Cougs to face the Bay Area teams on the Palouse

Men’s basketball comes home to face resurging Cal, middling Stanford



WSU forward Mouhamed Gueye drives toward the hoop during an NCAA men’s basketball game against Utah, Dec. 4.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

Coming off of their massive win against No. 9 (formerly No. 5) Arizona, WSU men’s basketball (7-10, 2-4 Pac-12) will travel back to Pullman on Wednesday to play Cal (3-13, 2-3 Pac-12) and Stanford (5-10, 0-5 Pac-12). Both opponents have struggled this season, with Cal being the final winless team in the country and Stanford being winless in Pac-12 play.

That is not, however, to say that these games will be easy for the Cougs. There are a few reasons for this.

A week ago, the first matchup with Cal would have looked like a slam dunk, but Cal has gotten hot as of late and is coming off a 3-1 stretch that included a 22-point win over Stanford and an 8-point victory against a solid Colorado team.

Leading them in scoring through this season has been Devin Askew, a 16-point-per-game scorer who has been struggling with efficiency all season. In the recent big win over Stanford, seventh-year Dejuan Clayton put up 26 points on six 3-pointers.

This is a game the Cougs have to win to prove they are a legitimate team in the Pac-12, and with the guard scoring Cal has it could become a difficult one. The Cougs will likely have to turn to their switchable big guards on defense and should have the opportunity to target Cal’s smaller guards on the other end.

Cal’s tallest player is 6-foot-9 ND Okafor, who plays only 11 minutes per game. With him being the only player over 6-foot-7 on the roster, Mouhamed Gueye could potentially be set up for a monster game. Coming off a season-high 24 points as he led the Cougs to beat No. 5 Arizona, Gueye should be more confident than ever against a team with no center or even big forward to guard him down low.

Proceed with caution, Cougs, and do not fall into a trap game.

The Stanford matchup is a more straightforward one. Stanford has not looked good this year. While their record is only two wins worse than the Cougs, they have no wins in the Pac-12 and really no good wins in general.

They are coming off of the same blowout as Cal but on the losing side. The Cardinal gave up a Cal record 16 threes in that game, with the Golden Bears shooting 72% from outside.

The Cougs best wins this season have come when they have played their game, shooting threes, creating space offensively and moving around on defense. Stanford is a great team to play that game against; if the Cougs can manage to do it, they should win handily.

Keep an eye on Jabe Mullins in this one, he is still shooting an unbelievable 51% from beyond the arc on 74 shots. If he gets the right looks against the Cardinal he could explode, and with his level of shooting that alone could result in a win.

Wazzu will see Cal at 8 p.m., Wednesday in Beasley Coliseum, followed by Stanford at 5 p.m. Saturday. Fans can watch on the Pac-12 Network.