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WSU basketball hosts UC Davis

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The Cougars return home after a successful holiday tournament.

Wooden Legacy Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Washington State Cougars have returned home to put their perfect 6-0 record on the line today against the UC Davis Aggies.

Tip off will be at noon from Beasley Coliseum. You can watch the game on TV on Pac-12 Network or streaming online via Pac-12.com.

There are a lot of good feelings surrounding WSU — and rightfully so — but the Aggies aren’t a pushover, and if the Cougars show up thinking they’ve arrived, they could be in for a rude surprise that would erase a lot of the good feelings built up by winning the Wooden Legacy tournament last weekend.

The Aggies aren’t particularly potent on offense, currently ranking 274th in adjusted offensive efficiency, but they play hard-nosed man-to-man defense that will make the Cougars work for their shots. They’re one of the top teams in the country at stealing the ball, and opponents have shot poorly from three against them. However, they’re a bit vulnerable to teams that purpose to get to the rim, as their interior defense is so-so and they put their opponents on the line fairly regularly.

To be honest, their defensive profile looks a lot like Saint Mary’s, and the Cougs handled that well. Here’s to hoping they’ll do the same to a less good version of that defense today.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Cougs defend UC Davis; I’d expect to see a return of zone defense — particularly the 1-3-1 or even a 2-3 — for stretches, given a few factors:

  • The Aggies generally are reluctant to shoot threes — they’re 326th nationally in proportion of threes to twos;
  • Their percentage of baskets that come with an assist is ranked 287th;
  • They have a high ratio of free throw attempts to overall field goal attempts, meaning they’re aggressive to the basket;
  • They turn the ball over a lot — about 1-in-5 possessions.

All of that screams zone defense from the Cougs.

Kenpom.com predicts this to be a Coug victory about seven out of 10 times by an average margin of 71-65.