Friday, March 30, 2007

Hutsona + Buh-Bye = Little Buddy's team


Little nugget from Glenn today that I couldn't help but notice:


One other unrelated note, FYI. Though it's not definite, I would not expect Derrell Hutsona to be in a Cougar uniform this fall. The academic hurdles are significant, and from what I hear there are some possible disciplinary issues as well. Bottom line is that I doubt he'll be eligible to play at WSU in 2007.

Great. Hutsona gave the backs that little extra something that they didn't have last year - namely a lot of speed - and now he's probably done.


Ok, so, no DeMaundray as of right this moment (hopeful he gets back into school?), and now no Hutsona. So that leaves us with Tardy.....and......uh......Chris Ivory? Marcus Richmond? Skyler Jessen? Oh boy.


This is a knee-high fastball right in Duckhater's wheelhouse, but, if they have any shot at a bowl next year, "Little Buddy" is going to have to throw it a LOT! This too shall pass.
Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

News Conference!!!!

Posted an hour ago at the Spokesman. T-Bennett to stay at WSU. What a great day for WSU athletics.

In the meantime, per the Times, Doba is talking up Little Buddy's improvement and arm strength. He even mentioned the NFL.

This just in to Cougfans:

I'll take any bet you want on the Little Buddy's chances for an NFL roster spot. Any bet you want.

7 Months til the great Alaska Shootout! Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Carolina in my Mind

Greetings NCAA tourney lovers...

Well, if any of you caught the USC-Carolina game, you saw the end game for the Cougs even had they beaten Vandy and Georgetown. And we thought USC was athletic.

Sure, the Trojans were worn down by the Heels' depth, but come on...I don't think I've ever seen a faster team in my life. If G-Town beats them today, I'd be shocked.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how the Quackers do today. My thought is that if they stay in this game, they will win....That is, if they are able to score early, they'll be able to score late...And if they're able to score late, they'll win this game--much like Utah did to Arizona when they were trying to repeat as champs nearly a decade ago.

My thought, though, is that they will struggle to score early and that Florida is going to blow them out a la Ohio State and Memphis yesterday. Should be fun to watch!


Meanwhile, we at the WSU blog are taking suggestions from all on what to Title the vessel of the upcoming implosion known as 2007 Cougar Football (this is meant to replace "King of Poop Island")...

My two suggestions are:

SS Minnow (with Brink being the "little buddy")

or

the

SS Pinto (rear end it, and the whole thing explodes)..

Fire at will.. Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Shining Moment

THIS is why we watch:

http://www.aolsportsblog.com/2007/03/19/celebrate-your-favorite-one-shining-moment/

Every "One Shining Moment" since the early 90's. Except the UCLA championship, which I saw with my own eyeballs, they are all here. What a GREAT sporting event. Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Football What?

Well, following yesterday's let down, the one thing that comes to mind is THANK GOD we'll have a distraction from next year's football season!

Next year's hoops will be the most anticipated Cougar sports season since the 2002 football team was predicted to win the Pac-10 and DID. This Cougar hoops team will face similar expectations.

Of course, it will be interesting to see how it all develops. Certainly, Baynes and Cowgill will improve which will make us that more dangerous...but the loss of Clark will make us considerably less athletic...we'll see how that all unfolds.

Finally, we have to see what happens with young Mr. Bennett. My sense is that it would be much more of a surprise for him to leave than the other way around. Dad Bennett didn't come out of retirement to build a program so that his son could leave. Dad Bennett came to build a program so that his son could stay. And when you think about it, when you've built a program into a major conference conteder why do you leave? Especially when that conference is improving and has 3 teams in the Sweet 16! It just doesn't make sense to leave.

The only caveat is what happens if Tubby Smith leaves Kentucky and takes the Michigan job. What happens if Kentucky comes open and calls Bennett?

That my friends is the ONLY type of job that makes sense: leave for one of the top 7 or 8 best jobs out there...

We will see.

In meantime, we can watch next week with dissapointment. An Ivory Clark led Cougar team would have been real dangerous next week.

But, next year with an improved Lowe, Weaver, Rochestie, Baynes, and Cowgill proves formidable. Ditto another year of Harmeling, Mathews, and we'll see about the two reported new comers--all of which can shoot...

Bottom line: it was a GREAT year. And Kudos to Bennett and the Kids for a magical and memorable ride. Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, March 15, 2007

BIG WIN!!!

More tomorrow, but a stellar performance by the Cougs today against a Golden Eagles team that was MUCH better than I could have imagined.

All of those dudes were super atheltic...all of them could shoot.

Couple of quick notes, with more coming tomorrow:

The team that won the game today was the same lineup that was so awesome during our first stretch. Until Georgetown, might i suggest that Baynes park his butt on the bench.

Clark was brilliant today, simply brilliant.

Robbie Cowgill and Taylor Rochestie are really fantastic basketball players.

Kyle Weaver is special. Not only is he great AND athletic, but his savy and smarts in pulling two or three breaks back to eat clock was something you'd expect from Steve Nash, not a Junior playing his first game in the big dance.

Matthews hit EVERYTHING in warm ups...Hopson hit NOTHING in warmups or the game. If we ever need O, Matthews is our guy...cuz man can he shoot...

In terms of Saturday:

EVERYONE on Vandy can hit from 3. So, if we don't guard, expect to get buried.

But their interior d is really weak (GW got into the bonus 9 minutes into the first half but couldn't capatalize). I think we'll score easily against them.

The key will be to defend the perimeter well and make them shoot jump shots from 12-18 feet...

We should be packing for the Meadowlands Saturday night if we play to our ability.

And after seeing, Cougar Nation, I'm believing...we're REALLY good. Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Talk about YOUNG

I never knew just how young some of these legendary coaches were when they first broke through. Bobby Knight was just 32 when he led Indiana to the Final Four? Dean Smith 36 for Carolina? I always thought he was like 50 years old when he graduated high school. He's so old now I think he finally passed his father.

Pitino was young, that much I knew, but man, Bennett is older than all these guys! I'm not about to predict that we're going to make it all the way this year, I mean the bracket is tough as hell and everything has to go just right for a team that doesn't have a single second of NCAA experience, but, it's not such a crazy thought when you see how young some of the legends were when they first kicked down the door. Bennett at 37? Why not, for he is the Sporting News NCAA Coach of the year?!?!

Happy to see Duckhater scored 2 tix for Thursday's games. Enjoy it as much as you can and bring home a W over Oral Roberts! Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, March 11, 2007

#3


Is it just me, or does Tony Bennett look like he could suit up this week and give them good minutes off the bench?? Amazing how young 37 can actually look.
Hard not to love a 3-seed! Are you kidding me? Then again, we are playing Oral Roberts. Who? Well, the same Oral Roberts that happened to stroll into Fogg Allen Fieldhouse in November and take down the Kansas Jayhawks. The same Jayhawks that find themselves as a #1 seed this year! So a lot of pundits will come out of the woodwork this week, claiming Oral Roberts is THE upset pick of the week. But we'll see. Instead of being afraid of them, I say, bring it. I don't think it'll be any picnic going against WSU's defense, and the crowd should be pro-Cougs (particularly if Duck-Hater can score some tix!).

STILL enjoying the ride!.....At least until tipoff Thursday!
Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Can't Flush This

At halftime last night, Jim Watson of Fox asked Tim Floyd about what he thought about the first half. His response, "they (the Cougs) won't go away. No one has been able to bury them all season." And when I heard that, I laughed as it occured to me that in many ways, we represent that stingy terd that just won't be flushed no matter how hard you try. You think you're done, but it just won't go away.

And that, my friends, is why this team is a real Final Four threat. Even when we're dominated like we were last night and against UCLA last week, we're in games late. That may be frustrating for us as we look back, but as we look forward, it is a sign that great things may still be left to come.

By now, friends, we KNOW what beats us: HOT 3 point shooting and relentless defensive pressure and athleticism from the opposing team's backcourt. The teams that have that give us problems and can beat us. If you don't have that, you won't. It's just that simple.

I've said here before that Oregon and SC are really, really dangerous. But they are dangerous bracket busters because they are inconstent on defense and streaky on offense. In Forrest Gump terms, "you don't know what you gonna get."

But with the Cougs, you know what you're gonna get. We just don't know whose gonna get them.

So, we'll wait until Selection Sunday. Personally, I think they're gonna get a #3 seed, but part of me thinks they really deserve a #4.

Either way, look at the capsules Monday morning, check the websites. If the other team doesn't play D, if they are not long at the 3 spot, and if they don't shoot the ball well from 3, then move us along.

I maintain. If we do not have UCLA, Oregon, Florida, or maybe SC on our bracket this team will go to the Elite 8, if not the Final Four.

Its gonna be special...



L Read more ...plus comments

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Trojan Duck?

Nothing quite like the sounds of silence on this blog. Too bad because Duckhater has absolutely regained his basketball intellect and is killing the so-called pundits out there with predictions that could kill a mockingbird.

I mean, can I call them or what? "yes, i can" Duckhater replied to himself because no one else in the world was listennng or reading....

Anyhow, those of you who read the post below were able to see that I nailed the game strategy and outcomes for both teams. And now, I'm gonna hit you with a downer: we're gonna lose tonight.

And quite frankly, part of me wants us to.

But before we get to that, a few quick hits about last night's game:

  • We dealt with the zone in a manner that was ugly at times, but very, very effective. The move to stick Cowgill and Clark on the high post was brilliant and they (mostly Cowgill) did a nice job of splitting the zone and creating 2 on 1s and 3 on 2s from there. Nice wrinkle and we handled the zone VERY well without shooting well.
  • The emergence of Rochestie and Baynes has this team looking like a Final Four threat if we stay the hell away from Florida...
  • Bennet coached his butt off. The move and confidence to put Cowgill up high and have him take Hawes off the dribble was both brilliant and ballsy. It was ballsy because if Cowgill had been sloppy we could have gotten blown off the court like we did against UCLA when Baynes missed all of those looks to start the second half. What a special year!

So, even though no one is reading or commenting, I put this out the silent Cougar nation: is it better to lose tonight in what will amount to a road game against a very good opponent? Or is it better to win tonight and then get beat on Saturday by the Quack?

Personally, I think that Oregon is going to KILL Cal this evening--setting up a rested Ducks team that will have an additional 5-6 hours of rest than the winner of SC and WSU. Moreover, as I've said before, I don't think we match up with the Ducks at all...

In that way, I would rather have us lose a road game to a team we've already beaten twice, then lose three times to a team like the Quackers and having that downer headed into selection Sunday....

Of course, with the emergence of Baynes and the improved play of Cowgill, there's nothing to say that we couldn't pound the Quack inside and really take it to em..

Anyhow, I'm predicting a 67-64 loss tonight in what should be a dynamite game. Like I said, I think we've solidified a #3 seed and spot in good ole Sacatomatoes next week. Win the tourney and we will see ourselves in Sacto with a gaudy #2 seed.

What a magical season: continue to enjoy it before its loser out (for good) time... Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Road to #3

Well, tonight's game is the road to #3. Win tonight and I think a #3 seed is pretty much sealed for the tourney. Win tonight and we also would have beaten the Dawgs, well, 3 times this year (and 5 straight overall).

Here's a very quick set of keys or things to look for:

1) Hold Brockman down a little. He's the one guy who I think will play well no matter what...We just need to stay in front of him, make him shoot over us, and keep him off of the offensive boards.

2) Attack their guards when we're on offense. This is the second game in two nights..the more we make those boys work on defense, the more they will tire and their decision making will suffer in the second half. Look for our patience on offense and our ability to set screens AWAY from the basket. That will pull Hawes or Brockman away and put Appleby and Dent. in a positition to defend penetration all night long.

3) Don't be surprised to see the Dawgs play a zone to save their legs and force the Cougs to shoot a little...I would....the shooting of Low, Harmeling, and Rochestie will be key if the Dawgs go zone for a long stretch.

4) We're going to be leading this game at the end...will we make our free throws? Stay tuned.

5) This will be a GREAT test for both Baynes and Clark..Can Baynes continue to play well offenseively and stay out of foul trouble? Can Clark build momentum and keep the ball out of Brockman's hands..

Bottom line: this game will be won by the Cougs tonight...the D will be too tough and the Dawgs will fade down the stretch with weary legs..

Just remember: these games don't really mean that much for us, so enjoy them: next week is one and done time! Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Big Win!!!

Short post for today and the rest of the week, but a really fantastic win yesterday. With the W, the Cougs finish the five away/four home second half with a fantastic 7-2 mark--one game ahead of the smokin' first half. With the win, I think the Cougs assured themselves of no worse than a #4 seed, although that could drop to a 5 IF ASU beats Washington and the Cougars...Obviously, neither will happen. A couple of quick notes:

Baynes is turning into the real deal. That will serve to really, really help us against Elite Teams. We're really on the cusp there.

Thank you Tony for making the adjustments on the screens. If you paid attention to yesterdays game you could notice a remarkable difference on where Baynes and Cowgill were setting their picks. And boy did it make a difference with our offense.

Oh Harmeling, where are you? Couple of times last night, he just looked AWFUL he was so tentative and scared. With Baynes picking it up, if Harmeling can get back on track, then look out.

I really like USC. And I also really like Oregon. Count those two as major bracket busters in my book. Both can lose early in the tourney, but I also think both are bonafide Sweet 16 teams given the right draw. USC played very, very well yesterday.

