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The first half is over
Written by OpenToClose   
Saturday, 30 January 2010 15:33

That UW loss closes out the first half of the conference season. Should we be happy with 4-5? I would say the answer is yes. The first half was undoubtedly tougher than the second half will be for WSU. The Cougars got the LA, Arizona and Seattle road trips out of the way which is huge.


Here are a couple things to look for over the next 9 games:


1) Can the Cougs defend home court? Splits aren't good enough if we want to go to the NIT. We need to sweep one of two home series that we have. The LA series will be our best chance to accomplish that. If we do that and split the Arizona weekend it will set-up a fantastic game against UW to close out the home season.


2) Can the Cougs win "toss-up" games on the road? We'll have three of them. Stanford, OSU and Oregon will be eminently winnable games on the road. Take 2 of 3 and this season will be a big success in helping our young guys figure out how to play through adversity on the road. Watching this team is eerily similar to watching us when Low, Weaver and Cowgill were sophomores. Those missed layups and rushed jumpers will hopefully turn into conversions as the guys shooting them become Juniors and Seniors. Picking up some road victories will help immensely with that development.


3) Can Klay and Casto continue to develop? It might just me but it feels like the guys with the mental toughness to carry this team are Reggie Moore and Nik…..with Thames showing flashes. Casto has a tough assignment playing the five every night and it looks like he's wearing down. Klay is being exposed against the better Pac-10 teams. Right now he's got the look of a guy that is best suited to be a secondary scorer on a good team. Let's hope he continues to develop an aggressiveness in his game on offense AND defense that doesn't seem to be part of his personality. Don't get me wrong, Klay can be fantastic at times but it's all predicated on teams allowing him to get his shot rather than Klay consistently creating and converting his own shot.


4) Will the Cougs make a run in the Pac-10 tournament? The Pac-10 tourney will be as wide open as it's ever been. Any team 1-9 could legitimately make a run and secure an NCAA bid. If our young guys continue to develop it's the thing we could dream about as this season wears on. Our path to the NCAA was always going to be via the Pac-10 tournament. That much was obvious when the Pac-10 turned out to be soft and we dropped our only two big OOC match-up's. It should be a lot of fun to watch.


5) Who will Ken Bone recruit and sign in the Spring period? This much is obvious. We will have more than Nik's scholarship come free after this season. It's possible that we could see Anthony Brown (short talent), Brock Motum (homesick) and/or Michael Harthun (just on the outside edge of being consistently in the rotation for a Pac-10 team….would be really solid for just one conference lower in talent .) Who will head out and will Bone be able to recruit the missing piece up front that would enable us to be a team that will be favored to make the NCAA tournament next year? If there is someone that can play the four or five with Casto it will make us awfully tough to beat next season.

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