It's senior day at WSU, and DaVonte Lacy, Dexter Kernich-Drew and Jordan Railey will be trying to end their careers with a win in what is likely their final game at Beasley Coliseum. (The CBI is still a possibility, although a remote one.) The opponent is the Colorado Buffaloes, who are below .500 overall and just a game ahead of the Cougs in the Pac-12 standings.
Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
It's been a disappointing year for the Buffs, who have struggled mightily to score. Colorado has scored below a point per possession in league play, and while Tad Boyle has had to manage some injuries, it hasn't really mattered who has played, as only hot shooting nights have allowed them to score at a respectable pace.
After a stretch in which Colorado lost six of seven while shooting no better than 43 percent eFG and scoring no better than 0.97 points per possession, the Buffs have picked up a two consecutive wins, against Arizona State and Washington. The offense has shown signs of life in those games; forward Josh Scott was the catalyst in Thursday's win over UW, scoring 21 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.
Scott didn't play in the first matchup between these two teams, as he was sidelined with an injury. It will be paramount for WSU's frontcourt pair of Railey and Josh Hawkinson to limit the damage he can do. Given the way the Cougs have been playing defense much better lately, there's hope that they can send the Buffs back to their low-scoring ways. It would help if the Cougs, who force precious few turnovers, could somehow figure out a way to generate some against a Colorado team that is 11th in the conference at taking care of the ball in league play.
In the first game, a 90-58 blowout victory for Colorado in Boulder, the Buffs were incredibly willing to play at the Cougars' tempo. That worked out to the Buffaloes' advantage, as the tired Cougs couldn't keep up on the back end of the road trip through the Rockies. If Colorado -- which typically is more interested in staunch half-court defense -- wants to engage in a track meet again, the advantage probably flips to the Cougs, who will have the home court advantage this time.
Kenpom.com calls it a coin flip, and that seems about right to me. Share your thoughts as the game unfolds below.