Washington State Cougars vs. LSU Tigers Preview and Pick

Washington State Cougars +5.5 (8-3) 4-5 ATS, 3-6 O/U vs. LSU Tigers -5.5 (9-1) 2-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U Saturday, December 27, Pete Maravich Assembly Center 2:00 p.m. EST
by Wilson of Predictem.com

The Washington State Cougars mens basketball team is not a team to take lightly, as they only allow their opponents a measly 48 points per game. Cougar head coach, Tony Bennett, is quickly becoming one of college basketballs most dynamic masterminds. Well, at least hes the real deal on the WSU campus in Pullman, Washington. WSUs stingy defense is well known throughout the Pac-10 conference, and it is normal to see UCLA and Oregon held to under 60 points when they battle the Cougars.


LSU has only one loss through their first ten games, and that was to Texas A&M by 3 points. The Tigers squeaked by McNeese State with a 62-59 win on December 22. The rest of their schedule has been fairly a tune up for the regular season as they have an average victory margin of 16 or more against teams like Grambling State, CS Fullerton, and Nicholls State.

If you enjoy watching a disciplined team, then go no further than Washington State. Coach Bennett and his staff have done a great job of drilling fundamentals and selling the whole defense wins games philosophy. Most teams have a difficult time running and gunning on the Cougs. The Cougs will not typically crash the boards on offense as they know they must beat the other team back down the floor. Its tough to recruit super-star athletes who can razzle-and-dazzle and score 80 points a night, so Bennetts strategy is simpleactually play some defense!

LSU comes into this game averaging 76 points per contest and giving up 57. The Tigers style may be in contrast to the Cougars but it will be interesting to see which team establishes their game plan first. Washington State is scoring 60 points a contest and only giving up 48. Athleticism will certainly play a role in this matchup. Will LSU run away from the Cougs, or will the Cougs defense hold its ground and control the tempo?

WSU is 2-4 ATS in the last 6 games. The total has gone under in 6 of the Cougars last 8 games. The defense that the Cougs play is almost a sure bet on the under, but they do occasionally get blown out as they did versus Gonzaga 74-52, and the total was 117 for that game.

LSU is 9-1 SU, and 5-0 SU in the last 5 games. The Tigers are better on paper in nearly every category, and rebounding will be the biggest difference in this game. LSU is pulling down 40 boards a game, 13 on offense and 27 on defense while the Cougars are grabbing 32 boards a game, 8 on offense and 24 on defense. We all know how huge the rebound statistic is, and those usually turn into points.

The big statistic in this game will be the Cougars defense. WSU will need to play tight defense the entire game as they must control the pace or LSU will run wild and score their 76 points. The Cougs shooting percentage is 44%, which is not to far away from the Tigers (47%).

Both teams have guys who can score points. LSUs Marcus Thornton put up 23 in a losing effort to A&M. Washington State has a variety of players who can put it in the bucket with the likes of Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes.

WSUs number one ranked defense will attempt to hold off the LSU Tigers high scoring squad by creating chaos in the half court matchup- assuming they get back in time to set up.

Wilsons Pick: I like WSU to clamp it down on defense and grind out a win. The Cougars win 62-58. Luck to ya.