Central keys to USC-Washington State bubble battle in Pullman

USC-Washington State is a Pac-12 bubble game — not an elimination game, probably more of a “winner looks really good” game. Both teams are going to have chances to accumulate more high-quality wins over the next five weeks. Therefore, both teams should feel relatively optimistic about being able to play their way into the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, though, winning in head-to-head matchups will improve leverage and overall odds in the pursuit of a Big Dance invitation.

We talked to Washington State expert Jeff Nusser about the main keys to this game:

“1. Charlisse Leger-Walker and Destiny Littleton will get the bulk of the attention, but I’m going to turn my attention to the bigs,” Nusser told us. “The Cougs thrive off getting into the paint and finishing around the basket; that’s obviously USC’s greatest strength defensively. To that end, the matchup between Bella Murekatete and Rayah Marshall will be huge.

“2. That said, Leger-Walker and Littleton will have plenty to say. I haven’t watched much of Littleton, but her stats profile similarly to Leger-Walker. The winning team probably gets the better performance from their star, particularly if Leger-Walker is on point from deep and finding open teammates around the arc.

“3. The turnovers – USC generates a lot of them. WSU is going to have a hard enough time scoring points that they can’t afford lots of empty possessions.”

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire