Good morning. Hopefully this first weekend without football is treating you well. Technically, we didn't have football two weekends ago (since the Pro Bowl doesn’t count), but this is the first weekend when it hits me that we’re a long way from seeing football again. Basketball has taken center stage across the land.
In WSU Basketball’s little corner of the universe, this Sunday means a date in Boulder. Ernie Kent and his Cougars face the Colorado Buffaloes (on an actual TV station!!!), looking to end a couple of streaks that tell you all you need to know about what has become of the program.
As Jacob Thorpe pointed out in his preview, WSU hasn’t swept a conference opponent since Ernie Kent took over. That got me to wondering how long it’s been since WSU swept a conference opponent. You have to go all the way back to 2011-12, aka the run for the Zebra pens, when WSU swept both Oregon State and USC. The Cougars actually played OSU four times that season.
After winning the first two, WSU lost to the Beavers in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. However, both the Cougs and Beavs received a much-coveted invite to the CBI and faced off in the semifinals. In what would come to be known as little more than a prelude to Bikini Barbershop, WSU went to Corvallis and won 72-55.
One other ignominious streak WSU would like to bury is their continued futility in the mountains. Since the advent of the Pac-12, WSU is 0-9 at Utah and Colorado. There have been a couple close calls, such as the double overtime game in Boulder last year and the nail-biter in Utah a few days ago, but WSU just can’t seem to get over the hump.
The Cougars face a far different Colorado team than the one they faced just a few weeks ago. Colorado came into Pullman with an 0-6 conference record, which included a loss to super-terrible Washington. After leaving Pullman with their seventh straight Pac-12 loss, the Buffaloes have seemingly righted the ship, winning four of five games, including a nine point victory over Oregon.
So the Cougars face a tough test Sunday, especially given the fact that Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon will return from their suspensions, giving Colorado back 22 points-per-game. Hopefully WSU finally gets out with a win. Sunday night’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU, with a start time of 5:30 Pacific. Colorado is a 12.5-point favorite. Look for a much better preview later today from someone who actually knows basketball.
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The Cougars would certainly like to purge the foul taste of recent nonconference disasters out of their mouths.
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Bracy is a target of Cal coaches past (Jeff Tedford) and present (Justin Wilcox) but, with his speed and versatility, would fit ideally with WSU’s spread system. Or he could play in the defensive backfield.
Best beer I had this week: There were several worthy entrants, but the winner emerged late Saturday night, in the form of a six ounce pour. The inadequate feeling that came with walking around the bar with that tiny glass was quickly overcome by the contents within. Quite simply, J. Wakefield Brewing's Harbinger Imperial Sweet Stout made me want to hop over the bar and go Barney Gumble on the tap. It was that good.
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