How about the Puppies? Personally, I think the win the conference tourney thing to get in is ridiculous. If they beat ASU and us, they have 20 wins and they would have beaten everyone. This really is the year where the Pac-10 should get 7. No ifs ands or buts.

We beat the Huskies and we land ourselves a 3 seed in the tourney in my book (only by winning the tourney and beating UCLA can we get a #2). And I think we will beat the Dawgs with them on the second night of a back-to-back--those guards will be tired.

Have a great week. Beating the Dawgs for the 5th straight time would really be a nice treat!!!! Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, March 01, 2007

D-FENSED

Well, obviously a dissapointing night for the Cougar faithful. And not one of our better games. That all said, here are some quick hits about the game.

  • UCLA played like the National Contender that they are. The first ten minutes of the second half was elite basketball.
  • The Cougs WILL NEVER get blown out of a game. Despite tons of turnovers and awful offense, we were down by four with the ball with 30 seconds left. We're just too good defensively to be out of games
  • Derrick Low is TERRIBLE right now. If we are to advance in the tourney, he MUST find his game again. The effort tonight was piss poor.
  • Baynes is going to be a FORCE--Maybe even by the end of the season. When Baynes matures, this team will be a national contender. It may be this year, but more likely its next year. More about that in a second.
  • Weaver played like an All-Pac 10 player and 3rd team All-American. He's a bonafide NBA player if he can develop a reliable jumper.
  • I said before the game that two out of our three had to play well (Harmeling, Low, and Weaver), and Low and Harmeling were bad. That must change SOON for us to get a decent seed.
  • First coaching beef: I don't like the lack of screens we have to set up our shooters. Harmeling, in particular needs screens to get open against elite teams. UCLA's defense is too quick for just swinging the ball around. He was covered in blue all night.
  • Rochestie played BRILLIANT in the latter part of the first half. Where was the penetration toward the middle in the second half? Again, I thought the coaching was a bit lacking there....

All in all, the better team clearly won. That said, this WSU team shows that they are VERY dangerous because of their D.

If Baynes continues to progress, this team will go deep in the tourney if either Low or Harmeling can buy a vowel.

And, if Weaver gets a jumper AND Baynes improves over the summer, this team is a Final Four team next year.

Which UCLA is THIS YEAR. Read more ...plus comments

The Ole Soothsayer

If you read the previous post, you will see how Duckhater predicted the hardfought battle with the Beavs last Saturday. Now, take a look at this post/comment from the blog on March 9th of last year:

The Cougs uptop weave offense was pretty exruciating to watch...funny, that was the EXACT same offense that Kelvin ran when we were there....so deliberate, so awful. But, it does come down to talent...there were two issues in my book. First, Cowgill and Baynes must improve around the basket and they will with more time. Second: they must recruit a shooter and a slasher. Based on what I read from Glenn, they have a slasher--now they need a shooter a la Ike Fountaine....If Tony keeps the defensive scheme and they add one or two pieces they are a sweet 16 team. They simply didn't have the players to keep more than they did this year--although if Lowe stays healthy they might have made a run at the NIT.That said, discipline beats bandits...so if they can add and not subtract D, they will be very, very entertaining....

And so, there we have it...we added the slasher with Weaver, the shooter in Harmeling, and with an improved Low we have a top 15 team.

The key, folks, TONIGHT and for the rest of the year is to pay attention to the issue of Cowgill and Baynes. Because we haven't slipped on D--and when we don't slip on D--our defensive performance from the center position is phenomenal. The reason: when our defense does not get beaten with penetration from the top (when the guard on the opposite side sags and helps), and when we don't get beat baseline, the center moves into "shotblocking" position without having to directly contain. The result is a ton of blocked shots, bad shots, and for us, points in transition. We've done that A LOT this year.

But the flip side of that is O. When we get production from the 5, we move from a top 15 team to a top 5 or top 6 team.

With that all in mind, there are four keys to the game tonight, and they are:

1) Foul trouble for Clark
2) Jump shooting from two of three players: Weaver, Low, and Harmeling
3) Scoring by one member of the bench (6-10 points)
4) Scoring from Baynes or Cowgill (14-16 points combined)

Those things happen, we win tonight. To reiterate: Clark must stay out of foul trouble, two out of our three backcourt players must shoot the ball well, Hopson or Mathews needs to score a bit, and Baynes and Cowgill must score--which means they must play well in the post AND be found when our guards penetrate.

This game is either going to be a blowout loss or we'll win.....

My pick:

WSU 65 UCLA 59

Co Cougs Read more ...plus comments