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2011 NIT: WSU Vs. Long Beach State Open Game Thread

I gave you a close-up look at Long Beach State in my preview on Sunday (it is linked just above this).  So what does Washington State need to do to win this game and bring Oklahoma State to Pullman for the second round?

On defense, the guy to stop is Casper Ware.  He scores from the inside and the outside.  He is team's leading distributor along with being the most voluminous shooter.  Lucky for the Cougs, he is only 5-10.  WSU has some taller guards in Marcus Capers and Klay Thompson who may be able to bother Ware and keep him from his usual effectiveness.

On offense, Thompson, DeAngelo Casto, and Reggie Moore would do well to draw some fouls.  Why? Because Long Beach does not like to use their bench and the guys who are sitting on it are pretty terrible.  The problem is, Long Beach doesn't foul a whole lot, as they are 28th in the country in free throw rate allowed.

So they don't want to foul you? Use it against them.  Attack the basket for easy buckets (although the Cougs will need to make layups at higher than their current 1 out every 1,400 rate). 

This game should be fast-paced.  Kenpom predicts 71 possessions and the Cougs to win this one 77-67 with 83% confidence.

The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and  Go Cougs!