Friday, November 09, 2007

Basketball's Here

Greetings Cougar Nation...

Since its still very much Football season, and since Sir Brinkhater has little time to offer right now, our look at the Cougs will be postponed til closer to the Pac-10 slate. That said, here are a few quick takes and an early prognostication on this team's fortunes:

Key Things to Watch:

1) Weakside post/"help" defense. Lots has been made about the departure of Mr. Clark -- Brinkhater's MVP last year. Without question, they were MUCH better with him on the court. The reason: help side D. That said, no one should forget that weakside D is a HUGE strength of Mr. Cowgill. Unfortunately, its not a big strength of Mr. Baynes. If Baynes improves his activeness on the weak side without picking up cheap fouls, this team will be almost impossible to score against.

2) Location of Screens on the offense. During the team's dry run last year, the post players were setting screens too close to the basket, while the guards weren't rubbing off properly which meant that Low, Rochestie, and Harmeling were too crowded when they'd get the ball. If Cowgill and Baynes can screen farther out, there will be more open shots for the guards, more pick and rolls for Baynes, and more pick and pops for Cowgill's midrange jumpers. This team will defend, but if it can improve its offensive production it will be nearly unbeatable.

3) Scoring off the Bench. The idea is that Harmeling is going to be the 6th man, but honestly, Brinkhater thinks he needs to start in order to get the bounce he needs to score. If Harmeling can figure out how to assert himself offensively coming off the bench, that is one more stinkin' resource that this team will draw upon. Remember, the Arizona victory, the Gonzaga victory, and the Stanford Victory were all a result of big nights from the Big H. They need him to be a force if they are going to improve from last year's miracle season.

4) Weaver's Mid-Range Game. Kyle Weaver is the next Nate McMillan and a bonafide NBA player. Put it in the bank. The question is , can HE put it in the bank. If Weaver can develop a better midrange game, people won't be able to lay off him..if they have to bunch him to contest the mid-range jumper, he'll KILL them via penetration or the kick-out to Low. I'd like to see Weaver take lots of shots in the pre-season to develop his "feel." If he does, LOOK OUT!

5) Injuries. Let's not forget that we don't have a bunch of All Americans coming off the bench. Last year, we were remarkably free of the injury bug. Lets hope we stay injury free.

In the end, much has been made about how this team must now deal with being the hunted. Well, this team WAS the hunted for the whole second half of the year and pounded folks into the hardwood. To think that this team will not be as good as last year is just beyond me: they are going to be better because they play team ball and will be that much better in the system.

At the same time, I think that the conference overall is going to make strides which will add two L's from the teams that we beat last year. At the same time, I think we are going to split with both UCLA and Oregon this year which will balance things out. In other words, put us at #2 in the conference at 13-5 and a #2 or #3 seed in the tourney. Cougs will make it to the Elite Eight before bowing out to Memphis...

That's the way Brinkhater sees it..Enjoy the 20 point victory tonight..

8 comments:

longball said...

Any eye witness reports so far from practice or the LCSC scrimmage? I cannot WAIT to see Boeke and Abercrombe, and am psyched to see Koprvica back on the court. Our hoops team is like the United Nations.

Nuss said...

Hey guys -- been reading the site, even though I haven't been commenting. I've launched a new Cougar Hoops site that I hope will be a complement to this football site: http://coughoops.wordpress.com.

And as an aside, unfortunately Boeke can't play until the NCAA rules that he's eligible. My guess is they'll make him sit out the whole year and we'll see him next season.

Sedihawk said...

Nuss? Are you the same Nuss that I see over at SuperSonicSoul.com?

longball said...

Nice work, Nuss. I now have another cougar link in the Favorites list to annoy my Husky girlfriend!

Sedihawk said...

Nice W last night. Sounds like they really ran away with it in the 2nd half and did what they should do against a young, thin EWU team.

Meanwhile Art Thiel weighs in on the Sonics situation:

http://publicbroadcasting.net/kplu/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1180081§ionID=1

Listen to the MP3. It's only 3:47, but it's full of info. People love to rip Thiel for being negative, but he knows anyone/everyone there is to know and he hears everything. This Sonics situation has a LONG way to go!

Nuss said...

No, not the same. My name is Jeff Nusser, that's Pete Nussbaum. Whenever I go over to Supersonicsoul I use the handle Nuss Too to avoid confusion.

Mine's pronounced "Noose." Don't know if he's the same ...

Anyway, watching the game right now. I wish they could turn all those yards into points. Sheesh.j

Sedihawk said...

Welcome Nuss! I checked out your site, good stuff. We'll add you as a link, for sure.

Nice W last night, on our way to a hell of a year. Can't wait for the next game already. I just got last season's highlight DVD in the mail and it gets the adrenaline flowing!

Meanwhile, yards don't equal points for this team. How else to explain a team that has the conference leader in total offense at QB and the conference leader at yards per game at WR and yet they struggle to score 17 a game in conference play? They move it as well as anyone between the 20's, but then things just stall out. The usual Brinkhater argument holds water, in that he doesn't have the rocket arm to thread the needle. Plus the running game is one of the worst we've had at WSU in the last 10 years, so the short-yardage stuff makes it that much tougher to execute. Sigh.

longball said...

not to mention, we lead the league in 1st downs! Gawdy numbers all over the place, except the scoreboard where it really counts.