The first month of the college basketball season has not gone as expected for either WSU’s women’s or men’s teams.
The women came in with higher expectations but fell flat in their first few games, while the men captured the Wooden Legacy tournament after being picked to finish last in the Pac-12. However, after a full month of basketball both squads have come back to earth and fans should be able to form reasonable expectations going forward.
After knocking off St. Josephs, St. Mary’s, and San Diego State to win the Wooden Legacy, there was legitimate excitement about the men’s basketball team. Joe Lunardi even had the Cougs among the first four out in a round of bracketology. They have not looked the same since.
The Cougar men are now riding a three game losing streak after falling to UC Davis, Idaho and UTEP. The best team among that group, Idaho, is ranked 149th by kenpom.com. After a torrid start, Malachi Flynn has regressed and the offense hasn’t been the same. The Cougs scored 93 in the win over SDSU, but haven’t broken 70 points since.
The women on the other hand came into 2017 ripe off a deep run into the WNIT. Returning practically the whole roster and finally healthy, they looked ready to compete in the Pac-12. Instead, the women’s team came out slow and lost four of its first five games.
Since the fourth loss, an 82-45 beat down from the hands of ranked South Florida, the Cougs appear to have gotten their feet back under them. They won four straight before falling 64-56 to Gonzaga last week. At 5-5, their path to the NCAA tournament will be a steep climb through conference play.
After opposite starts, the men’s and women’s basketball teams have converged to a similar situation a month into the season. The extremes of November have passed and both are looking more like how we expected them to. Only time will tell how the next few months will play out.
The men next play IUPUI Saturday, in Beasley Coliseum at 3 p.m. The women will tip off against Boise State on the road Monday, December 18 at 6 p.m.
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