With no Cougar Football Saturday on tap, we turn our attention to the Washington State Cougars of the hardwood for a moment. Thursday was Pac-12 Media Day, and since WSU is still fielding a basketball team, Ernie Kent, Robert Franks and Viont’e Daniels all made the trip to California to talk about the 2018-19 season.
The day tipped off with some expected “news”: The Cougs were picked by the conference’s media to finish last in the league, just behind the California Golden Bears. It’s the fourth consecutive year WSU’s been picked to finish in the basement; however, they’ve exceeded expectations the last two years by finishing 11th. The Oregon Ducks were picked to win it.
The Cougs weren’t a unanimous pick to finish last — you can thank the one team in the Pac-12 that was worse than WSU last year for that. Luckily, WSU gets to play Cal twice!
Of course, WSU basketball coach disagrees with that. Via The Seattle Times:
“This team is ready to be in postseason play,” Kent said when asked if WSU could finish above .500. “We’re marching toward a championship. We don’t look at .500 or just barely being above .500.
“What do we need to do to beat Oregon and beat Arizona and beat UW? That’s how we practice, that’s how we think and that’s how we work. If you get them, you get them. And if you don’t, you’ll (be) right below them. But we never think about .500. We’re building for something much better than that.”
The day featured the requisite interviews with media; you can read all of Ernie Kent’s responses here or just watch it yourself:
The players also did their thing:
Just some friendly competition going on at #Pac12Hoop Media Day.@WSUMensHoops' Robert Franks Jr. talks about how he topped @WSUWomensHoops' Borislava Hristova's, aka Bobi Buckets, pop-a-shot record. #Pac12Hoops ➡️ https://t.co/ZhZuI5ezsa pic.twitter.com/KQkgM51hEm— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 11, 2018
Of course, there also were the usual media day shenanigans. On Wednesday, WSU’s star women’s player Borislava Hristova lit up the pop-a-shot:
So, Franks had to respond:
"Bobi I'm comin'"— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 11, 2018
Robert Franks came into the Media Day game room with one thing in mind: Beating Bobi Buckets' score in pop-a-shot that she posted yesterday.@WSUWomensHoops, you should probably see this @WSUMensHoops | #Pac12Hoops pic.twitter.com/JCpuOrwCs3
The season officially starts on Nov. 11 when WSU hosts Nicholls State.
WSU picked last in Pac-12 preseason basketball poll | The News Tribune
Washington State’s Ernie Kent optimistic about a 2018-19 Cougar squad even though his Cougars were picked to finish at the bottom of the Pac-12.
Pac-12 preseason power rankings
11. Washington State Cougars: To exceed expectations and do more than last season's squad, which finished 4-14 in league play, Ernie Kent will call for Robert Franks to steady the ship. Franks considered the NBA after making 40 percent of his 3-pointers and 85 percent of his free throw attempts last season. The senior wing will get the same opportunities to put up big numbers for the Cougars this season.
Larry Scott confirms Pac-12 general counsel influenced targeting call, announces policy changes - CBSSports.com
"We've come to the conclusion that we made a mistake in our procedure," Scott told Yahoo on Thursday. "We want to eliminate any ambiguity from that."
Canzano: Upon further review, the Pac-12 Conference now has a trust issue | OregonLive.com
Report indicates that an untrained third party got mixed up in a targeting-penalty review.
Grip on Sports: The Pac-12 suffers another officiating black eye, and this one it caused itself | The Spokesman-Review
A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Pac-12 has a football officiating problem. It’s not just one of perception, but a true officiating problem. And the cracks are beginning to show. Publicly. Read on.