COUGARS • UPDATED: 1:10 P.M.
What an interesting weekend in Pac-10 basketball (and you guys had a lively conversation about it, that's for sure). UCLA and Cal (yes, Cal) emerged from the first week atop the conference standings. Oregon State earned its first Pac-10 win in more than a year – 21 games in fact – by stunning USC in overtime. Arizona, filled with talent but obviously lacking leadership, settled into the cellar after a lost weekend in the Bay Area. And of most interest to you folks, WSU started 0-1.
Let's take a spin around the conference and see what's being said, then we'll wrap up with a football note. Read on.
• Cal and Stanford will come north this weekend carrying a 24-3 record between them, the best combined mark for a traveling pair in the conference. First up for the Cougars are the Bears in a Thursday game that won't be televised. Cal rode the wide shoulders of diminutive point guard Jerome Randle (26 points, including a late 4-point play, 10 assists and 2 turnovers) for a 81-71 victory over No. 17 Arizona State. A big part of Cal's resurgence this season, despite losing Ryan Anderson to the NBA, has been the chemistry between the players, especially Randle, and new coach Mike Montgomery. ... The Bears traveling mates from Stanford were blown out by ASU, but bounced back and swamped Arizona, dominating the final 30 minutes of the game. Chase Budinger's shooting slump continued, with his 4 of 11 from the floor making him 8 of 25 for the weekend. ... If anyone thought OSU was going to be improved this year under Craig Robinson, then they were right. It's only one win, but Sunday's 62-58 overtime victory over USC is one more Pac-10 win than the Beavers had last season. Plus, by rallying and winning in overtime, it showed they are going to be a tough out in Corvallis. ... UCLA looked a little disinterested for most of its game with Oregon, but got its act together late and handed the Ducks an 83-74 defeat. ... Former Vancouver Columbian reporter Nick Daschel is writing for Buster Sports, a national web site, and he has this post summing up the weekend. … Finally, the P-I's Dan Raley had this follow to the UW win.
• OK, let's turn our sights quickly to football. It looks like Steve Sarkisian is still trying to talk former Idaho coach Nick Holt into joining the UW staff as defensive coordinator. It's the same job Holt holds for USC, but with Pete Carroll the real defensive coordinator there, Holt would have more authority in Seattle. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this piece in the P-I saying WSU has finished the nonconference part of its 2009 football schedule with a home game vs. SMU, which was 1-11 in its first year under June Jones on 2008. If the Mustangs fill the Sept. 19 date, then WSU will be facing Hawaii in Seattle on Sept. 12 and playing Notre Dame in San Antonio, Texas, on Halloween. Right now – Pac-10 schedules aren't finished yet – WSU will open the season at home against Stanford on Sept. 5. The other conference home games: UCLA, ASU and OSU.
• UPDATE: It's official. WSU will be playing SMU at Martin Stadium on Sept. 19. All the other nonconference games are correct as well. The Pac-10 schedule will be figured out by the always helpful league office and released later. Also, junior college tight end Peter Tuitupou, from Utah, sent in his paperwork and will be in school next week.
• That's it for this morning. Another half-a-foot or more of snow hit Pullman overnight, so it's a slow slog around here right now (if you are some place warm, after I curse your name I'll add "lucky you"). We'll be back later. Till then …