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12/17/2022 12:50 am  #1

GW vs Washington State Thread

Next up Washington State
Washington State has a 61 KenPom, we're going to be massive underdogs

Can 6-4  GW pull off the upset?

Last edited by The Dude (12/17/2022 12:50 am)


12/22/2022 12:05 am  #2

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Washington State Cougars

Date/Time: Thursday December 22nd @ 9:00 PM ET at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, HI. The arena sits 10,300 people.
Preseason Ranks: 71st (KenPom), 68th (Bart Torvik), 70th (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 22-15, 11-9 (T-5th in Pac-12)
2022-23 Projected Record: 14-15, 9-11 (T-10th in Pac-12)

Head-to-Head: First ever meeting for MBB, although the women's team defeated Washington State 76-62 in a lone meeting back in November 2000 behind 17 points from both Elena Vishniakova and Erica Lawrence. The game also happened to be part of a tournament, as both squads were competing at the Rutgers Coca-Cola Classic. GW WBB came out on top largely due to converting an impressive 22 of 23 free throw attempts in the second half while Washington State converted just 48% for the game. That WBB team would go 22-10, including a 14-2 record in conference and qualify for the NCAA tournament, losing to Stanford in the first round as a 7 seed. Other highlights included a 14 point win over Iowa, an 11 point win over Georgetown, and a 14 point win in conference against #20 Xavier.

Preseason Offensive Efficiency: 102nd (KenPom), 87th (Bart Torvik)
Preseason Defensive Efficiency: 43rd (KenPom), 60th (Bart Torvik)
Pace: 231st (KenPom), 265th (Bart Torvik)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 20th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 32nd
Rim & 3 Rate: 88% (124th)

3-PT Field Goal Attempts (7th)
Total Rebounds (T-10th)
Total 3-PT Field Goals Made (T-11th)
Total Blocks (T-19th)
Offensive Rebounds Per Game (23rd)
3-PT Field Goals Per Game (37th)
3-PT Field Goal Defense (39th)
Free Throws Made (T-40th)
Turnover Margin (T-40th)
Scoring Defense (44th)
Blocked Shots Per Game (47th)
Free Throw Attempts (T-48th)
Turnovers Per Game (55th)
Total Rebounds Per Game (72nd)
Scoring Margin (74th)
Free Throw Percentage (81st)
Field Goal Percentage Defense (83rd)
Total Steals (T-84th)
Turnovers Forced (88th)

Assists Per Game (300th)
Field Goal Percentage (323rd)
Fewest Fouls (335th)

Key Returning Players:
TJ Bamba (Junior; Bronx, NY) 7.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg; 38% FG, 36% 3-PT, 78% FT
Mouhamed Gueye (Sophomore; Dakar, Senegal) 7.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg; 49% FG, 28% 3-PT, 49% FT
Dishon Jackson (Junior; Oakland, CA) 6 ppg, 4.1 rpg; 55% FG, 63% FT
Andrej Jakimovski (Junior; Kriva Palanka, North Macedonia) 5.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg; 39% FG, 38% 3-PT, 72% FT

Key Losses:
Michael Flowers (Graduated; Southfield, MI) 14.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.1 spg; 40% FG, 37% 3-PT, 85% FT
Tyrell Roberts (Transferred to San Francisco; Sacramento, CA) 11.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2 apg; 36% FG, 34% 3-PT, 93% FT
Noah Williams (Transferred to Washington; Seattle, WA) 9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg; 33% FG, 26% 3-PT, 72% FT
Efe Abogidi (Exit Early Pro; Delta State, Nigeria) 8.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg; 51% FG, 23% 3-PT, 79% FT

If you're a coach that's won 20+ games in four consecutive seasons at the mid-major level and a power conference school - albeit a perennial cellar dweller in the conference - comes calling, do you jump ship? That's always a tough decision to make. You've built up enough credibility at the mid-major level, which means your job won't be in jeopardy if you experience a couple of "down" years. With an even greater proven track record, perhaps a more appealing P6 school may come calling. On the other hand, taking the job comes with a better salary, the ability to recruit better players, and increased chances to make the big dance. Additionally, taking on a tough job at the P6 level may even buy you a few years to get things going - but often times there's a reason that school has been at the bottom of the totem pole, whether it be budget relative to its peers or geographic location. While job security may not be an issue early in your tenure, no P6 school will settle for years of mediocrity for too long.

