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HCA: Cougar basketball set to renew rivalry with Idaho

It’s one of the oldest basketball rivalries west of the Mississippi, and tonight, Washington State and Idaho will square off once again.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an exciting time to be a Washington State basketball fan (providing you live in a state with legalized gambling).

Last Tuesday, Washington State broke triple digits in a 103-94 win over CSUN. It was a victory so exciting, that Scott Van Pelt featured it on Bad Beats Monday night.

Then, on Saturday, Washington State played a tight game on the road at New Mexico State. They lost 69-63 but — Hey! — The Cougs were 9 point underdogs. With this team, I’m chalking that down in my personal win column.

Next up for the Cougs? How about a rivalry matchup on the Palouse?

Washington State will meet Idaho tonight in Pullman This season will mark the 113th consecutive year that the Cougs and Vandals have met on the hardwood, the sixth-longest continuous rivalry in the country (and the longest outside of the Ivy League). Overall, it’s the 273rd meeting, with Washington State holding the 163-110 edge.

Last season, the meeting marked another low point in Ernie Kent’s tenure in Pullman. After a hot start that saw the team win the Wooden Legacy Tournament, the Cougs hit the road to Moscow and were handed a decisive 91-64 loss against a Big Sky team. As Jeff put it in his post game recap, “To be fair, Idaho is a senior-laden team that is picked to win the Big Sky — the Vandals are far from a bunch of chumps. But ... Idaho. Big Sky. 27-point margin. That’s never acceptable.”

Speaking of never acceptable, that loss was the 3rd in four years for Ernie Kent and the Cougs. That kind of streak hasn’t happened since 1992 when Larry Eustachy led the Vandals to a Big Sky regular season crown before jumping ship to Utah State.

This season’s edition of Idaho isn’t expected to be quite that good. The Vandals are 3-4 so far this season, with some bad losses including UC Irvine, Nicholls State and Northwest. They also lost their exhibition opener to a (really good) NAIA team in Lewis-Clark State.

It’s not a great start for a rebuilding Vandals team that was picked to finish 9th (out of 11) by the coaches in the preseason. The team is led by Cameron Tyson and Trevon Allen, the only two players averaging double digits so far this season. Tyson has been putting up 16.4 points per game, while Allen adds 14.1 points per game.

If you live in one of those states that has made Washington State basketball exciting over the past couple weeks, you might like to know that the Cougs are 7.5-point favorites in Las Vegas, according to VegasInsider. You can watch all of the action tonight at 6 PM on the Pac-12 Network.

The Battle of the Palouse turns 114 when Washington State, Idaho meet on hardwood Wednesday | The Spokesman-Review
For the 114th time since 1906, the Cougars (4-2) and Vandals (3-4) will link up Wednesday night with regional bragging rights on the line. Tipoff at Beasley Coliseum is set for 6 p.m. and the game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.


Washington State’s Gardner Minshew named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the year, Mike Leach named Coach of Year | The Spokesman-Review
Mike Leach and Gardner Minshew may not have drawn it up exactly like this when the seventh-year Washington State coach recruited his next starting quarterback over the phone last spring, but by the end of the Cougars’ historic 10-win season, it was inevitable that the pair would be in the running for some major Pac-12 Conference awards.

Pac-12 Football All-Conference honors announced | Pac-12
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II of WASHINGTON STATE has been named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Two bye weeks, six road games on the docket for Washington State football in 2019 | The Spokesman-Review
The college football season will span across 14 weeks next year, meaning Washington State and each of its 11 Pac-12 Conference peers will have two bye weeks rather than one in 2019.