Time: 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET
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Preview: Rivals, Wazzu perspective from Coug Center, our perspective at Coug Center
Press conferences: Mike Montgomery, Allen Crabbe
After a disappointing start to Pac-10 play with a road sweep to the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans, Washington State rebounded with a crucial sweep of the hapless Oregon schools. Now they try and prove they can win in California as they take on a thin Golden Bear offense.
Strength: Talent. Other than maybe Washington, the Cougars boast a lot of talented players, particularly the offensively proficient Klay Thompson, the mercurial but deadly Faisal Aden, the underrated Reggie Moore, a potent big man in Brock Motum, and an excellent sixth man in Marcus Capers. The Cougars are strong both offensively and defensively, and there are times where they can flat out destroy fairly good opponents (like they did when they beat Gonzaga by 22).
Weakness: Jump shooting. Because the wings of Thompson and Aden take the majority of the Cougars shots, inefficient performances by either can sink them in crucial matchups. The Cougars are one of the worst teams in the Pac-10 in drawing fouls and getting second-chance points.
How they matchup with Cal
Brandon Smith will probably be tasked trying to defend Moore, leaving Jorge Gutierrez and Crabbe to try and defend Aden and Thompson. This will be the first real test for Crabbe defensively, especially if he has to take on Thompson when Gutierrez gets into foul trouble. The bigs are probably a wash, so it'll be critical for Crabbe and Gutierrez to keep Thompson and Aden from getting easy baskets and force them into isolation jump shots away from the basket. That'll lengthen the game for the Bears and give them the maximal opportunity to win.