That was the decision that Kyle Smith (who I just found out is a native of Maryland) had to make in 2019 after guiding San Francisco to a stellar 63-40 record in his three seasons at the helm when Washington State came calling. He's no stranger to taking on a tough job - San Fran was once a proud program but the Dons had notched just two 20+ win seasons in the last 30 years prior to Smith taking over. While San Francisco did not make the NCAA tournament in those three years, they finished in 4th in all of them. Given the WCC has always been Gonzaga, St. Mary's, BYU, and then everyone else in some ways Smith perhaps got San Francisco to as close to their ceiling as possible. Smith walked so Todd Golden (now at Florida) and new head coach Chris Gerlufsen could run - throwing out the COVID year, it's a reasonable expectation for San Francisco to hit 20 wins every year now.

This was not a flash in the pan either - Smith won 20+ games at Columbia twice as well, something that had not been done since 1970. You just have to see how the Lions are doing nowadays to realize just how impressive that is (although I would absolutely not recommend watching Columbia basketball in its current state - if the admin ever decides to care about basketball Jim Engles is probably on his way out at some point in the near future).

Smith knew what he was getting into upon arriving in Pullman, a place that let's just say isn't exactly the easiest place to recruit to. Back in 2019, Stadium did a ranking of CBB jobs in each conference and predictably enough the Cougars were picked dead last in terms of job desirability within the Pac-12. While there are pockets of success here and there, Wazzu had just completed their seventh consecutive sub .500 season yearning for the glory days under Tony Bennett, who was the leader for their last tournament appearance in 2008. There is the Seattle metro in the state for recruiting but the Washington Huskies are also competing in the same conference and generally have the advantage of landing the recruits who elect to stay closer to home.

Washington State is not going to win by out recruiting the competition. Kyle Smith was already familiar with that feeling after facing Gonzaga for three years. In any case, landing heralded recruits wasn't what led to success under Smith. Virtually everyone embraces analytics nowadays, but Smith is generally one of the first names that comes up when it comes to looking at basketball in the age of analytics. He isn't afraid to go two-for-one when the opportunity presents itself and foul in situations where many teams would play a team straight up. While the players on his team may not be the most heralded, he has great success finding the right players who will fit his system. They obviously have to be athletic enough to handle the rigors of the Pac-12, but naturally making the 3 and being able to take away the 3 defensively on paper should lead to many wins.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that the Cougs took the 7th most threes in the nation last year and when they weren't hoisting from deep, they were shooting right under the hoop (which likely explains their top 50 FT rate ranking). To be fair, Wash State isn't completely by the book - their bigs aren't potent shooters by any means and the Cougars surprisingly rebounded the ball more on the offensive end than I expected, but the principles are otherwise largely followed. If Washington State does have a weakness, it's that they are sometimes undisciplined when it comes to operating in the halfcourt. They do pass the ball, but they can heave a three that may not be the best look (which may explain the lower assist ranking), and while they are able to generate a fair amount of steals it generally also comes with fouling more than I'm sure Smith would like. Wazzu is also slightly more efficient on 3's than they are finishing inside at times. It's not everyday that you see a team shoot threes and free throws so well only to be 300th in FG% - and this is not due to volume as Washington State tends to play on the slower side of things (which may prevent a chance at a blowout I hope!)

Last season, Smith guided the Cougars to a 22-15 finish and an NIT semifinals appearance. Most would consider that to be a success, but weirdly I remember many media outlets picking them to make the NCAA tournament outright so there may have been some disappointment. Given the Pac-12 is perhaps the weakest of the major conferences, so much has to go right for Washington State to get an at-large bid (or even the auto bid) so that shouldn't be held against Smith.

