COUGARS • UPDATED: 4:30 P.M.
As is evident in my story this morning, the College Basketball Invitational is more than willing to say yes to inferior teams if those inferior teams are willing to say yes to it. The 16-team tournament filled one of its four West regional teams last night with Oregon State, the Pac-10's eighth-place finisher and a school with a losing record (you can read about it here). The Beavers were willing to spend $75,000 or so to host a first-round game, so good for them. What does that mean for the Cougars? Read on.
• UPDATE: The folks at NIT-ology now have WSU in. And it's for the same reason we've mentioned: It would be strange to have six Pac-10 teams in the NCAA and none in the NIT. We'll see. And here is the Pontiac game-changing moment winner: Taylor Rochestie's game-winning shot.
• We're not privy to all the inside discussions, but it seems WSU is really confident it will get an NIT invite. Failing that, after having learned the difference in price to host a CBI and a collegeinsider.com tournament game, the Cougars seem willing to head to the first-year tournament, in which hosting becomes a more financially sound proposition. These days, that's important. Though not, seemingly, all that important to OSU. The utility there, we're sure, is the ability to sell recruits on the upwardly mobile status of the program. That could be worth the dollars the Beavers might lose on the game.
We'll find out this evening WSU's fate. The guess here is the Cougars will play in the NIT, on the road at UNLV – OK, the opponent is more of a wish than a guess, because it's always cheap to get to Vegas and, that's important here as well. But we do think WSU is headed to the NIT and will be on the road. Where the Cougars will go is anyone's guess. If the NIT doesn't come through, then expect WSU to host a collegeinsider.com game against someone like New Mexico State or Boise State. Hey, how about a rematch with Idaho?
• Enough speculation. The truth is out there and will be revealed this evening. Let's move on, to links. We had our story in the S-R this morning (the longer web-version is on the link above) and Howie Stalwick had this piece in some West Side papers. ... A couple of interesting stories for you. There's Bob Condotta's feature on Lorenzo Romar in the Seattle Times and Bill Plaschke's column in the LA Times about USC's improbable run to the NCAAs.
• That's it for this morning. I put up this link last night about Venoy Overton expecting to get some comments and received none. Sometimes your restraint surprises me, in a pleasant way. We'll be back this evening with the WSU news. Until then …