Washington State will play its final Beasley Coliseum game of 2011 today, when it hosts Western Oregon this afternoon at 4:35. Yet the Cougars will host three more games, including two conference games, before the year is done. Read on.
• Washington State: Yes, it's one of those strange anomalies. The Cougars' home court is in Beasley. They play four home games to end the year. Yet only one is in Beasley. Thursday they host Pepperdine in Key Arena and Dec. 29 and 31 they host Oregon and Oregon State, respectively, in the Spokane Arena. Who do they play after that? Well, I won't be around, so not big on my priority list. Just kidding. It's two weeks of road games, at Utah, at Colorado and at Washington. It will be more than a month before WSU plays a game on campus again, facing Stanford on Jan. 19. WSU takes a four-game winning streak into today's game, which we previewed in this morning's paper. By the way, one week until Christmas. Don't panic.
• Around the Pac-12: Saturday was another up-and-down day in conference basketball, with Arizona falling behind early and being run over by Gonzaga, 71-60, in Seattle, and USC blowing an eight-point second-half lead in a 63-59 loss to Georgia. On the other side of the coin, UCLA routed UC Davis, 82-39, and Stanford did the same to San Diego, 75-55. ... Oregon hosts Virginia, and former WSU coach Tony Bennett, today, while Oregon State feels it's about ready for conference play. ... Bowl season started yesterday with two rather odd endings, both courtesy of officiating crews. The Ducks have a few local kids on the roster for the Rose Bowl, though whether LaMichael James will be around Jan. 3 is not known. Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti will be, though. ... One Oregon State assistant may not be in Corvallis, as Mark Banker is a finalist for the Hawaii head coaching position. ... The Huskies will face Baylor and the Heisman Trophy winner in the Alamo Bowl, countering with two receivers who are high on the school's all-time charts. ... Jim Mora is still learning his way around college football. ... The new ASU assistants, including former WSU defensive coordinator Chris Ball, hit the road in Arizona. Just what did Arizona State learn from its coaching search anyway? ... Like Washington State, Arizona is still trying to fill out its football staff.
• That's all for this morning. We'll be back before the basketball game with some thoughts. As we knew very little about Western Oregon, we called a friend who had coached against them this season for a scouting report. We'll pass that along. Until then ...