As you read this, the Washington State Cougars are in Philadelphia, preparing to open up the 2023 NCAA Tournament on Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast. That deserves a deep-dive preview on the matchup.
WSU, seeded 5th, would seemingly be a prohibitive favorite against the No. 12 seed Eagles. But FGCU is actually quite terrifying as an opponent — the Eagles have won 30 games and pretty much destroyed everything in their path for a couple of months.
Now, that’s against the Atlantic Sun Conference, not the Pac-12. But it’s impressive enough that DraftKings has set the line as a pick ‘em. No other 5 seed is less than a 4.5-point favorite.
What makes the Eagles so dangerous? Like a lot of mid-/low-majors, they’re undersized. But they shoot a lot of 3s — and shoot them very well! They also generate a ton of turnovers on defense. These are high-variance strategies that can lead to unexpected outcomes against a supposedly superior opponent.
There are weaknesses, though. In fact, the two quality opponents the Eagles played this season — Stanford (1 seed in the tournament) and Duke (3 seed) — shut them down and beat them by 24 and 23 points, respectively. The Cougs might not be as good as those two, but they’re a heck of a lot more like those two than they are like the also-rans in the ASun that FGCU routinely beat up.
We’ve got some keys for the Cougs to be successful in this one. Dive deeper into it with us on this episode!
Then, we turn our attention to the NIT, where the men’s season came to an end with a loss to Eastern Washington. We break down what we saw happen and where the Cougs go from here as they embark on their offseason.
And finally, we wrap up by talking about the baseball team, which is off to an incredible start after winning its first Pac-12 series of the season at No. 15 Oregon State. Poll voters are impressed, too, putting WSU in the top 25 for the first time in over a decade.
Podcast music by Randy England. You can find more of his work on Instagram.
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