We’re approaching year three of the Kyle Smith era at Washington State, and already there’s talk of Smith’s team playing in the NCAA Tournament. What a turnaround it’s been from going from one of the worst men’s basketball coaches in WSU’s history to Kyle Smith.
Of course, it’s still July, and these way-too-early projections and bracketology exercises are mostly meaningless this time of year, but nevertheless, they’re still fun—and they provide Coug fans some excitement this time around.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the chief bracketologist out there, currently has WSU on the bubble in his “Next Four Out” section. I’m sure we’d all prefer to have the tournament spot a bit more secure, but let’s take what we can get right now.
Meanwhile, Jon Wilner has WSU as his fifth-best Pac-12 team in his way-too-early projections:
The Hotline is officially bullish on WSU’s prospects under coach Kyle Smith, in part because the Cougars return the bulk of the rotation that won seven league games and dropped five by five points or less – they were thisclose to an upper-level finish. We expect WSU to offset the loss of top scorer Isaac Bonton with a combination of improvement by returning players (Noah Williams and Efe Abogidi, to name two) and contributions from key newcomers, starting with transfer Michael Flowers and freshman Mouhamed Gueye.
Don’t forget about Kim Aiken Jr., either.
The new look roster at WSU has fans excited, especially when this guy showed up in Pullman this week:
Will this all end with an NCAA Tournament berth? Right now, WSU looks good on paper. But as they say, you don’t play games on paper.
Klay Thompson, my man
Someone made a comment on Klay Thompson’s Instagram live about Stubblefield’s.— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) July 16, 2021
Klay: “Mike’s used to get crazy. They had nothing like that at UW. Y’all don’t go hard at UW. Come on you know this. Win or lose, Cougs is boozing. Win or lose, Cougs booze.” pic.twitter.com/aGvNz6lqI0
Early Pac-12 basketball projections: UCLA, Oregon lead the way, with Washington State sitting at fifth | The Spokesman-Review
The Bruins return all their key players from the Final Four run.
Kyle Smith's Cougs thirsty to end NCAA Tournament drought | krem.com
The Cougs haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. The only Power 6 school who's Tournament drought is longer is DePaul, who last went in 2004.
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