This afternoon, your Washington State Cougars and their SEVENTEEN game losing streak head out to Vegas and (likely) conclude one of the worst seasons in WSU history in the Pac-12 Tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes. The game will tip off at the MGM Grand Arena at 2:30 PM PDT or whenever the first game finishes.
You can catch this game on the Pac-12 Network and can be streamed live on the Pac-12 Now App and Pac-12.com if you're itching to see this group one last time. You can also listen to the WSU radio broadcast on tunein.com.
If you'll recall, the Buffaloes have carved two notches into this crazy losing streak. The good news is both were pretty close! The Buffs took game one in January after Ike Iroegbu airballed a three to tie the game and then took game two in double overtime in Boulder when Ernie Kent didn't instruct his team to foul when up three with seconds left on the clock. For the seven of you still following this team, you're probably still rightfully upset about this.
Is an upset today for WSU possible? Maybe? Colorado has let WSU play them close both times this season and there's that trope about it being tough to beat the same team three times in a season, but the Buffaloes have been playing pretty well for the last couple weeks after getting blown out at UCLA. They took down #9 Arizona at home and lost at #13 Utah by a single basket last week. Colorado is fighting for their tournament lives which is probably a bigger deal than the Cougs who are fighting to justify someone paying for their WiFi in the hotel.
Despite the two close outcomes earlier this year, Colorado does enough things well that they should be able to handle WSU today pretty easily. As Nusser pointed out yesterday, the Buffs offset their lack of offensive efficiency because they are the best offensive rebounding team in the Pac-12, pulling down 34% of their misses, and 1st in defensive rebounding as well, only allowing 24% of opponents' shots to be rebounded. Colorado can shoot from the outside pretty well also, making 38% of their threes. If you're looking for a bright spot, the Buffs actually turn the ball over more than the Cougs! Colorado has 19.2% of their possessions ending in a TO, while WSU only has a mere 19.0%. Take that, Tad Boyle!
The Buffaloes are led by Senior Josh Scott who caused the aforementioned Iroegbu airball. Scott averages 16 points and 9 rebounds per game. George King and Josh Fortune also average in double-figures, at 13 and 10 points per game respectively. The team goes where Scott goes, as Colorado's loss to Utah largely pointed to a day where Scott went 3-13 from the field, when he's normally a 55% shooter from the field. King went 1-7 in that game as well. Will the Cougs be able to reproduce that lack of production? Stop laughing, I'm serious.
The RPI likes Colorado, ranking them 30th in the country but KenPom's laptop has them at 60. Pomeroy predicts this game to be an 75-67 game favoring the other guys with 81% confidence. Vegas currently favors the Buffs by 9 points and 74% of the money is still coming in on Colorado. The current over/under is 140.5 points. Since the game is in Vegas, you will likely read somewhere that the Cougs' chances are essentially the same as someone hitting snake eyes at the craps table, but the real odds are probably around hitting snake eyes and then finding a hundred dollar bill under the table after you spill your drink. Today's winner plays the Arizona Wildcats tomorrow.
This page will also serve as your game thread for this afternoon so feel free to pour one out for this season and root for the Cougs one last time with the rest of us here.