January 4, 2007

A Devilish Home Opener


There is a certain bovine quality to the success of Washington State University's men's basketball team - which only makes sense, of course. Like a cow chewing its cud thoroughly, the Cougar men's hoop team and staff thoroughly prepare for their next opponent on the schedule. Rather than looking ahead to a marquee opponent like Arizona on Saturday, the Cougars, as a coaching staff and a team, will focus on the task ahead of them - their conference home opener against Arizona State tonight in Beasley Coliseum. That approach is precisely what has made part of the difference for the Cougars this year as they enter the meat of the Pac-10 schedule.

"We're not good enough to overlook anybody. We have to be right to play everybody. It's an opportunity for us, but we still have a ways to go," says Wazzu men's hoop head coach Tony Bennett.

Bennett and the Cougars are wise beyond their years to be taking Arizona State just as seriously as Arizona. The Sun Devils are currently in last-place but are a Pac-10 team and more than capable of defeating the Cougars - as they are the only Pac-10 team to have more conference road wins than home wins last year.

The Sun Devils only went 11-17 overall and were eighth [5-13] in conference play last year but one of those wins was against WSU. That win was in Tempe, but the Cougars' earlier 64-49 win in Pullman came with the help of 11 points from now-departed Josh Akognon and the graduated Randy Green.

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