Day after Stanford

Two games above .500 becoming a white whale

The Cougars have had ample opportunity to break away from the middle of the Pac-10 only find themselves glued.

When WSU (16-8, 6-6) jumped to 4-3 after dispatching lowly Arizona St. at home, it dropped the next to then-No. 25 Arizona. After tripping then-No. 19 Washington to finish the first half of conference play with an OK 5-4 showing, the Cougs were embarrassed in Eugene by a team it already handled.

Still, though, Washington State bounced back at Oregon State -finishing a season sweep of the Beavers – to keep its head above water at 6-5.

Thursday’s 75-62 loss to Stanford at Beasley Coliseum is just part of the mercurial Cougars’ trend. Another winnable game against an OK-at-best opponent that fell through the cracks.

“When there is an NCAA tournament bid on the line, it’s just inexcusable,” Klay Thompson said.

The fact that the loss to the Cardinal–a team WSU beat on the road in January– was at home in front of a Horizon League-sized crowd makes it almost akin to the 29-point letdown at Oregon.

The crowd was a less-than-average 6,517, over 4,000 fewer than WSU’s last home game.

“On a Thursday night with the facility half full and not with the same atmosphere. It was a concern. ” WSU coach Ken Bone said. It’s our fault. It doesn’t matter whose here. You’ve got to bring it, you’ve got to play hard. Doesn’t matter if it’s 10,000 or 10 people here.”

So, with the aforementioned in mind, figure the Cougars to best a Cal squad on Saturday afternoon before falling to the ‘Cats on Thursday. That sort of inconsistency would be, well, pretty consistent.

With Arizona (20-4, 9-2), UCLA (17-7, 8-3) and Washington (16-7, 8-4) widening the chasm from the other seven teams, WSU can ill-afford to absorb more losses if it wants to entertain the thought of an at-large bid.

Between WSU, California (13-11, 6-6), Stanford (13-10, 6-6), USC (13-11, 5-6), Oregon (5-7, 12-12), Oregon St (9-14, 4-8) and Arizona State (9-14, 1-10) it’s looking like a race for fourth in what could very well be a three-bid league.

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