There was an interesting conference call today among two college sports bigwigs and the media. I know, an interesting conference call. Wow, what an upset. It featured Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and his Big 10 counterpart Jim Delany. Instead of going into all the particulars we'll share the bottom line: The two conference are going to collaborate more in scheduling, with the big news that, by 2017, there will be 12 nonconference football matchups between the conferences. You can find more from ESPN.com here and here and this from the Seattle Times and more from the LA Times. … There was another conference call that we were on, that is with WSU basketball coach Ken Bone. That one we will summarize. Read on.
• Bone's conference call was in advance, of course, of the Cougars' Pac-12 openers in Spokane tomorrow and Saturday. The questions I asked were for a story I did for tomorrow's S-R, which we will link when we can (here it is). The first two were about the backcourt depth. My third question was about playing in Spokane and Bone said he doesn't know what to expect for attendance, though I heard later about 6,000 tickets had been sold, but that included season tickets. Considering the last two games in Pullman were attended by 5,000 combined and there wasn't a lot of energy in the building – Bone's observation – then whatever the number is tomorrow and Saturday should be better. … Bone talked a bit about Oregon and Devoe Joseph, the transfer from Minnesota who scored 18 in his Duck debut. It's obvious Bone thinks Oregon is a solid team and respects how the Ducks play. … Bone admitted these two games in Spokane are important, being the Cougars won't be back in front of the WSU student body until the sixth conference game. … He feels his team can compete with the best teams in the conference, though he's not sure who those teams are just yet. He mentioned Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Arizona. He said Oregon State is the most improved team in the Pac-12. … The final couple questions were about Faisal Aden. Bone said he'll come off the bench for now – he doesn't want to mess with a successful starting lineup – but he expects him to start again and hopes he does. That means he's been playing well but regardless, Aden, who prefers to start, will play his minutes. Asked if he's OK with Aden shooting as much as he does – I described Aden as a “high-volume shooter” to Reggie Moore later in the day and Moore laughed, saying that's a fair description – and Bone didn't hesitate. His happy with Aden shooting 15-20-25 times a game, Bone said, as long as they are within what the Cougars are trying to do offensively, that the shots are expected and come within the framework of the offense. He is, Bone reiterated, the best shooter WSU has.
• That's it for tonight. We'll return with a link and then be back on here in the morning. Until then …