The last time the Washington State Cougars took on the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers, they lost by a combined 59 points. There are at least a couple of reasons to think it will be different this time around ... but will it be different enough for WSU to pick up a win or two, starting with tonight’s game against the Ducks?
Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT from Beasley Coliseum. You can find the television broadcast on ESPN2, and you can watch the online stream at WatchESPN.com or via your mobile device on the ESPN app.
For starters, the two previous games against the Oregons were on the road, and the Cougars have been much better at home. Second, the Cougars actually have been playing higher quality ball as of late, having won two of their past four with the most recent result being a two-point loss at Stanford that was decided in the final minute.
As you might imagine in a 27-point loss, the Cougs were pretty horrible on both ends of the floor in the first matchup. Really, it came down to two things: WSU turned it over a bunch and shot terribly from inside the arc, while the Ducks did the opposite.
One big problem for WSU is that Oregon is playing better, too, having swept Arizona and Arizona State to make a late push for the NCAA tournament. If that’s going to continue, the Ducks will have to avoid a colossally embarrassing loss to WSU. To be honest, a loss tonight could be the kind that puts the nail in the coffin of their NCAA tournament hopes.
It’s very possible tonight comes down to the same things it came down to last time. The Cougs will need to take care of the ball and do a much better job scoring in the paint than they did the first game. If they can do that, they just might have a shot.