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Chiefs’ division loaded again

The U.S. Division was the toughest of the Western Hockey League's four divisions last season. The Spokane Chiefs finished fourth in the five-team U.S. Division last year and face some tough prospects for the 2014-15 season, which begins Saturday in Kennewick. Read story

WSU men’s basketball schedule revealed

The Pac-12 announced the 2014-15 conference men's basketball schedule moments ago during the Pac-12 Sports Report on the Pac-12 Networks. Washington State's Pac-12 season begins at Stanford on Jan. 2 and the Cougars won't play at home until they host Oregon on Jan. 15.

The Cougars' first three conference games, on the road, are all afternoon games but WSU won't play before 4 p.m. again until the Feb. 8 game at Oregon. Washington State only has a pair of afternoon games in Pullman.

You can view the entire WSU basketball schedule for the upcoming season by clicking this link: WSU men's basketball schedule

Video: Cyrus Coen, Dom Williams and Toni Pole

Cyrus Coen, Dom Williams and Kalafitoni Pole spoke to the media on Monday. The videos, courtesy of WSU athletics, are after the jump.

Cougars must make the most of every opportunity

Mike Leach addressed the media on Monday, as is his custom, to discuss Washington State's upcoming game against No. 2 Oregon. Leach emphasized that the key on Saturday will be not “squandering” plays because the Cougars will need to maximize every opportunity to keep pace with the Ducks. 

He acknowledged UO's exceptional talent on both sides of the ball but said that the Cougars' focus will on on themselves and taking care of what they can control. 

The highlights from our interview with Leach are after the jump.

Cougar Hardwood Classic cancelled Edit

For the second consecutive year the Washington State men's basketball team won't make its annual trip to Seattle's Key Arena for the Cougar Hardwood Classic. The Cougars were scheduled to face Hawaii on Dec. 13 but will instead travel to face Santa Clara on that date.

The event began in 2005 against Utah and has seen teams such as San Diego State and LSU travel to the Emerald City to face the Cougars.

WSU's press release announcing the cancelation is after the jump.

WSU at Utah set for 5 p.m. PST

Washington State's game against Utah will kick off at 5 p.m. PST making it the fifth-consecutive night game to start the season for the Cougars. If you're making the trip to Salt Lake remember to move your clocks forward an hour, unless you're getting to the stadium early to tailgate and then it won't matter. 

Grading the Portland State game

Let me preempt those of you who will see fit to remind me in the comments and on Twitter by saying that yes, as far as tests go Portland State isn't exactly the MCAT. But it's still important to ace the easy exams and Washington State clearly did that on Saturday.

Tougher tests may await but for now it's nice to know the Cougars have given themselves a little grading cushion and something to build off of.

Unit grades are after the jump.

Cougars prepare for Pac-12 play

Washington State begins Pac-12 play this week against No. 2 Oregon. That means that the Cougars will have their weekly press conference today to discuss the Ducks and we'll have some coverage from that in the early afternoon.

In the meantime, we follow Saturday's win with a story today's paper and a report from last night night's practice, which featured a sneak peak at WSU's white helmets.

More links are after the jump.

Cougars give a sneak peek at white helmets

The Cougars did indeed debut their white helmets at tonight's practice, albeit without any decals, which lasted for about an hour. Not all the Washington State players wore white helmets, but most of the regulars did. This is purely speculation on my part, but I would bet that we'll see white pants and white helmets on Saturday, and either crimson or anthracite jerseys. If WSU wears anthracite jerseys along with whatever Oregon comes up with (probably dark green numbers on a green jersey or something similar) it's going to be pretty tricking keeping track of who does what.

There were just a few noteworthy items from tonight's short practice but we also had the opportunity to speak with defensive coordinator Mike Breske and running backs coach Jim Mastro afterwards.

Notes and quotes from practice are after the jump.

… 

At least one team got it done Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was a bottom-line type of day. And the bottom line was, the Cougars took care of business. The rest of the teams in the region? Not so much. Read on.

WSU wins in a blowout

Last night was fun for just about everybody. It was fun for the Washington State players because they got to pile up stats and pick up that first win of the season. It was fun for the fans because the Cougars won and the stadium looked great. And it was fun for me because my duties actually ended before midnight and the Cougars finally had a home game, meaning I got to hang with Grippi in the press box and listen to old-man stories about the days when practices were open and players and sportswriters conversed as they pleased. Sure, Vince, like that ever happened.

Just about the only people it wasn't fun for were the Portland State Vikings, who not only had to suffer through a game they never really had a chance in, but then boarded a bus for a five-hour return trip to Portland. That's a rough travel day.

But there was a lot of good stuff that came out of yesterday so let's get to those links, which are right after the jump.

Vandals take a step back in 45-33 loss to WMU

So if a football team gives up touchdown plays of 61, 31, 57 and 39 yards it's possible that it could still survive, if the damage was limited to a few big plays. And if it surrenders 210 yards to a rugged running back, well, that might not be certain death — if they don't give up a bunch of big plays, too.

Except Idaho gave up the big plays and the big yards by the big back, and took a pretty big step back from their first week showing in a 45-33 loss to Western Michigan in Saturday's home opener at the Kibbie Dome.

The link below will take you to more on the Vandals.

 

 

Some final thoughts from WSU’s win over Portland State

The Cougars picked up a much-needed win in style on Saturday night, treating the 30,874 fans in attendance to a 59-21 blowout. It's easy to say that not much can be learned from a big win over an FCS opponent, but I don't buy that.

This game could have been close if the Cougars didn't put together their most complete game of the season to date, at least that's what I think. I've got a few other thoughts from this game, and I'll share them after the jump.

… 

WSU vs. PSU: Final gamebook

Courtesy of WSU athletics.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

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Contributors

Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpe) Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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