Before we get to the basketball, I just want to give you a little heads up about something.
You might have heard about all the layoffs at Vox Media last week. As part of the cuts, Vox is shutting down its support for nearly all podcasts at SB Nation after February. That includes this one! We know that this is going to mean some changes for our show, but we don’t yet know what those changes are going to be.
Because we want you to be able to keep up to date with those changes, we’ve established a Podcast Vs. Everyone newsletter over at Substack. Please subscribe to it! IT’S FREE!
(No spam. The only thing you’ll get from us after signing up is stuff we actually write. Promise.)
As a subscriber, when we know more about what’s going on, you’ll know more — and it will be delivered right to your email inbox. We’re also planning on doing some actual, real-deal writing at the newsletter, too. If you’ve ever been a fan of The Monday After or Craig’s previews, subscribing to the newsletter is the best way to make sure you’ll still get to read our stuff going forward!
As an incentive to get you to sign up, I promise to write a Substack-only piece after Thursday’s game against USC that will be in your inbox by Friday morning.
Thanks for signing up!
The Washington State Cougars had been a defense-forward team for the first three years of Kyle Smith’s tenure, ranking in the top 30 nationally in kenpom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency the last two seasons. However, season four saw that script flip, with the offense leading the way.
On January 20 — fresh off giving up a whopping 1.25 points per possession to Utah — the Cougars ranked 53rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 93rd in adjusted defensive efficiency.
It led to us asking a lot of questions about what happened. Some of it is explained by losing a premier rim protector in Efe Abogidi and another very good rim protector/space eater in Dishon Jackson. But the problems seemed to run a little deeper than that.
Fast forward to today: In the span of three games, WSU has risen all the way to 55th in defense.
That’s because the Cougars have put together the most dominant three-game defensive stretch in Smith’s tenure at WSU, holding Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona state under 0.90 points per possession each. That’s the first time the Cougs have done that to Pac-12 opponents under Smith.
How have they been able to get back to their roots? We discuss on this week’s Podcast Vs. Everyone:
Additionally: Women’s basketball had an even better weekend, marking the return of superstar guard Charlisse Leger-Walker with a pair of wins in the desert — including over ranked Arizona. The most incredible part? Leger-Walker didn’t even play all that well. Kamie Ethridge has something special brewing with her program.
You’ll probably hate our show. We don’t care. We also use naughty words from time to time. You’ve been warned.
(But if, for some reason, you do like our show, please leave us a five-star review — it helps other people find the podcast.)
Also if you like it: You want to subscribe! It’s the fastest way to get our episodes; most of them hit the feed the night before and will be on the device of your choice before we post to the website.
Also find us on ...
Music by Randy England — you can learn more about his work on Instagram!