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HCA: Cougar basketball looks to end drought in Las Vegas

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It’s been nearly a decade since Washington State won a game in the Pac-12 Tournament

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

Back in 2009, the Washington State Cougars entered the Staples Center in LA as a 7 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. Led by Tony Bennett, Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes, the Cougs rolled past Ernie Kent and the 10th seeded Oregon Ducks, 62-40. The Cougars advanced to the quarterfinals where they fell to the 14th ranked UCLA Bruins.

Between 2009 and now, a lot changed.

The conference changed its name from the Pac-10 to the Pac-12 in 2011. Tony Bennett put on a tie and moved to Virginia where he’s doing okay, I guess, Aron Baynes grew a man bun and took his game to the NBA and Taylor Rochestie is winning championships in the Israeli League.

But there are some things that haven’t changed 2009. Ernie Kent is still a coach in the conference and the Cougars have yet to win a Tournament game since.

Washington State will head to Vegas this season riding a 9 game Tournament losing streak. If you want to stack the odds even higher, the Cougars have never won a conference tournament game that they entered as a 9th seed or lower. Vegas (the colloquialism for casino sportsbooks, not the city) also don’t like their odds, making them 12-point underdogs before they hit the floor in Vegas (the city, not the casino sportsbooks).

The good news? The Cougs have been close in recent tournament games. Three of their last seven Pac-12 Tourney games were determined by five points or less, two of those by just 2 points. Washington State will also be facing an Oregon team they’ve proven that they can beat. The Cougs topped the Ducks 78-76 in Pullman on Thursday.

More good news? Our PJ Kendall has already called the Tournament in favor of the Cougs. So, you probably don’t even need to watch. See you at the dance, Coug fans!

Washington State faces Oregon in the nightcap of the Pac-12 Tournament opening round on Wednesday night. Tip off set for 8:30 with TV coverage on the Pac-12 Network. And, even if the game isn’t entertaining, Bill Walton is on commentary, so the broadcast will be entertaining.

For a full schedule of the day to come in the Pac-12 Tournament, check out the conference’s preview here.

Basketball

Washington State opens Pac-12 Tournament against Oregon, seeking first win since 2009 | The Spokesman-Review
Eleventh-seeded Washington State (12-18) will try to put their nine-year conference tournament drought to bed Wednesday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when they go toe-to-toe with sixth-seeded Oregon (20-11) at 8:30 p.m.

Oregon Ducks basketball plans for a four-day run at Pac-12 Tournament starting with a quick rematch against Washington State | Oregon Ducks Basketball | Eugene, Oregon
LAS VEGAS — Four games in four days at the Pac-12 Tournament sounds fun to Payton Pritchard. “I grew up playing every day so that’s nothing new,” the Oregon sophomore point guard said. “I’d rather do that than take a couple days off.

Oregon Ducks looking to put it all together for Pac-12 tournament run | OregonLive.com
The challenge for Oregon, if they get through Washington State, is to find the consistency that has eluded them throughout the year.

Three Cougars Earn Pac-12 All-Academic Honors | Washington State University Athletics
Jeff Pollard, Malachi Flynn an Milan Acquaah are all receiving the accolades in their first year of eligibility for the award.

Baseball

Cougars Host Saint Mary's for Home-Opener | Washington State University Athletics
Washington State (2-6) will open its 2018 home schedule with a four-game series against Saint Mary's (7-3) beginning Thursday at 4 p.m.