Blog Entry

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

Posted on: December 1, 2009 11:49 am
The Great Northwestern Rivalry isn't Oregon-Oregon State .... That's the Civil War. Its not Washington-Washington State ... That's the Apple Cup. Its not Washington-Gonzaga ... not since Washington has backed out of our series of games, since we last kicked their behinds ....

The Great Northwestern Rivalry is Gonzaga-Washington State. Washington State hasn't ever backed out of playing the upstart mid-majors, and I don't ever think they will. It seems like they have a real classy AD and coach (at all times) ... They don't go out and stop a series because the mid-major wins a single game against them... They continue to play each other. 

The Cougars have actually suprised us Gonzaga fans, mostly in part to the way they have played basketball over the past few years. Sure, they have upset us a few of the past couple of years, but their defense is what is so suprising. Why? The consistency they have at the guard and post positions to keep playing hard-nosed defense is just absolutely incredible. They have also used the shot clock all the way to the bitter end, and taken the easy shots at the basket. This is why you have seen the 55-54 games that they played. It was their style.

The thing is, that style is ever so-changing. The main reason? New Washington State head coach Ken Bone. He wants to insert his new style of play just like he did at Portland State. That style? Take the open shot if you got it, and if not, take care of the rock, and wait till you get it. Keep the ball moving, and just take good shots. Play physical defense, but not as physical as years past. This is the kind of style that led the Portland State Vikings to a shocking upset of Gonzaga last season even though Portland State arrived only a couple of hours before gametime.

What to expect from Washington State? Expect around 80 points, and a rehashing of a great rivalry in Washington that just hasn't gone away. Washington State will be physical in all facets of the game, and don't forget about the three point shooting. Wait, the Cougars have such a thing going this year? Yup, its true. They can shoot the three ball too. The Cougars have shot the three ball with enormus consistency, and so far, they are shooting it at a 46% rate. The turnaround? Washington State has only given up 37% from behind the arc. So consistency at the 3-point line, and still playing solid defense = SCARY TEAM! Gonzaga really needs to play well and not force turnovers, or this game could get ugly fast.....

Player to watch for (Washington State): This is easy. Klay Thompson. He can score so many ways. Driving to the hoop, shooting the three, or getting that occasional mid-ranger. This guy is an absolute beast and is averaging 28 points a game, around 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. I am excited to see how he matches up with the physical play of Gonzaga.

Player to watch for (Gonzaga): This was also easy. Elias Harris. Definetly the Class of this year's freshman for Gonzaga, even though Bol Kong hasn't had as much playing time as most of us Gonzaga fans would have liked him to have. He is averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds so far this season. But the more important factor for him is that he dominates in the low post. He is a pretty solid shooter from mid-range and can also get a couple of 3's himself....

So my prediction for the game is to see a game somewhere in the 80s, and this will be a very physical basketball game. I think the team that gets in the most foul trouble will have the hardest time winning the game, especially if its Gonzaga. It has been proven that Will Foster is nothing more than just a tall guy, and has horrible footwork... If Robert Sacre and Elias Harris get into foul trouble, this may not go Gonzaga's way, especially since Kelly Olynyk always fouls too. So Cougars, you could be in the bonus, early in the second half....

So here is my prediction (Biased of course) ... lol

Gonzaga: 86
Washington State: 82

Good luck WAZZOU! I really do respect your program.

Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:42 am

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

I agree. The UW & WSU football rivalry is as bad as it gets the last 2-3 years. It's all about BBall. Cougs 3 for 3 post season? The Zags, every year for the last 8-9 years? UW? Last year, finally. And sadly, they will continue to be really good with the recruits they just got. 

Well after losing to the UW in every sport in Pullman as a kid it's been nice to be the best BB team in Washington (except the Zags) the last 6-7 years. Oh yeah, football too from 2000-present. There is no doubt the best 2 basketball teams in Washington the last 6-7 years have been UG & WSU. 

It's just sad UW is such a Puss$ school it has to end the series with the Zags and then ask to re-start with 5 home games in-a-row at The Key. Are you kidding me. I mean I live over here and would love it but how weak is that. UW gets killed by a FAR better Zags team 7 of 8 years, quits the series because they were nowhere near (seriously, no where close until last year) good enough to come close to GU, and then gets a few recruits and says it will re-start the series in Seattle every year. Now Zag fans know why we hate UW so much. They have no grasp on reality. They finally have 1 (yes, just 1) good year in basketball and think a national power in Gonzaga should play them 5 years in-a-row in Seattle. 
I agree. GU/WSU in basketball is as good as it gets until proven otherwise. It's kind of like when UW started saying Oregon was the real rivalry in football (even though WSU won 10 games 3 years in-a-row and went to 2 rose bowls in that time...and beat UW 6-7 times in the 2000s). Now the Zags/WSU game is the best rivalry in the northwest.

Since: Nov 29, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2009 12:18 am

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

From a coug Fan Nice Post. Unlike the The Huskies The Zags have Classes Fans!! You, my friend, have not met huskyonspeed, I take it.

Every fan base has its who go crazy about when they win and are quick to make excuses when they lose. The same are the ones who hate their in-state rival, no matter who that rival is playing.

A rivalry to me has always been where two teams, usually close geographically, hate each other when they play head-to-head and root for each other when they don't. I've been a diehard Zag since my sister started there back in 2003, and I hated the Huskies for one night and then later hoped they'd make the tourney. I remember one game I went to where I was the only Zag fan in a group of Huskies, and I was dancing when they won handily. Can't remember the year of that one, unfortunately. Later I celebrated with all my Husky friends when they got that #1 seed back in 2005. I hope something similar happens this year.

I mean, seriously, what Washington sports fan resident can say they don't dream of a Washington/Washington St/Gonzaga/... Final Four?

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2009 4:37 pm

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

Should be a good game... Thompson has been great, but I think he'll need some help if the Cougs are to win at the Kennel.  Casto has been good down low for them, but I don't know if they have enough depth on the front-line.  If the zags can slow it down and pound it inside to Harris and Sacre, they should have a good chance.  I think the zags having faced some challenges already will help them, but it will be interesting to see the new-look Cougars in a big game.

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2009 3:44 pm

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

From a coug Fan Nice Post. Unlike the The Huskies The Zags have Classes Fans!!

Since: Apr 17, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 1:29 pm

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

As always, I've got $5 and bragging rights on the line with my cousin who's a Coug. This is the game I look forward to every year, good luck to both teams!

Since: Nov 28, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 11:51 am

The Great Northwestern Rivalry (Game Preview)

What a way to start off the month of December!

A great rivalry in the Northwest.

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