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SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2011, 8:54 A.M.

Game day at WSU with UCLA coming in

COUGARS

There are all the usual links this Saturday morning, the type you would find here every week. But, with spring football kicking off around the West soon, the NCAA asking Oregon for some documentation – what, the Ducks are going to be deported? – and some commotion in Pullman on Thursday night, there are some out-of-the-ordinary links as well. Read on.

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• Washington State: Where do we start? We had our advance, which covers the basketball end of today's game. But that is intertwined with the Klay Thompson news, which was covered yesterday in a variety of posts. Besides the news – here is how it affects UCLA – there is commentary from our John Blanchette and from the Times' Bud Withers. ... CougCenter weighs in with some thoughts on how Thompson's suspension will affect WSU today. ... All the news is taking some of the spotlight away from today's senior day ceremonies. What, you say, WSU's roster doesn't list any seniors. True, but junior walk-on Ben Loewen, who graduated from Spokane's Mead High, is a senior academically and has decided to move on, so he'll be honored. And manager Mike Simonson is also a senior, so he'll get the special treatment soon. Though neither are stars, both contribute behind the scenes to the team's success. Loewen, who might appear in his 10th game this season today due to the injury to Reggie Moore and Thompson's suspension, comes to practice every day, dons the scout team jersey and tries to imitate everyone from Isaiah Thomas to Brandon Smith. The better he is at his job, the better the starters are at defending or attacking Loewen's doppelganger. As for Simonson, he's in charge of WSU's video, a job that is a staff position at a lot of schools. He spends hour after hour taping practices, cutting game tape into manageable scouting and teaching segments and making sure the coaches and players can access whatever they need whenever they need it. Simonson is as focused on his job as any of the players or coaches are on theirs. ... By the way, if you are going to the game today, the marketing department wants you to wear gray. ... With spring football set to open Monday (we posted Paul Wulff's thoughts yesterday), we will have a long post here tonight, but to whet the appetite, here's a piece from Rivals that you can read. And chuckle a little at the Louis Bland reference.

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• Around the Pac-10: The NCAA on Friday asked Oregon for some documents concerning its relationship with a recruiting service. The Duck administration is quickly complying, and sharing the information with everyone. ... It's senior day around the conference as well, so there are a lot of senior stories – and by that, I don't mean what's bantered around at McDonald's at 6:37 a.m. There are two for Washington, one in the Times and one in the News Tribune. The Huskies host USC, who is trying to keep its faded NCAA hopes alive. ... Though Oregon is at Arizona, which is saying goodbye to its senior, it's all about Joevan Catron as he nears the 1,000-point mark. ... California and Stanford square off in a game that has meaning for Washington State – if the Cougars can win. ... Last year at Wells Fargo Arena, Oregon State shot, well, like WSU did this year at Oregon. The Beavers are hoping there is no repeat as ASU honors its seniors. ... Here is one man's all-defensive team. It just shows you, when you see a team twice a season, how guys play in those two games can color your opinion. For example, last year Venoy Overton was a pest against WSU. This season, he was a defensive liability for UW that the Cougars took advantage of time and again. Based on those two games, there is no way he belongs on an all-defensive team.

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• That's it for this morning. The game is early today, so our next post will be as well. 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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