The WSU Cougars play a form of sagging M2M called the pack-line defense which is designed to place wing defenders 2 or 3 steps inside the arc to aid with dribble penetration. A traditional man defense denies the wings making ball reversal difficult.
What does that have to do with the price of tea in Pullman? Well, since the achilles heel of the pack-line is the ease with which opposing offenses can reverse the basketball from one side of the floor to the other, often times post defenders are put in precarious defensive position especially against good interior offensive talent. Guys like Tyler Hansbrough, Brook Lopez, and Kevin Love.
And the stats indicate WSU's susceptibility to good interior offense. In 4 conference games and one conf. tourney game, all losses, check out the results:
UCLA's Love, 9-12, 7-10, 27, Baynes 4 fouls
Stanford's B. Lopez, 4-16, 10-12, 18 Baynes fouls out
UCLA's Love, 6-8, 4-7, 16, Baynes 4 fouls
Stanford's B. Lopez, 11-16, 3-3, 25, Baynes fouls out
Stanford's B. Lopez, 11-22, 8-10, 30, Baynes 4 fouls
For a team that doesn't score the basketball well, Washington State is already facing the daunting task of having to hold down one of the best if not the best offensive team in the country. Couple that uphill battle with the matchup problems a sagging M2M has with good post play and it's apparent that UNC has an advantage even in a half court offensive setting.
The fact of the matter is WSU is more suited for defending a perimeter oriented attack like Texas, Memphis, or Tennessee. And It's no surprise that Bennett's crew did well against perimeter oriented conference foes like Oregon, ASU, and USC going 6-0. The Selection committee did the Cougars no favors in this case. Just something to think about.