5 teams the Washington State Cougars don't want in their NCAA Tournament region

Mar 2, 2024; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Myles Rice (2).
Mar 2, 2024; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Myles Rice (2). / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Cougars have been on a shock-the-world tour this season and currently sit at No. 18 nationally. 

Going 23-7 with just two games remaining ahead of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Wazzu has been on a hot streak. The Cougs took down No. 4 Arizona on Feb. 22 and also defeated the No. 8 Wildcats on Jan. 13 this season.

Isaac Jones and Myles Rice lead the Cougars in nearly every statistical column. The two Washington State stars have yet to receive the well deserved national attention and that will add fuel to their fire as the team heads into postseason tournaments.

As Washington State has climbed the polls and maintained its winning ways, which teams should the Cougars look out for during March?

WSU vs UNC. 23-6. . 23-7. 522. . . 441.

The Tar Heels are back to their regularly scheduled program as they take the NCAA basketball scene by storm. UNC hasn’t won a national title since the 2016-17 season and the team is looking for a return to glory.

With a top-ten seed but falling short of the top four spots, North Carolina and Arizona are both within reach of a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, if one of the teams drops a few games in a row, the Wildcats certainly won’t want to see the Tar Heels in March.

With how dominant North Carolina’s defense has been, I don’t believe that the Cougars could keep up with the sharp shooting of RJ Davis and his squad.

23-6. . 511. . 23-7. 522. . . WSU vs ASU

While the Cougs were able to topple the Wildcats in both meetings this season, I don’t think that Arizona will let them get away with another.

The Wildcats have been able to take down nearly every other team that has crossed their path and will be looking for sweet, sweet revenge if Washington State gets in their way again.

Caleb Love and Oumar Ballo have been playing some of their best basketball as February turns to March. I expect Arizona to make a deep run in the Big Dance and the Cougars wouldn’t stand a chance.

26-3. WSU vs UH. 23-7. 450. . . 522. .

Nobody wants to run into the Cougars this postseason. With only three losses all season, Houston has seemed nearly unstoppable while playing in one of the best conferences this year; the Big 12.

Looking for its first return to the national championship game since 1984, the Cougars are also hoping to bring home their first NCAA DI title.

In a mano-a-mano or more correctly a cougar-a-cougar matchup, Washington State would fall well short of Houston’s level of play. Houston has held its opponents to just 57.2 points per game while scoring 74.4 points of their own.

. 23-6. 534. . 23-7. 522. . WSU vs UT.

The Volunteers have taken over the SEC as the regular season has neared its end and I expect a similar outcome during the NCAA Tournament.

Both Washington State and Tennessee have reached similar overall records this year yet the Volunteers are ranked No. 4 due to their strength of schedule.

Having to play against the dominant generally SEC teams instead of the less consistent Pac-12 teams gives Tennessee the competitive advantage over Washington State. If the two teams meet during March, the Vols will swiftly discard the Cougs to move on to the next round of the tourney.

23-7. 522. WSU vs Marq. . . . 22-7. 474.

While Marquette may be a dark horse at No. 8 nationally, I think that the Golden Eagles have a strong chance at a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Eagles have taken down top-ranked Kansas, No. 12 Texas, No. 22 Creighton, and more throughout the 2023 season. On the other side of the coin, Washington State dropped a recent game against unranked Arizona State.

If the Cougars have to battle past Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, I think that the Golden Eagles will win the battle and move on while Washington State heads back to Pullman.

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