Washington State heads into its first-round Pac-10 tournament game against Washington as a No. 6 seed with uncertainty in its backcourt, but coach Ken Bone feels the Cougars might not need to win the tournament to make the NCAA tournament.
"Even though we lost the other day to UCLA, I still feel right now that if we were to get to the championship game, I feel we'd have a good chance of getting in," Bone said.
Washington State could very well have conference scoring leading Klay Thompson available in the tournament after he was suspended for the UCLA game after being cited for marijuana possession.
Bone said he would make the decision in the next 24 hours after Thompson practices, but seemed to indicate that Thompson's public apology to fans before the game and Reggie Moore's one-game suspension for a similar offense would be weighed heavily in the decision.
"It doesn’t seal the deal, but it's a great step in the right direction," Bone said. "He was very sincere, and I think his apology came from the heart. That can't be a very easy thing to do for a young man. We as a staff appreciated what he had to say.
"We like to be consistent with our actions when it comes to disclipline."
The Cougars, if they reach the Pac-10 championship, would be 21-11 with three wins against Washington and non-conference wins against Gonzaga and then-ranked Baylor.
Washington State finished .500 in Pac-10 play, with the team's previous two losses coming with Thompson out of the lineup against Arizona State due to being late for the team bus, and against UCLA from the marijuana incident.
Moore's status is also unknown for Thursday's opening-round game after he missed the regular-season finale with a sprained right ankle.