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A shining Saturday night

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was a pretty fun five hours or so last night, other than all the commercials and the usual over-the-top CBS promotion. But the national semifinals were once again can't-miss television, with Kansas rallying down the stretch to upset Ohio State and Kentucky winning state bragging rights by holding off Louisville. If the past is any guide, the Jayhawks just clinched the national title, as sooner or later the NCAA will find out the Wildcats did something untoward and John Calipari's team will have to vacate its 37 (or 38) wins this season. Though Calipari will probably be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers by then. Read on.


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• It was well worth spending a Saturday night at home – other than the moans and groans we had to deal with from the basement where the Sounders fans of the area gathered to watch their team's 1-nil loss to San Jose – in front of the big TV, as the action from New Orleans seemed to explode throughout the night. Or maybe that was the Grey Goose talking. Just kidding. Anyhow, adding to the enjoyment of the semifinals this season was one of my favorite movies on another channel, allowing me to switch during timeouts, and the addition of a Twitter feed from New Orleans, which allowed me to realize once again folks at home get a better look at games than reporters in attendance (yes, the lane violation call was right, though the late travel on Kansas' Jeff Withey, which I watched four times in real-time and slow motion, didn't look like one to me). But still, I couldn't wait to get up this morning and run down stories to read, like these columns and notebooks and other coverage from the Kentucky newspapers, where the intrastate rivalry is a hot as anywhere. And then I was able to cruise to Ohio and Kansas for more on the second game. Pretty fun stuff.

• Only a couple years ago, the Spokane Chiefs returned from Canada in a best-of-seven WHL series having just won game five to take a 3-2 lead. Will history repeat itself starting tonight in the Spokane Arena? In 2009 the Chiefs lost games six and seven and their season came to an end. Do you think it will happen again?

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•••

• Washington State: The Cougars scrimmaged in Martin Stadium, with the in-progress press box and premium seating area looming over the proceeds like a vulture in the Arizona desert. Christian Caple was there and has a post-practice blog post – there's video! – and a story to share. He also has his usual morning post with all the links you should need from around the Pac-12 and Pullman, along with a story in today's S-R on Ryan Leaf's travails and the possible fallout. … The Cougar men's track team had a productive Saturday at UCLA, winning a double dual against the Bruins and Tennessee. Reading the short story we had immediately brought back a flood of memories of watching UCLA meets with my dad, who always brought his stopwatch. Just about every year we headed to Westwood when Stanford was in town, as dad was a childhood friend of coach Payton Jordan. Good times.

• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan takes one final look at the positives and negatives of the Zags' 2011-12 basketball season.

• Idaho: The Vandals scrimmaged for the first time this spring on Saturday and Josh Wright was in the Kibbie Dome for the SR. He filed this story for the paper. Also in attendance, former WSU wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller, who I expect will be announced as filling the same role at UI sometime this week.

• Eastern Washington: The Eagles will start spring football Tuesday and Jim Allen previews what ahead for them. 

• Chiefs: Jessica Brown will be in the Arena tonight – along with a few members of the Grippi family – as the Chiefs look to close out the series. She has this story in today's S-R and had a blog post yesterday. … History is also on the Giants' minds today as well.

• Mariners: The major league baseball season begins in earnest this week (no, earnest isn't another province of some foreign country) with games starting Wednesday. The Seattle Times devoted a lot of pixels today to the road-weary Mariners and the season ahead, the stories from which we link thoughout this sentence. … The M's flaunted spring training rules yesterday, playing young kids exclusively in the field – Kevin Millwood, who has more big league experience than the rest of the lineup combined, did the pitching ­– in a 6-1 win over the Padres.

• Sounders: It's always easy to tell how the Sounders are doing from the cheers of exaltation or the loud criticisms of the refereeing coming from downstairs. Last night, it was more of the latter, as Seattle fell 1-0 on a penalty kick the fans in our house certainly did not agree with. The Times even has a poll on the subject and the News Tribune had a photograph of the play in question.

•••

• That's our report for this Sunday morning. Until later … 


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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