Welcome from beautiful Corvallis. Didn't get in until real late – for me, that could be anytime after dark, but last night it meant barely in time for Letterman – so this is a little later than usual. But we've got links and thoughts before tonight's game with the Beavers. Read on.
• My first chore today is to find a cell phone charger. It's the one thing I forgot to pack, which is a first for the couple years I've been covering this beat. That shouldn't be too hard. But finding anyone who thinks this game will be exciting tonight – Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette-Times used a paint-dry reference in his blog post – will be a lot harder. Me, I like defense, the tougher the better. I also like watching a team run the Princeton offense – when Adam Morrison and Bryan Williams ran it for Mead High a few years back, it was worth the price of a GSL ticket – with it's back-door cuts and high screens and patience. It will be interesting tonight to see how WSU's pack defense holds up. Speaking of the Cougars, we had this short weekend preview in the paper, and some notes, which I can't find on-line so I'll post here.
The Cougars' freshmen have played more integral roles as the season has worn on, with DeAngelo Casto (shown trying to score against UW in a Spokesman-Review file photo above) and Klay Thompson having key roles in the win over Stanford and Abe Lodwick, with a key 3-pointer, and Marcus Capers also contributing. "I think they've taken some strides," WSU coach Tony Bennett said of the group, though he's still not sure who will contribute on a given night. "We're still a little fuzzy with our rotation, and we might be that way all year about who is the 8th, 9th and 10th guy." After his performance against Stanford, Casto, from Spokane's Ferris High, was running with the starters this week in practice and may start tonight. ... Tonight's game with the Beavers won't be the first time Bennett and Craig Robinson have been on opposing benches. The first-year Beaver head coach was an assistant at Northwestern when Bennett assisted at Wisconsin.
• For more on tonight's WSU vs. OSU game, freelancer Howie Stalwick had this preview in the P-I and other Puget Sound papers, and there was this advance in the Salem Statesman-Journal. As for other links around the conference, Bud Withers had his college basketball notebook in the Times, Patrick Finley of the Daily Star looks at the Pac-10 this week and the Oregonian has its game day post.
• One football note. The Huskies hired another former Idaho Vandal, quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, That brings the number of ex-Vandals on the staff to five I believe. Also, the P-I's Molly Yanity looks at the Huskies' recruiting.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back before the game – remember, it's a 6 p.m. start – with our thoughts. Till then ...