Unfortunately, he has his work cut out for him as Washington State loses their top four scorers from last year due to graduations, transfers, and another electing to go the G-league route. Michael Flowers and Tyrell Roberts were a potent duo from deep as Flowers made the 21st most threes in the country while Roberts was 71st in the same category. Efe Abogidi was their best interior paint protector as he had the 37th most blocks among eligible players. As a result, some of the more modest scorers have had to step up this year into more prominent roles. Smith was able to get Mouhamed Gueye to return for his sophomore year in the frontcourt, which was huge after he entered the NBA draft process in addition to putting his name into the transfer portal. Gueye sports impressive length at 6-11 being able to play stout defense down low, rebound, and convert in the post. He was notably a very poor FT shooter last year (49%) on a team that was otherwise pretty good, so making use of Noel/Keegan's fouls may prove to be a key tactic in the game.

Also returning up front is D.J. Rodman, son of Dennis. He's not the rebounder his dad was in the NBA, but is still a fairly reliable complementary scorer and rebounder. In terms of shooting, Rodman was an exception to the strong 3 point shooting/weaker 2 point shooting splits that many non-post players seemed to have on the team as he converted just 28% of triples last season despite taking over half of his attempts from there.

In the backcourt, Washington State brings back Bronx native TJ Bamba, a guy I believe we expressed interest in when he was being recruited out of HS. Bamba has all the attributes Smith is looking for in a player - a tough nosed guard that plays strong defense and can knock down the three at a strong rate. Last year, he converted on 32 threes at a 36% rate and is up to 45% this year. Like many Washington State players, he isn't nearly as polished from inside the arc. Unfortunately under CC we don't really run players off the arc anymore but this is certainly a team where it wouldn't hurt to go back to that.

Players have been in and out of the lineup with Washington State as the Cougars have dealt with a fair amount of injuries this year. Dishon Jackson (undisclosed) and Andrej Jakimovski (lower leg/foot) have yet to play on the year so I assume they will remain sidelined tomorrow. Sadly, guard Myles Rice was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and will miss the entirety of the year as well. F cancer and hopefully Rice can recover fully and be back playing 100% next year.

Another oft-injured player in Carlos Rosario is also back in the fold. Rosario is another well-built physical forward who provides defensive versatility. Given he's barely played in his collegiate career thus far, I would expect him to provide bench depth than being a major factor.

Washington State welcomes six prominent newcomers to the team this year. From the transfer portal, Smith was able to land Jabe Mullins (St. Mary's) and Justin Powell (Auburn/Tennessee). Mullins, who missed a number of games due to a knee injury (but returned Sunday against Baylor) is an absolutely potent shooter who we need to be aware of at all times on the court. He is a ridiculous 20/38 from 3 on the year. Not to say he is a one-dimensional player by any means, but his primary strength is shooting and he is very good at it. Powell himself is a very good shooter as well, having made 44% of triples on the year but is a little more well-rounded in that he contributes to the rebounding efforts and is the primary facilitator when Washington State is operating in the halfcourt.

Four true freshmen enter in the fold in Dylan Darling, Kymany Houinsou, Maël Hamon-Crespin, and Adrame Diongue. Darling did not play against Baylor and saw his minutes weirdly reduced against UNLV after being firmly in the rotation - I assume he is dealing with an undisclosed injury. He is a jack-of-all-trades kind of player who can score, rebound, and pass when asked at the guard position but is off to a rough start shooting to begin his career. Houinsou and Hamon-Crespin are both natives of France. Houinsou is a big guard who has already started a number of games for Wazzu and does a great job as a secondary playmaker next to Powell while being able to defend multiple positions. Hamon-Crespin is a less finished product right now but has shown the ability to shoot the ball well in limited action. Diongue may see a few minutes here and there when the Cougars elect to go bigger. He is the tallest player at 7 feet tall on a team that has many bigs (a few that I believe are redshirting) and as they say you cannot teach height.

