Arizona-WSU pregame: Tough early draw for Cougs

2014-01-02T10:30:00Z 2014-01-02T17:24:34Z Arizona-WSU pregame: Tough early draw for CougsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

WSU coach Ken Bone says he likes where the Cougars are emotionally and physically entering the start of Pac-12 play. But he can't be thrilled with the starting point.

WSU will face Arizona tonight (8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson and Don MacLean) to open the conference season. They are expected to do so without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, who had an emergency appendectomy last Saturday.

Then the Cougars play at ASU on Sunday and next week, they won't even get to host Colorado at home -- that game will be in Spokane.

"We only have five of our first six in Pullman, but it is what it is," Bone said. Facing Arizona "is going to be quite a task. We know how good they are. They're extremely well-coached, they play a complete game and are very, very good in every facet. They've got great athletes who play smart basketball. They play together and they're deep."

Between UA and ASU, the Arizona road swing could be the toughest for Pac-12 teams to take this season.

We had a look at the keys for UA to win the league title, and some notes on UA's new video board, Book Richardson's cellphone issues and WSU's Que Johnson. On Wednesday, we had a few viewpoints from MacLean and fellow Pac-12 Networks analysts Ernie Kent. 

Here's the school-produced notes from Arizona and WSU.

Bud Withers has a rundown of the Pac-12 race. While Arizona is everyone's favorite to win, the Spokesman-Review's Jacob Thorpe says in his humorously written power rating breakdown that the Ducks would beat the Wildcats by 10 on a neutral court.

Probably not a huge surprise but OSU has cleared Eric Moreland to return early from a suspension... just in time for the Beavers' Pac-12 opener at Colorado.

Tad Boyle is looking for a deeper bench at Colorado, but the Buffs are a team to watch out for once again.

The schedule stiffens considerably for 11-1 Utah today, when the Utes host Oregon.

Both Kent and MacLean say guard-heavy Oregon is benefiting from stiffer hand-checking rules this season.

Cal won't have to deal with many students -- or a parading Rose Bowl trophy -- when playing at Stanford.

Former Wildcat Daniel Bejarano of Colorado State said SDSU "out-toughed" the Rams in Fort Collins.

All but one game in the Pac-12 will be played in the Mountain Time Zone tonight. The rest of the schedule:

Washington at ASU, 6 p.m., ESPNU

Oregon at Utah, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

California at Stanford, 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1

OSU at Colorado, 8 p.m., ESPNU

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