How often in January does one travel from Spokane, Wash., to Los Angeles, Calif., and arrive to much, much worse weather? Once, in my almost 30 years of doing just that. And this is the week. Left a clear, crisp 48-degree day in the Inland Northwest and replaced it with a 55-degree, storm-of-the-century day in the LA Basin. Noah weather. Mudslides, frogs, locusts. At least that’s what’s predicted. We’ll see. Read on for basketball news.
• Washington State: We had our summary of Ken Bone’s press conference yesterday. But, if you want to listen to the whole thing, you can here. The guy with the hard-to-listen-to voice asking questions is me. Hate my voice on tape. Hate it. … Though his only connection to WSU was coaching against the Cougars – and being a friend to every coach who ever stepped foot on Friel Court – just had to pass along John Blanchette’s obituary on former Gonzaga coach Dan Fitzgerald, who died last night of an apparent heart attack. Fitz, 67, was a good friend and a basketball mentor to not only myself, but anyone who came in contact with him. He’ll be missed.
• Around the Pac-10: Today seems to be the day to take shots at the conference. And, being the positive guy we are, we’ll pass them all along because I am positive you want to read them. … There’s the Sporting News rating the Pac-10 sixth-best in the nation (hey, that’s not really a shot, since that is ahead of the Mountain West). Then there’s commentary, which puts the Pac-10 behind the Mountain West, and possibly the Missouri Valley. … The surprise of the conference? One could argue it’s first-place Arizona State, but that’s a hard one for me to swallow, what with Herb Sendek in charge. His teams have always played better when they were expected to be down, and oftentimes worse when they were expected to be up. … Speaking of ASU, the Sun Devils have been pretty darn good against Arizona lately. … But the Wildcats aren’t afraid of ASU. At least Derek Glasser doesn’t think they are. … Possibly the biggest surprise in the Pac-10 is how poorly UCLA is playing. WSU faces the Bruins at 1 p.m. on Saturday. … After three consecutive losses at home, the Oregon Ducks can’t wait to get back on the road, even if it is a trip to the Bay Area.
• That’s it for this morning. We’ll be back with our notes for tomorrow’s paper sometime this evening. Until then …