Sunday, March 02, 2008

Washington State at Stanford

This was what we were talking about when it comes to Washington State: Unable to beat a Sweet 16 type team. Every single time they faced a sweet 16 and beyond type team this year, they lost.

And while we can footnote this game since there were Harmeling issues, the Tony "Indiana" Bennett Cougars were blowing out Stanford in the first half. Of course you can't expect Stanford to play like that for two halves, but Washington State was unable to hold on, and they got manhandled by the Lopez twins and lost the game.

Brook Lopez made a lot of money in the second half. He had the impact performance NBA scouts love to look at. His teams was down and out, and nothing was going well. Then Brook Lopez took over and scored and scored and scored until Stanford won the game.

What does this mean for both teams? Stanford has been quietly piling up wins, and despite not having guards to match their front-line, their are able to win games. Their big question is what happens in the NCAA tourney when a team in the second round designs a defensive scheme that attacks their guards? How can they handle it? Can Freddie Washington and Stanford's Kyle Weaver (Taj Finger) help on the perimeter and get the ball to the Lopez twins? If yes, Stanford will play in the second weekend, and has chances of hoping for the third weekend. If not, it's "Hello Rick Pitino" again ;-)

And how about the feisty Cougars? Does this team have a ceiling? Evidence of games played so far points in that direction. Last season's NCAA tourney points in that direction. This season, if you look at their schedule, they are 0-5 against Sweet 16 type teams. They lost to UCLA and Stanford twice, and they lost to Arizona when they were playing with a full squad and looked like a Sweet 16 team.

However, they were able to beat NCAA 1st-round type teams handily and on multiple occasions (USC, Baylor, Zags, Oregon (twice), Arizona State (twice). So as much as Wazoo fans will not like this, it looks like a ceiling to me!. Similar perhaps to the Wisconsin Badgers of Beau Rye-Anne.

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