News quiz time. What is dominating Washington State news today? Is it A) the men’s basketball team’s game with Washington on Saturday? B) The baseball team headed to Texas this weekend? Or C) A press conference in the CUB for a new administrator? Heck, you all know the answer to that one. If the questions in statistics had been this easy, I would have graduated with a political science degree. Read on.
• Washington State: Most of the Bill Moos news was really reported a couple days ago. With Moos winging his way over to the West Side today to meet the media and, presumably, boosters, donors and big wigs from that side of the state, he can spend his time on the Horizon flight – hope he doesn’t get the Oregon or UW plane – reading the accolades everyone laid at his feet. That wasn’t the way John Blanchette went in his column, as my colleague focused more on what this means to Cougar Country (and I don’t mean the hamburger place). … But Jim Moore calls the hiring “a big deal” in the PI.com and it is, while, in the Times, Bud Withers states Moos will begin the job with “grand ambition,” which is also true. … As for news from yesterday’s introductory press conference, we had our blog post that summarized it. Freelancer Howie Stalwick also had a piece in the Kitsap Sun and other papers while the Eugene Register-Guard ran the wire story. … Yes, we sort of promised you a basketball story yesterday, but because of the glut of news, there was no room in the paper for our feature on senior Nik Koprivica. So we’ll have it in Saturday’s paper and here Friday afternoon. We did have a basketball note and our usual look at the weekend, which we present in its unedited version here …
• Quincy Pondexter ended a television interview last Sunday night with a quick statement. “We’re going to win,” the UW senior forward said. It sounded like he was guaranteeing a victory in the Huskies’ rivalry game against Washington State on Saturday. But Tuesday, Pondexter denied doing any such thing.
“It was nothing like a guarantee,” Pondexter said. “I know it’s going to be a tough battle on Saturday night. It was a question that I felt I should have answered that way. I think if anyone (were) in the same position, they would have said the same thing.”
WSU coach Ken Bone was sympathetic to Pondexter’s point of view.
“People can say what they want,” Bone said Tuesday. “People have made comments like that in the past, sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. Quincy’s a great kid and he’s had a great year and I’m sure that’s what he believes.
“And that’s what he should believe.”
Isaiah Thomas, who has never lost to the Cougars, took Pondexter’s point of view and went strong to the hole with it.
“Like Quincy said the other night, he guarantees a win and I do too,” the sophomore guard told KJR-AM radio Tuesday. “I’m behind Quincy 100 percent.”
Talking to the Seattle Times later in the day, Thomas took exception to the way the Cougars were acting during the first half in the earlier game.
“They were (popping) their jerseys, smiling and all of that,” Thomas told Percy Allen, adding the Huskies used it as motivation in the second half. “Just make sure you win when you do all that stuff.”
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
RECORD: 6-9 Pac-10, 16-11 overall
COMING UP: Saturday vs. Washington, 7 p.m., FSN
OUTLOOK: It’s time for round two of the in-state rivalry, with the Huskies (18-9, 8-7) traveling across the mountains. Traveling hasn’t been UW’s strong suit this season, with the Huskies first win away from home coming a couple weeks ago in Stanford. WSU seemed to like the trip to Seattle just fine, for a half at least. Punctuated by Reggie Moore’s late steal and slam, the Cougars took a 40-36 lead into the locker room during the first meeting. But when they emerged, their game didn’t and the Huskies dominated the second half 56-24, rolling to their third consecutive win in the series.
• Around the Pac-10: Stanford is doing its best to stay out of the 8-9 game Wednesday of the Pac-10 Tournament, with guard Jeremy Green’s long-range shooting having a big say in whether the Cardinal plays that night or not. … ASU knows it won’t be playing that day, but the Sun Devils have more important goals. They want to win the conference crown. A loss tonight in Stanford would really hurt. … The team ASU is chasing is Cal, which has yet to sell out at home this season. … Arizona, the school with the longest current NCAA streak in the nation, doesn’t consider playing in the NIT a reward, though I guess I should say some of the players don’t. Don’t worry Wildcats, with your overall record, play poorly down the stretch and you might want to reconsider telling the CBI you’re not interested. … An injured UCLA team can always count on Michael Roll. … OSU is in the midst of one of the biggest turnarounds in college hoops. Of course, very few teams hit the low OSU hit a couple years ago. … USC can play with the big boys. It’s the other guys that give the Trojans trouble. … And yes, Oregon is one of those other guys.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back this evening with some basketball news. Until then …