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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 9, 2011, 7:18 A.M.

This and that from WSU

COUGARS

Wednesday mornings are usually pretty interesting during basketball season. Coaches talk on Tuesdays (you can read and see what Washington State coach Ken Bone had to say here), so there is always a discussion or two to hash over in Wednesday's papers. Today is no different. Actually it is. Today's stories are even more interesting than usual, so read on.

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• Washington State: Even the Cougars are not immune from the Wednesday onslaught, though we do our stories for Thursday's college basketball page. ... Nick Daschel has his look at WSU's week ahead on Cougfan, but starts by looking back. If the Cougars play well the rest of the way and don't make the NCAAs, the loss at Oregon will be the reason why. ... Cougfan also summarizes Bone's press conference. ... One football note. Last week, when WSU announced its NLI signees, the school also released the start and end dates for spring football. I'm not so sure why people get so worked up over spring football (cue the Allan Iverson practice comments), but it will start in Pullman March 7 and continue until the final scrimmage at Spokane's Albi Stadium on April 16. (You can see all the Pac-10 spring dates courtesy of Ted Miller on ESPN.com. You'll notice that, other than a couple days at Stanford, the coldest-weather school in the conference starts the earliest.) That's over a month to hold 15 practices, so expect about three a week.

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• Around the Pac-10: We'll start with that tempest in a coffee pot, Sunday games. We linked an Arizona Daily Star story over the weekend that talked about the last time the Wildcats played a triple overtime game, noting they turned around and played the next day under the old WAC scheduling scenarios. Now, coaches are all upset if they have to play a Sunday-Thursday game on the road (by the way, there's a mistake in the linked story concerning WSU; see if you can find it). Two thoughts come to mind: It's only going to get more common when the conference's new TV package kicks in – playing more days a week is the only way to ensure more areas see more games – and boo hoo. Isn't learning how to deal with adversity part of the mission of college athletics, to develop young people for the ups-and-downs and challenges of life? Sometimes the boss asks you to work until midnight, then return at 8, and still do a good job the next day. It's hard, but if you don't do it, someone will. So deal with it. Then again, bitching about it over an adult beverage the next night is an American tradition that dates back to Ben Franklin, so there's that. ... Give Lorenzo Romar credit. He sees where the true problem lies for his Huskies right now. It's the defense. ... So Dana Altman wasn't Oregon's first choice. But no matter how you find the right guy, the guy who can make his players play the right way, is OK. ... With its game against Arizona State scheduled for Sunday night in Phoenix, Arizona is taking advantage of a half-bye. Of course, the Wildcats turn around and host WSU the next Thursday. If they lose to the Cougars, the bitching will be heard all the way to Walnut Creek. ... If you don't think there is an arms race going on in the conference (see Matthew Knight Arena), then check out the new UA locker room. ... A lot of freshmen guards have transferred in the Pac-10 this season, but ASU's is staying put. ... USC coach Kevin O'Neill knows the Trojans' core players are on the court too much. There's just little he can do about it. ... UCLA's Josh Smith was missing his layups. So he's now taking a higher percentage shot. ... And finally, from Westwood, more on that new LA reality show, Who Wants to be UCLA's Defensive Coordinator. ...

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• That's it for this morning. We'll be back later today with a link to our Thursday story. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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