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Cougar basketball tips off a new season

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They'll start the regular season Friday against Montana St.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State men's basketball team will officially begin their season Friday, against Montana State. The Cougars are looking to improve off a disappointing 2015-16 season, and an exhibition game against Carroll College that left plenty to be desired.

WSU won last week's tuneup game 78-70, but trailed by 13 early in the second half before mounting a comeback. Montana State is coming off of a 14-16 season, but brings back its top scorer, in sophomore guard Taylor Hall. During his freshman season Hall was very impressive shooting the ball. He finished the season averaging 18.6 points per game while making 43% of his attempts from behind the arc.

Freshman guard Malachi Flynn started and played 33 minutes in the exhibition game, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against Montana State's fellow freshman Harald Frey. Interestingly enough, it easily could be Flynn playing for the Bobcats, as reported by Parker Gabriel of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Flynn took an official visit to MSU last year, but Frey committed first, so the Bobcats ended up with the Norwegian instead.

One thing to watch in this matchup is how quickly the Cougs get back in transition. Ernie Kent has decided to basically abandon offensive rebounds this season, in an effort to improve his team's defense. Instead of waiting around the basket in hopes of a second chance, all five players are going to get back on defense after a shot goes up. Against Carroll, WSU didn't allow a single fast break point. We'll get a better look at this strategy Friday.

The Cougs and Bobcats will tip off from Beasley Coliseum at 4 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. For more reading on the basketball team, Jeff should have a story up later today for your enjoyment.

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Football:

Cal’s new quarterback Davis Webb is just as prolific as his predecessor | The Spokesman-Review
After three years of seeing Jared Goff, Washington State fans will have to learn a new man behind center when California’s offense takes the field on Saturday.

The pick: Why Washington State will beat California | The Spokesman-Review
The two teams playing in Martin Stadium on Saturday will boast the best offenses in the Pac-12. But only one has any semblance of a defense.

Pac-12 football picks of the week (Washington and Stanford roll) plus QB injury data
Not convinced of the Cougars’ efficiency in major look-ahead situation with Colorado and Washington up next.

3. Washington State (7-2, 6-0 Pac-12; Previous rank: 4) | | tucson.com
Last week: Defeated Arizona 69-7

Morrow's game show luck pays off for Cougs | KREM.com
Since the 2015 Oregon game, Morrow is 14-4 in the coin toss (7-1 as person who selects heads or tails). Washington State is also 14-4 with him as captain.

From Samoa to Pullman, from safety to nickel, WSU’s Shalom Luani showing he can do it all | The Seattle Times

Washington State's Shalom Luani went unrecruited out of high school, but made his own luck and followed his dreams all the way to Martin Stadium and beyond

Men's Basketball:

Bobcats men open season at Washington State | Bobcats Men's Basketball | bozemandailychronicle.com
Montana State opens its third regular season under Brian Fish at 5 p.m. Friday at Washington State, which finished 1-17 in the Pac-12 last year.

Women's Basketball:

Celena Molina joins sister at Washington State | Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Konawaena’s Celena Molina took advantage of the early signing period on Wednesday to put ink to paper for a full ride basketball scholarship to Washington State University.

Baseball:

Draft Spotlight: John Olerud | BaseballAmerica.com
John Olerud did a lot of amazing things on the baseball diamond as a sophomore in 1988 at Washington State.