OK .. we're ready to take on the world, or at least our world of women's basketball.
As you all know by now, Gonzaga is sacrificing the hoopla of heading off to an exotic site for the NCAA Tournament to sleep at home. There are other things to check out as well, including some unhappiness in Iowa City. Read on.
In Iowa, the Hawkeyes are considering themselves underdogs. Listening to the selection show, which warned UCLA that Gonzaga was capable of the upset, didn't really sit well with the Hawkeyes, which is understandable. But what Kelly Graves said, about that putting a bulls eye on the Zags, “We didn't say it. That's someone else's opinion.”
You can read as much about the NCAA Tournament as your heart desires at many places, like ESPN.com, where the Spokane Regional took some heat. It's not for Gonzaga being home for up to four games … that will come later if the Bulldogs win their first two … but for putting Stanford and UCLA in the same region, as well as Baylor and Texas A&M in Dallas. … Our friends from Xavier aren't happy about being sent to Spokane, even though they're a two seed. The Muskateers, who have split with Gonzaga the past two tournaments, have already been thundered by Stanford once this season. Of course, they maybe should have beaten the Cardinal last year. … Ann Killion has a ton of notes at Sports Illustrated.
As for Iowa, well, sorry. You can lament the bad break, but you can't whine - and there is a difference. Those are the rules. Get by that 8-9 seed game the years you hosted, you get a No. 1 on your court. You can't ask for any more than that. Underdogs are lucky to get a shot at a top dog on a neutral court, on your home court, well, that's a program maker. By the way, I'm not saying they're whining, they might even use the road game for motivation, but that's just how the women's game is played.
Montana is taking inspiration from Montana State … the Bobcats lost at UCLA by 10.
Of course I had to ask Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves about Tia Jackson's resignation/dismal at Washington after four losing seasons. Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelly threw Graves' name into the mix. Graves was aware of it but had no comment on it other than to say he was focused on the game with Iowa. Of couse Graves' name comes up with every opening in the west. Well, other than the name, the Pac-10 isn't that special. It is definitely the sixth of the six BCS leagues. Graves rebuilt the Zags, doing that in the Pac-10 may mean finishing second every year … now that's a challenge, but is that what a dedicated father and husband wants to do for what might not be enough more money to make living in Seattle worth it. More later.
Idaho is going to the Women's Basketball Invitation, make that going to be in the WBI but going to South Dakota. I hope Vermillion S.D. is a great place to spend St. Patrick's Day. (I was in Ireland once on that day and it was a grand time, but did not involve green beer.)
Portland State is headed to Wyoming in the WNIT … as two GSL girls add to their Big Sky Conference record. Lexi Bishop and Kelli Valentine set the Big Sky’s all-time record for games played on Friday against Eastern Washington, appearing in the 125th game of their careers. They now have played in 126 games after facing Montana on Saturday.