I said this in the last recap but the goal for the Diamond Head tournament is to be competitive. Just hoping not to get blown out - thankfully Washington State helps out some by playing slow. Would obviously like 1 win in Hawaii before conference play begins but it will be tough. The teams we will be facing will be far and away the best competition we have faced this year and we are likely entering as the weakest team in the field (although from whatever little I've seen of Seattle this year I haven't been too impressed by them) with limited depth for a tournament setting. Against Washington State, it will be interesting how we deal with Gueye down low. We may be able to send doubles his way although he's a capable passer - which is when we will have to account for the trio of Bamba, Mullins, and Powell. Unfortunately it will be tough to stop four different options but wherever possible it would be beneficial to let Rodman or one of the freshmen take the shot instead. We did well in our last 9 PM ET game but I always worry when we travel west.

Projected Score: Washington State 74, GW 65. 19% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a roughly similar 19.5% chance at a W. Washington State opens up as a 12 point favorite.


12/22/2022 3:17 pm  #3

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

While it goes without saying that the Piranha consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty with his game previews, recounting the details of a GW-Washington State Women's basketball game played 22 years ago does indeed take this to a brand new level.


12/22/2022 4:56 pm  #4

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Goes without saying, great preview by DMW.
Never know with this team: could win, close (one of our late rallies) or easily lose by more than 12. Depends
on our 3-point shooting and ability to pass the ball.
The experience is there, but putting it together has been difficult so far. Hope the Rodman kid doesn't rebound like Dad, or we face a major obstacle.
   But reason I'm posting is do recall TJ Bamba's name, as DMV points out.
Also, remembered a GW-Washington State connection. Thought it was to Pops--and was right.
Remember meeting his brother, Kojo (and a sister) at perhaps an NCAA tournament. Nice people.
  And Kojo played for Washington State.
So Pops would have an inter-family rivalry on this game.


12/22/2022 9:22 pm  #5

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Get Samuels out of the game


12/22/2022 9:24 pm  #6

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Letting everyone blow by us which opens up their big for easy dunks. Quanzi with a poor few minutes with 2 missed open shots and a TO as the shot clock was winding down. Also got easily burned by his man.

Nice to see Dean playing. Need him to be more aggressive on defensive boards.


12/22/2022 9:24 pm  #7

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

WisconsinColonial2021 wrote:

Get Samuels out of the game

He’s been truly awful on both ends of the floor. 

Hunter has also missed two at the rim he should have scored.


12/22/2022 9:30 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Offense ugly during last 4 minutes and it affected our defense. Fortunately they missed some good shots so it didn’t get worse.


12/22/2022 9:30 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

At least Dean was looking to shoot


12/22/2022 9:34 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Jet lag seems to have hit the team hard. Every 3 seems to be way short.


12/22/2022 9:41 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Foul trouble- need to limp into halftime without getting too far behind


12/22/2022 9:45 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

They’re way quicker than we are


12/22/2022 9:46 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Our coaches should be wearing Hawaiian shirts


12/22/2022 9:48 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

We must need the nation in rebounds going off our hands.


12/22/2022 9:49 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Is anyone going to box out and rebound? That's the difference in this game right now.


12/22/2022 9:50 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Very nice job staying close


12/22/2022 9:51 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Good news is we couldn’t play any worse.  Every ball going off our hands, giving up open shots, taking bad shots, etc. 

Bad news is Wazzu couldn’t play any worse, either.


12/22/2022 9:58 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

I agree, our coaches should be wearing Hawaiian Shirts. 
The good news is that we are close at half time and we haven't been playing that well.


12/22/2022 10:02 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Bishop 5 assists and zero turnovers.  Pretty impressive considering they basically double teamed him.


12/22/2022 10:03 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Washington State Thread

Like to see Edwards make those layups


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