UW-Washington State Q&A

Christian Caple covers Washington State sports for the Spokesman Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. He answered five questions I had for him about Monday’s CBI second-round game between Wyoming and Washington State, and I answered five questions for him. First are his answers to my questions, followed by my answers to his questions.

Here are my questions for you. I answered yours below.

Seemed like Washington State played well in its first-round CBI win at San Francisco. Is the team excited to play in the CBI and what did it do well at San Francisco to win? Hard to say if they’re necessarily excited, but they’re certainly focused. Coach Ken Bone has been pleased with the effort they’ve brought to practice, noting that it could have been easy for them to lament the fact that they’re missing their spring break and spending it practicing, instead. But if any of the players are thinking that, they’re not showing it. They looked a lot looser against San Francisco – shared the ball, shot well, made free throws. The Dons trap a lot in the halfcourt, and WSU has played pretty well against teams that do that this season. They dissected USF’s defense with great efficiency, and assisted on 20 of their 29 made field goals.

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UW-North Dakota State postgame thoughts

Of all the things I thought I might see from the Wyoming men’s basketball team in Wednesday’s first-round CBI game with North Dakota State, I didn’t think one of them would be the Cowboys giving up 75 points.

Fortunately, UW scored 78 and won the game to advance to the second round where it plays at Washington State at 8 p.m. Monday night.

I thought junior forward Leonard Washington was a beast, once again. He had his fourth double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. His three-point play with 18.5 seconds to play gave UW a 75-70 lead.

More on Washington later this week in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

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UW-UNLV postgame thoughts

A horrible first half and a good second half.

That summed up Wyoming’s effort in a 56-48 loss to No. 20 UNLV Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament here at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UW made only three field goals and shot 12.5 percent in the first half. That was as poor as I’ve seen the team play offensively this season. UNLV played well defensively, but UW just didn’t have it.

The second half was better, but before it did UW trailed by 22. The lead was cut to six with under a minute to play. It could have been cut more but UW couldn’t capitalize on some chances.

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For the second time in less than a week, Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and who covers UNLV men’s basketball answered five questions I had for him on Thursday’s game with Wyoming in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament.

What was your take of last Saturday’s UNLV-Wyoming game and what surprised you the most about the outcome of the game? The Cowboys played well, the Rebels shot well as expected, and the officiating was awful. Two soccer flops by UNLV players drew key fouls on Leonard Washington and JayDee Luster. Sometimes officials act as if they get paid by the whistle. The game was choppy and ugly because of too many unnecessary foul calls. That did not surprise me, because I get used to seeing poor officiating, and the final score didn’t surprise me. But in reality it was closer than an 11-point game.
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UW-UNLV postgame thoughts

Wyoming was close to beating No. 17 UNLV here at the Thomas & Mack Center, but foul trouble, turnovers and missed shots late cost the Cowboys in a 74-63 loss Saturday night.

The 11-point loss matches UW’s most lopsided (if you consider 11 points lopsided) of the season.

The Cowboys have played the three best teams in the MW, San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV, to nine points, 10 points and 11 points on the road. The SDSU game went into overtime and UW beat UNLV in Laramie.

They are close to beating these teams. We will see how much closer Thursday when the Cowboys and Rebels play again in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament at 9:30 p.m.

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UW-TCU Q&A swap

TCU beat writer Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram graciously agreed to swap five questions and answers with me about tonight’s game with Wyoming.

First are my questions and his answers, followed by my answers to his questions.

Let me know what you think.

What has TCU done well specifically to put itself in position to possibly win the conference title? TCU has stepped up its defense. The Frogs are 10-0 when outrebounding their opponent and 11-1 when holding teams to under 47.6 percent shooting from the field. TCU has also been shooting well from 3-point range. The Frogs have made six or more 3-pointers in 11 consecutive games and 11 or more 3s in five of their last seven games.  

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UW-San Diego State Q&A

I am still in Orlando, Fla., for the Associated Press Sports Editors winter conference and contest judging event. Not trying to rub it in to those of you back in Wyoming, but the weather is a lot better here. … Windy, but in the 70s.

Anyway, I caught up with Mark Zeigler who covers San Diego State men’s basketball for the San Diego Union-Tribune and I asked him five questions on Wednesday’s Wyoming-SDSU game.

With San Diego State’s recent struggles, is the team wearing down because of a lack of depth with only nine scholarship players? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but it certainly looks that way. Two things I have noticed that would indicate accumulated fatigue are players getting stuck in screens far more often than earlier in the season, and flatter jump shots. Both point to tired or heavy legs. And the nine scholarship players is deceiving. One rarely plays. Another plays but only because a guard has to come off the bench and there’s no one else. Another is DeShawn Stephens, who was cut from his high school team and, while an incredibly inspirational story, is in just his third year of organized basketball (and first at the Division I level). So when Jamaal Franklin sat out the Air Force game with a sprained ankle and Garrett Green, his replacement in the starting lineup, sprained an ankle midway through the second half, they in reality were down to four experienced players who get meaningful minutes.

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UW-New Mexico postgame thoughts

Larry Shyatt couldn’t answer the question, can you?

Was it New Mexico’s defense that mostly caused UW to shoot 25.9 percent and miss 13 layups and shots around the basket in a 48-38 loss Saturday at the Pitt?

Or was it that UW just didn’t make the shots?

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