On paper, this is a competitive, if not close, game. Washington State plays fast, and they're in the top half of the conference in most offensive statistics. On the other hand, they have the worst defense.
|PAC-12 Standings Team Standings|
|Washington St. Def||76.7||46.9||68.6||37.3||35.7||10.4||25.3||13.8||9.6||6.2||2.7||52.6||32.7||30||14||68.5|
They have two players who are conference leaders. 6'10" forward Josh Hawkinson leads the conference in rebounding at 10.7 per game (but only 1.8 offensive rebounds per game compared to Kevon Looney's 3.6). 6'4" guard Devonte Lacy is fourth in points per game at 17.2 and second in free throws attempted. They go 9 or 10 deep.
They recently lost at home to Washington, but beat USC on the road. Their conference wins also include Cal (without Jabari Bird) on the road, and Oregon and Stanford at home.
I expect Looney to draw Hawkinson on defense. This will be an interesting matchup of the conference rebounding leaders. Logic dictates that Norman Powell would cover Lacy, but we know that Alford saves Norman, so we'll probably see the usual mix of Isaac Hamilton, Bryce Alford and Norman on him.
All that said, WSU is tied for eighth in the conference at 6-9. They don't really pass the eye test unless the opponent tries to get into a track meet with them. Their 3FG% at 33% is below average for the PAC-12 -- the perimeter is not something to worry about. On defense, they've played a packed-in zone against weak outside shooting teams, and this will be the only way for them to deal with both Tony Parker and Looney.
This should be another comfortable win for the Bruins if they can keep their focus. It's a long way until the start of the PAC-12 Tournament on March 11 (or 12 for them if they get the bye) with only one game left against last place USC who lost their point guard for the season. Meanwhile, they'll be thinking about the Oregon/Stanford, Oregon/OSU, Stanford/ASU and Stanford/Arizona results between now and the Tournament.