With the home crowd propelling Washington State tonight, the Cougars hope to move one step closer to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden. On paper, Washington State is the better team in every aspect of the game, but the Cougars have been known to fall apart at times, especially in games they’re favored. If Washington State intends to advance in the NIT bracket, it needs to bring its best on Monday night in Pullman.
CougCenter took a look at the matchup, analyzing it from a statistical standpoint, using Ken Pomeroy’s ratings as a benchmark. Author Craig Powers found the Cowboys are a different team on the road, and suffer on the offensive end because of it. In Pullman tonight, Washington State is looking for more of that home cooking and fuel from the Beasley Coliseum crowd.
The Cougs are the favorite in this one and they do have the better team. KenPom predicts a 71-64 WSU win with 75% confidence. However, their advantage is not so great that they can play poorly and still scrape for a win. Oklahoma State is very aware that a victory will have them back home, where they play pretty well, with a chance to get to Madison Square Garden. They will bring their best effort.
It seems like WSU comes to play their best when they are in an emotionally charged atmosphere (see the Husky games, the Gonzaga game). Let’s hope the ZZU CRU is rested up from Spring Break and ready to bring it.
The Cougars and Cowboys tip off on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2 with a chance to move one step closer to the Final Four on the line. Check back with our 2011 NIT StoryStream for more on the tournament. For more on Washington State’s game, head on over to SB Nation’s CougCenter.