We are going to zone in this morning and I'm not promising extra concentration. No, that would be impossible after last night. It was Friday, after all. Anyhow, the zone reference is a basketball one. So read on.
• Washington State: Let's start out really cheap. “When Klay Thompson gets in a zone …” Too cheap? Well, our story for this morning – with a great headline – concerned Thompson, Derrick Williams and Isaiah Thomas and the Pac-10 player of the year race. All three were All-Pac-10 first-team last year, all are playing better this season and all are on the Wooden midseason list. Oh, and all have a chance to be in the NBA draft later this year. … We linked this last night, but we'll do it again. … From Arizona, or Zona as it's nicknamed, there is this piece from the Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe about the Wildcats expecting zone from WSU.
• Around the Pac-10: The Huskies will be facing a down Arizona State team, but one with a zone that has given them trouble in the past. But, ironically, UW has been playing more zone this season. It can, because its guards are able to pressure the ball but still get back to cover for a quick reversal. … Both Oregon and Oregon State play zone defense, though they are similar in name only. The two meet today in Corvallis. … No matter what type of defense you are playing, you better know where Cal's Allan Crabbe is. The freshman has come on in the past couple weeks. If the Trojans are successful at handling Crabbe and the Bears tonight, maybe they will be able to put together a decent-length winning streak. … UCLA's big Josh Smith, a one-man zone if there every was one, is questionable for Stanford today after a head injury suffered against Cal. If he doesn't go, that will help the Cardinal's big man, Josh Owens, who knows a little something about missing time. … OK, it is Saturday, so we have some football news. … Today is the big day for USC, the day the Trojans put the full-court press on the NCAA appeals committee in Indianapolis. … Steve Sarkisian is now UW's man for five more years. What that means. … There have been some changes in Cal's football program after last season's losing record. … Finally, ESPN.com's Ted Miller opens his mailbag once more. Wish he would include a coupon or an ad once in a while. That's all I get in the mail anymore.
• That's all for this morning. There's a game tonight in case you hadn't heard - and it's on TV (FSN). We'll cover it in our usual way. With the 7:30 start, it will push our print deadline, so our second half coverage might be a little thinner than usual though. Until then …