
Did anything you saw last night make you think the season is over and the Cougs are finished? If so, why? This is the same team that strung together an outstanding performance on Sunday to drop the Washington Huskies at home. Four days and a fluky game shouldn't cause so many to do a 180 on the team's chances.
Sometimes crap happens and there's no explanation. It's part of the game and there's no use scrounging for answers. In all likelihood it was some combination of all of the things listed above with a healthy dose of bad luck mixed in.
As many have said before me, just wait until Saturday to see what happens and how they respond. If it's a repeat performance of Thursday, we're in trouble. If the Cougs play like they should, all is well again.