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WSU picked 8th in preseason Pac-12 media poll

“Winter is coming,” says head coach Kyle Smith. Plus, today’s links!

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NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State coach Kyle Smith and players Efe Abogidi and Tyrell Roberts made their way to the Bay Area to participate in yesterday’s Pac-12 men’s basketball media day, and they were greeted just a bit rudely: The media members who cover the league voted WSU 8th in their preseason poll.

At first blush, that seems low for a burgeoning program that looks like it’s on the cusp of an NCAA tournament appearance. But when you look at the actual results of the poll, it’s not as insulting as it might first seem:

The difference between 4th and 8th is quite small — if just a couple of people had voted differently, WSU could have been sitting at the top of that group.

It’s not hard to see why WSU would slot behind these programs in a lot of people’s minds: These media polls are often guided by what amounts to their level of faith in a program/coach. Arizona is usually good; Arizona should be slotted up there. Same with Colorado. Reporters also talk themselves into ASU’s recruiting under Hurley needing to pay off eventually. Oregon State just had a deep run in the tournament.

WSU, meanwhile, is a traditionally moribund program whose ascension has been built on shrewd recruiting, excellent coaching, and just plain hustle. Writers are always going to have a bit less faith in that than someone’s four stars.

“We’ll find out. That’s why we play the games. Don’t invest too much in that,” Smith said yesterday. “There’s good teams in this league. We’ve been 11th and 10th — we gotta do it. Hopefully eighth will be a little chip on our shoulder, but we gotta do it.”

The fact that WSU has finished 10th and 11th is noteworthy, I think — projecting a team to jump from two years of that to some place on the fringes of what usually results in an NCAA tournament spot is actually a pretty big vote of confidence, to be honest, even if you think 8th is too low.

“We have some things to build on, but it’s just gotta be consistent and keep building there,” Smith said. “We don’t really set big goals at the beginning of the season; we are process oriented. I know that everyone talks about our analytics but it really is day to day and you see the growth and at the end of the day the results usually happen so we’ll look forward to it.”

Smith made sure to add: “Winter is coming. That’s our theme — come on up to Pullman.”

A couple of Cougs made appearances on the all-Pac-12 teams, with guard Noah Williams making the 10-player first team and Abogidi earning “honorable mention,” meaning he received at least one vote for first or second team.


Williams First Team, Abogidi Honorable Mention, Cougs Picked Eighth - Washington State University Athletics
SAN FRANCISO – Kicking off Pac-12 Media Day in the Bay Area the conference office released its 2021-22 Preseason Media Poll with the Cougs picked to finish eighth

Pac-12 aiming to build on 2021 NCAA Tournament run | College Sports |
The Pac-12 had been an afterthought in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, the number of teams getting in dwindling, the deep runs into the bracket rare.

'That's why we play the games.' High-potential Washington State team picked surprisingly low in preseason Pac-12 media poll | Washington State University |
It'd been a decade since the Washington State men's basketball team was picked to finish this high in a preseason conference media poll.

2021 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day: Washington State press conference | Pac-12
Washington State men's basketball head coach Kyle Smith and student-athletes Efe Abogidi and Tyrell Roberts speak to the media at 2021 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, October 13th in San Francisco. Follow Pac-12 men's basketball with the Pac-12 Now app, available now in your app store for iOS, Android, and Apple TV.

'We're excited about the momentum we have': Pac-12 men's basketball looks to build on NCAA Tournament success in 2021-22 | Pac-12
The 2021 NCAA Tournament was a banner event for Pac-12 men’s basketball. After underwhelming March outings in recent years, the Pac-12 tied a conference record by sending four teams to the Sweet 16, with three advancing to the Elite 8 (the only loss being Oregon falling to USC) and UCLA becoming the Pac-12’s first Final Four team since Oregon in 2017. In all, the conference amassed 13 NCAA tournament wins, a Pac-12 record.

Media selects preseason 2021-22 Pac-12 Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams | Pac-12
Media selects preseason 2021-22 Pac-12 Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams

UCLA near-unanimous favorite in 2021-22 Pac-12 men's basketball preseason media poll | Pac-12
UCLA near-unanimous favorite in 2021-22 Pac-12 Men's Basketball preseason media poll

Washington State men's basketball on the rise under Kyle Smith | Pac-12
Up on the Palouse, Kyle Smith has quietly been assembling a dangerous squad at Washington State.


Washington State Hosts Stanford, Saturday at Gesa Field - Washington State University Athletics
Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Stanford vs. Washington State NCAA Football Odds, Plays and Insights | October 16, 2021 - Sports Illustrated
Check out odds, insights and more in our betting preview for the Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington State Cougars college football matchup on October 16, 2021.

More options emerging in Washington State's pass-catching corps | Washington State University |
In the ideal version of Washington State coach Nick Rolovich's run-and-shoot offense, pass-catching production is by committee.

Now healthy, Jesus Echevarria poised to play 'big part' on Washington State's defensive line | Washington State University |
PULLMAN – Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan collected a first-down snap midway through the third quarter and tucked the ball, searching for room up the middle on a keeper.

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Washington State fits the category of a program that occasionally shows flashes of greatness, creating unrealistic expectations among supporters who wish for more sustained success.

Cougs’ quest overshadowed by coach’s quandary | Sports |
When it comes to the precarious and unprecedented situation involving Washington State’s football coach these days, Scott Pelluer and Jim Walden agree on at least one thing.

Washington State sees a big physical test with Stanford in town - KXLY

#25 Volleyball set to take on OSU in Corvallis - Washington State University Athletics
#25 WASHINGTON STATE (10-6, 4-2 PAC-12)

The Cougs Head to the Bay this Weekend for the Stanford Intercollegiate - Washington State University Athletics
STANFORD, Calif. – The Washington State women's golf team jumps back into action after a two-week break, as the Cougars head to the Bay Area to this weekend participate

Cougs Gear Up for a Split Weekend - Washington State University Athletics
The Washington State men's and women's cross country teams are splitting squads this weekend. On Friday, October 15th, the Cougars will participate in the Nuttycombe

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Sophomore Jaden Cantafio finished in a tie for 13th, his highest finish as a Cougar.

Jason Hanson Set for Oct. 16 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State and the National Football Foundation will jointly honor Hanson.