Tag:Ken Bone
Posted on: December 1, 2009 11:49 am

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

The Great Northwestern Rivalry isn't Oregon-Oregon State .... That's the Civil War. Its not Washington-Washington State ... That's the Apple Cup. Its not Washington-Gonzaga ... not since Washington has backed out of our series of games, since we last kicked their behinds ....

The Great Northwestern Rivalry is Gonzaga-Washington State. Washington State hasn't ever backed out of playing the upstart mid-majors, and I don't ever think they will. It seems like they have a real classy AD and coach (at all times) ... They don't go out and stop a series because the mid-major wins a single game against them... They continue to play each other. 

The Cougars have actually suprised us Gonzaga fans, mostly in part to the way they have played basketball over the past few years. Sure, they have upset us a few of the past couple of years, but their defense is what is so suprising. Why? The consistency they have at the guard and post positions to keep playing hard-nosed defense is just absolutely incredible. They have also used the shot clock all the way to the bitter end, and taken the easy shots at the basket. This is why you have seen the 55-54 games that they played. It was their style.

The thing is, that style is ever so-changing. The main reason? New Washington State head coach Ken Bone. He wants to insert his new style of play just like he did at Portland State. That style? Take the open shot if you got it, and if not, take care of the rock, and wait till you get it. Keep the ball moving, and just take good shots. Play physical defense, but not as physical as years past. This is the kind of style that led the Portland State Vikings to a shocking upset of Gonzaga last season even though Portland State arrived only a couple of hours before gametime.

What to expect from Washington State? Expect around 80 points, and a rehashing of a great rivalry in Washington that just hasn't gone away. Washington State will be physical in all facets of the game, and don't forget about the three point shooting. Wait, the Cougars have such a thing going this year? Yup, its true. They can shoot the three ball too. The Cougars have shot the three ball with enormus consistency, and so far, they are shooting it at a 46% rate. The turnaround? Washington State has only given up 37% from behind the arc. So consistency at the 3-point line, and still playing solid defense = SCARY TEAM! Gonzaga really needs to play well and not force turnovers, or this game could get ugly fast.....

Player to watch for (Washington State): This is easy. Klay Thompson. He can score so many ways. Driving to the hoop, shooting the three, or getting that occasional mid-ranger. This guy is an absolute beast and is averaging 28 points a game, around 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. I am excited to see how he matches up with the physical play of Gonzaga.

Player to watch for (Gonzaga): This was also easy. Elias Harris. Definetly the Class of this year's freshman for Gonzaga, even though Bol Kong hasn't had as much playing time as most of us Gonzaga fans would have liked him to have. He is averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds so far this season. But the more important factor for him is that he dominates in the low post. He is a pretty solid shooter from mid-range and can also get a couple of 3's himself....

So my prediction for the game is to see a game somewhere in the 80s, and this will be a very physical basketball game. I think the team that gets in the most foul trouble will have the hardest time winning the game, especially if its Gonzaga. It has been proven that Will Foster is nothing more than just a tall guy, and has horrible footwork... If Robert Sacre and Elias Harris get into foul trouble, this may not go Gonzaga's way, especially since Kelly Olynyk always fouls too. So Cougars, you could be in the bonus, early in the second half....

So here is my prediction (Biased of course) ... lol

Gonzaga: 86
Washington State: 82

Good luck WAZZOU! I really do respect your program.
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