It's not easy for WSU basketball to wedge its way into fans' consciousness in July, but it managed to do it today with the announcement that the Cougars will take on Hawaii in the return of the Cougar Hardwood Classic at KeyArena in Seattle on December 13.
While Hawaii might not be the sexiest name the program could have landed for this game, if you're on the west side of the state and want a first-hand look at the Cougars under Ernie Kent in a game that should be both competitive and entertaining, this game probably will give you that.
The Rainbow Warriors finished ranked 149th via kenpom.com in 2014, about 35 spots ahead of WSU. But at that part of the rankings, that's actually not much of a difference, so it figures that two teams that return the bulk of their players should be pretty evenly matched.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily make for an interesting game, as the Cougars proved many times over under Ken Bone's snooze-worthy style. That's where this one should actually be fun: You already know Kent's reputation for playing fast, something he figures to deliver on, but you probably don't know that Hawaii's Gib Arnold also routinely fields one of the fastest teams in the country. The Rainbow Warriors' were 74th nationally average offensive possession length last season and 68th in overall adjusted tempo.
Tickets go on sale on September 5.