As the 2006-07 Shocker team proved, WSU is always going to need to win a bunch of games to make the NCAA Tournament. A fancy non-conference resume is helpful, and meaningless unless it’s backed up by 14 or 15 MVC wins. WSU blew a chance by losing to UConn, as everybody can tell. Regardless. the Shockers still need to get better – that would have been true no matter how things unfolded in Maui.
Today is another chance to get better. Virginia is a representative opponent and the Shockers again need to play well. Joe Ragland needs to follow up one solid outing with another. Garrett Stutz, untracked by foul trouble in Maui, needs to be more of a factor on offense. Ben Smith played well against Chaminade and can help if he continues to find his role.
Coming home 2-1 from Maui isn’t perfect, but it’s a good goal for the Shockers.
Here’s the Washington Post’s take on the game.