The WSU Cougars will face the Oklahoma St. Cowboys in a NIT second round match-up in Pullman Monday evening. The game will start at 8:45 so it can be televised live on ESPN2. The Cougars (20-12) will be playing at home for the second game in row. The Coliseum should full with the Zoo Crew and students back from spring break. That should help Cougs get fired up early unlike the rather slow & quiet start at Beasley last game.
The Cowboys will be on the road for the second time after traveling to Boston to play Harvard earlier this week. Oklahoma State (20-13) beat a good Harvard team so this will not be a match-up like Long Beach State. In fact, the cowboys have been to the NCAA’s the past couple of years and sport a similar record as the Cougs coming into the NIT’s. Coach Travis Ford also brings legit NIT experience after winning the NIT Championship while coaching at Massachusetts in 2008.
This should be an interesting march-up between the #2 (WSU) and #3 (OK St) NIT seeds. The Cougars will have to keep tabs on Junior guard Keiton Page who is a high percentage pure shooter from the 3-point range. At 5’9″, Page is a lot like UW’s Isiah Thomas so the Cougs have some experience with this type of player. When Page is not draining 3’s, he is feeding Senior forward Marshall Moses. Moses, who has over 1000+ career points, has made a living on “put back” points. The Cowboys have two other “bigs” in Matt Pilgrim and Jarred Shaw. They are very good on the “glass” but can get themselves in foul trouble while banging under the basket. WSU should exploit this fact and employ a slashing attack to the basket.
The Cougars have had some time to rest and have not had to travel this week. This should help Reggie Moore’s foot and Coach Bone put together a good game plan. If WSU can keep Page from lighting it up from the 3-pointers and can limit Moses on the put back points, the Cougs should be able to beat the Cowboys but they will have to play with the focus they had against UW this season.