Check out Viejas Arena today during shootaround. It’s a combination of Bramlage Coliseum – enter at the top and walk down to your seat – and Redbird Arena – lots of red, concrete and relatively new and modern. WSU people tell me it’s close to a sellout.
It’s hard to tell much, sometimes, from shootarounds. Some times you get a good read on the team and opponent. Other times, it’s meaningless. I always walk out of shootaround thinking the other team is a race of giants who never miss shots and execute perfectly. Rarely does it turn out that way.
WSU worked hard during this morning’s session. Energy and intensity didn’t seem to be a problem. What that means for tonight is unknown.
The Aztecs might be the best team WSU has played. They are almost certainly the best team WSU will play the rest of the way, depending on their March assignment. I guess it’s possible the BracketBusters opponent could be equal or better, but I’m not betting on it.
WSU coach Gregg Marshall raised the possibility of playing zone tonight. We know the Shockers own a variety of presses and traps they can throw at an opponent. Tonight isn’t a night to hold anything back. I would expect the Shockers to change defenses as soon as the Aztecs get comfortable against one.
This is WSU’s first true road game. We’ve seen the Shockers come out flat on the road last season. That’s something they can’t afford tonight – or this season.
Shocker recruit Jake White scored 34 points in his opening game for Chaska (Minn.).
Northwest Florida State College lost its first game of the season, despite 20 points and 17 rebounds by future Shocker Carl Hall.
Around the Valley
Creighton’s Kenny Lawson, the preseason MVC Player of the Year, is off to a slow start. The Jays need him to show up on Sunday at Nebraska. Creighton volleyball carries the MVC banner into the second round. Surprising to see Northern Iowa out so soon at home. UNI basketball wins at TCU this afternoon, ensuring the MVC won’t get shut out in the MWC-MVC Challenge. Issues at point guard are one of the items Illinois State needs to address tonight. Bradley’s Sam Maniscalco said his ankle injury made it impossible for him to practice. That is why he will sit out this season. Defenses are keying on SIU center Gene Teague, who needs help. The Salukis are at – yet, at – Chicago State in a game that is underway. Follow it here.