Date: Friday, 2/28/20
Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT
Radio: KOMO 1000
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting line: Washington -10
Washington State 2019-20 Statistics:
Record: 14-14 (5-10)
Points For per Game: 69.2 ppg (212th)
Points Against per Game: 68.6 ppg (142nd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 1010.5 (193rd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.0 (103rd)
Strength of Schedule: 105th overall
Washington State Key Players:
C- Jeff Pollard, Sr. 6’9, 240: 8.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 50.5% FG, 25.9% 3pt, 75.4% FT
F- C.J Elleby, So. 6’6, 200: 18.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 39.8% FG, 34.0% 3pt, 81.8% FT
G- Noah Williams, Fr. 6’5, 192: 5.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 35.4% FG, 15.4% 3pt, 67.8% FT
G- Jervae Robinson Sr. 6’2, 185: 5.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 35.0% FG, 31.5% 3pt, 78.6% FT
G- Isaac Bonton, Jr. 6’3, 185: 14.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 35.1% FG, 32.1% 3pt, 80.8% FT
2019-20 Washington State Shot Chart
As you can see from the chart above this is not a very good shooting Washington State team or even a very good scoring team in general. They are above average hitting that 10 foot jumper from the elbow which normally an open shot against UW’s zone so I’d expect them to be willing to attack from there. However, under Kyle Smith you can see the shot distribution is very modern analytics mostly coming at the rim or behind the 3-pt line.
The Cougars were able to best the Huskies when they met a few weeks ago in Pullman but they have been soundly punished by the basketball gods for their insolence. Washington State has lost 4 in a row since that game including failing to crack 57 points in the last 3 (2 of which were at home).
The recent offensive slump hasn’t been hard to figure out. As we saw in the first matchup, Washington State is almost entirely dependent on C.J Elleby to make their offense functional. He hasn’t been up to the task recently despite still scoring nearly 17 points per game. During their 4-game losing streak Elleby is shooting 33% on 2-pointers and 27% on 3-pointers. That’s on the heels of eviscerating Washington for 34 points on 9/17 shooting. The Huskies just have to hope he doesn’t get into a rhythm as he’s capable of hitting deep and/or contested 3’s if he’s feeling it.
Washington did a fine job defensively on everyone except for Elleby in that game. The rest of the Cougars shot 38% on 2-pointers and 20% on 3-pointers and 2nd leading scorer Isaac Bonton was terrible with 7 turnovers. The differentiation was Elleby shooting unconscious from deep and Washington State making 24 of 28 foul shots. The Cougars went 10/10 from the foul stripe in final 2:18 of the game including several intentional fouls to extend the game so it isn’t as if the game was completely dominated by the refs to result in the free throw discrepancy.
The primary calling card of Washington State’s defense all season has been to force opponents away from the 3-point line and encourage 1v1 opportunities inside the arc. The Cougars rank in the top-40 nationally in the fewest shots their opponents take from deep as well as the fewest assists per field goal made. Washington largely took the bait in that first game as Jaden McDaniels and Naz Carter each dominated for a half and combined to go 10/15 from 2-point range but just maddeningly just 5/10 from the free throw line.
Maddeningly the Huskies were unable to get the ball to Isaiah Stewart in advantageous positions. He scored just 11 points with 5 turnovers while attempting a career high 3 3-pt shots. Hop made the still bizarre decision to not play RaeQuan Battle until the final minute of the game and if he plays more and is able to knock down a few early baskets it could help open things up inside for Stewart.
During their 9-game losing streak it appeared the Huskies had a mental block that kicked in after the first few minutes of the second half. On average the Huskies were tied with their opponents at the 10 minutes remaining mark and then were outscored by nearly 7 points over that time. You would hope that the blowout win over Cal would instill the team with a little confidence moving forward in those situations. But then again the Dawgs were up 30 when it got to crunch time so we’ll see if it’s a close game whether the old hang ups kick in again.
It’s senior night and that means Sam Timmins gets his recognition. Here’s hoping that the team rallies around you big Sammy.
P.S: A reminder that they are attempting for a “Stripe Out” tonight. If you are sitting in an even numbered section you should be wearing white and if you’re sitting in an odd numbered section you should be wearing purple. Gotta make it look cool for everyone around the country tuning in to watch a game on a Friday night between the 10th and 12th ranked teams in the Pac-12 standings.
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