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Washington State at Cal Men's Hoops Open Thread


(via HeimdallSiao of Flickr)

Time: 1 PM PST/4 PM EST

Radio: KFRC 1550 AM
Streams: Post links in comments
Injuries: Omondi Amoke (game-time decision)
Line: Cal by 12

This won't be easy. After the jump, a Q+A with our friend Nuss over at CougCenter.

1. You have talked about how the Cougars are a young team and sometimes give up big leads they shouldn't give up. Well, Cal has had all sorts of experience giving up big leads this season. What type of game are you expecting Saturday morning?

I have no idea which WSU team is going to show up, since they've only played two good halves in the same game once in the last two months. These guys are maddeningly frustrating, and quite possibly the worst team in the entire country with a lead -- most recently, they had an 18-point lead early in the second half against Stanford, only to blow the whole thing. Wouldn't surprise me if Cal brought it and the Cougs matched, wouldn't surprise me if they came out flat and got run in the first half. This team has been resilient, but consistency is a term completely foreign to them.

2. Obvious Klay Thompson is the guy everybody worries about on WSU. Who are one or two other guys that Cal fans should be afraid of?

Reggie Moore. He's right there with Derrick Williams for Pac-10 freshman of the year, and is our trigger man on offense. He can get to the rim on just about anyone, and can really fill it up in transition. DeAngelo Casto is the other guy who can fill it up from time to time, although he seemed to struggle a little bit with Boykin last time -- both with guarding Boykin's midrange game and with his strength on defense. He does have two consecutive double doubles, though.

3. Jerome Randle has had some of his best games against WSU. Do you anticipate the Cougs trying something different to slow him down? And how relieved will you be to never see him again (pending the Pac-10 tourney)?

He's right up there with Tajuan Porter and Nikola Dragovic as guys who can't graduate fast enough for us. I don't know that there's anything that really can be done to slow Randle down. I mean, if he's hitting from 30 feet away, what are you supposed to do? I suppose the best thing they can hope for is that he's as tired on Saturday as he was in laying an eggin Seattle after lighting the Cougs up for 39 in Pullman.

4. You're more than halfway through the conference season with a new coach. How are WSU fans enjoying the Bone era so far?

The transition has had its ups and downs, but it's definitely been more ups. There have been growing pains, as Bone wants to play a completely different style than Tony Bennett, but all in all, it's clear he's a really good coach. The jury's still out to some degree as to whether he can get the kinds of athletes to Pullman that he needs to fully run his system, but this team clearly has the potential to be something special in the next couple of years.

5. Klay Thompson struggled against the Bears the last time he played. Wwhat types of things would you suggest Cal did to get him out of his comfort zone in the last game? How can he use his strengths to surmount those problems?

It's pretty simple with Klay: Mug him -- all the time. Bump him on his cuts. Push him off his spot. Get into his space when he's got the ball in his hands, because his first step on a drive is merely average. Oh, and force him to his left, since he almost always pulls up for a jumper when he does that. It's a big reason why his offensive rating is under 100 in Pac-10 play, although he's gotten better at handling it the last couple of games. He's much better when he plays within the offense.

6. (Extra question). I have no idea what happened at the last game thanks to the lack of TV. Do you know anyone who has any Cal-Wazzu highlights so we can relive Randle's lost classic?

There's a little video player on our site down the right-hand sidebar. There are highlights there.