2007 Washington State Cougars Basketball Preview
Last season, the Washington State Cougars (26- 8 overall, 13- 5 Pac-10) made it to the second round of the March Madness bracket where they lost in double overtime to Vanderbilt 98- 74. In his rookie year, coach Tony Bennet (26- 8 in one year and overall) guided the club to a surprise second-place finish in the highly competitive Pac-10.
Washington State managed to turn the ball over an average of 10.4 times per game. That was first in the conference and fourth in the country a factor to consider when you bet on college games. They were second in the Pac- 10 in scoring defense and 17th nationally, allowing only 59.5 PPG. The team was a fraction of a point behind the league’s first-rated club, UCLA. The Cougars bettered opponents in assists—13.9 to 9.6. Their biggest problem was scoring. The team was eighth in the conference, averaging 66.9 PPG.
The Cougars return four starters and a lot of seasoned back-ups for this years free college basketball picks. Losing only one starter, which was forward Ivory Clark (8.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG), this is a club with fine depth upfront, including rookie Fabian Boeke. Boeke has fine skills, and he gives the Cougars a third guy upfront at 6’ 10” or above. Junior forward Robbie Cowgill (8.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 47 FG%) possesses good moves and fineness. Look for junior center Caleb Forrest (1.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 37.2 FG%), who has bulked up, to get more time under the basket. Starting center Aron Baynes (5.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 49.5 FG%) is big and tough.
There are plenty of good guards on board with the best ones being Derrick Low (13.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 44.6 FG%) and Kyle Weaver (11.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.6 APG, 48.7 FG%). Low plays the entire court, able to make plays from just about anywhere and defending with tenacity. Weaver, who should be a top NBA prospect next season, is an extremely skilled player.
This is a well-balanced club that features a fine defense and a solid inside game. Last season the Cougars were underrated, which meant they were able to surprise a lot of teams. They won’t have that type of cushion this year, as opponents know what to expect should they meet them in the March Madness bracket.