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The Kyle Smith era begins tonight

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WSU takes on Seattle U in Pullman

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 28 Washington State at Stanford Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The highly anticipated debut of new Washington State Cougars basketball coach Kyle Smith is finally coming to fruition tonight. The new-look Cougars take on the Seattle Redhawks as we all finally get a look at just what #Nerdball is all about. You will be able to check out the game if you have the Pac-12 Network (not always a guarantee as we unfortunately know) at 6 p.m. PT.

The Redhawks finished 7th in the WAC last year with a 6-10 conference record and an 18-15 record overall. Head coach Jim Hayford’s squad returns 5 seniors including 3 double figure scorers. Morgan Means leads the way at 14 ppg while Myles Carter averaged 12.9 ppg and 7.9 rpg. Junior Terrell Brown is the primary playmaker who averaged 14.1 ppg and 4.5 apg last season. Brown and Carter were both on the pre-season All-WAC first team. Means made the second team. The Redhawks are picked to finish 3rd in the pre-season WAC poll. This is a pretty decent test for Smith’s first game as the Redhawks are an experienced team expected to compete for a league championship with a well regarded coach.

Smith and the Cougars are likely to coalesce around Wooden Award watch list candidate CJ Elleby. I would expect to see a lot of grad transfer Deion James and JC transfer point guard Issac Bonton making an impact as newcomers. Forwards Marvin Cannon and Jeff Pollard should also get a lot of run as returnees from last year’s squad. I’m personally very curious about both the pace of play and defensive improvement we will see under Smith. Should be a fun one to watch as the Cougars take on a in-state team with postseason aspirations.

Football

Washington State mailbag: On Jayden de Laura, Mike Leach-to-Florida State speculation, Beau Baldwin’s woes at Cal and Cougs’ missing linebackers | The Spokesman-Review
Will Washington State’s lastest quarterback commit stay crimson? Will the Seminoles phone Mike Leach? And what’s up with Dominick Silvels and Dillon Sherman? We tackle all of the above in the latest WSU mailbag.

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Game respects game, and Easop Winston has a lot of respect for Cal's secondary

Basketball

‘Straight defense’: With new focus on defensive principles, Washington State opens Kyle Smith era | The Spokesman-Review
The first 60 minutes of Washington State basketball practices may not be particularly compelling – either for those partaking or those dropping by to get a glimpse – but they’re a fundamental part of what first-year coach Kyle Smith is trying to build in Pullman.

Dick Bennett on Kyle Smith's aim to boost WSU D: 'God bless him'
'I don’t think it’s a coincidence Virginia and Texas Tech — two teams that play excellent defense — met for the championship last year'

Pac-12 basketball preview: Predicting another season of clutter in the Conference of Champions | The Seattle Times
Last season, three tied for fourth, three more tied for eighth, and seven finished within two games of each other. The only year in the past six in which the...