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Same battle, different night

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There were two local college basketball rivalry games this week and there was a big difference between the two games. Though that difference wasn't on the court. Read on.

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• Last night Idaho traveled to Eastern Washington to face the Eagles, a game that is scheduled to be a conference matchup in a couple years (if Idaho's football-fueled conference future doesn't change between now and the fall of 2014). As happened Wednesday night in Pullman, when two Inland Northwest schools get together (and last year at GU when Eastern visited and recently in Pullman when Idaho came by), there is usually a tough, tight game. And there was last night, with the Vandals rallying for an overtime win. But the difference between Wednesday and Thursday was more than just 24 hours or so. There was a completely different atmosphere. And that's too bad. There were almost 10,000 in Pullman for the Zags and about of a tenth of that number in Cheney. Plus, if you didn't want to make the drive to Pullman, all you had to do is turn on ESPNU and there was the game, in high-definition if you have it. The Eastern/Idaho battle? I couldn't get out to Cheney last night so I listened to Larry Weir on 700 ESPN and read Jim Allen's tweets. It wasn't the same. Is it no wonder the big schools in big conferences with big media deals attract the big-time players? But I do believe a change is coming. It won't be all that long now when video will become so widespread that every college basketball game will be on somewhere and easy to access. Of course, the ying to that yang is how it will affect live audiences, already under siege from media sources. We'll see – and yes, that was an intended pun.

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• Washington State: It was a light news day in Pullman and Christian Caple admits as much in his morning blog post. He does have some links and I'll throw in one more. ... Remember how Colorado thought it had Butch Jones locked up as its football coach? He is the new coach at Tennessee.

• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan had more, much more, on GU's last-second victory in Pullman in this blog post. But that doesn't end the Gonzaga coverage. ... Bud Withers has his thoughts on the Bulldog victory and what it means. ... And Jay Bilas on ESPN.com looks ahead to Illinois on Saturday, his game of the weekend.

• EWU: Jim was busy in Cheney yesterday, writing this feature as a runup to Saturday's FCS quarterfinal with Illinois State and holding a live chat here on the blog. He also has the basketball game story and a brief on a football award. ... The Pantagraph (what a great newspaper name) has this story on the Eagles' two-quarterback attack (both pictured above).

• Idaho: Paul Petrino's staff is getting fuller and fuller. Josh Wright has the most recent update in this blog post.

• Chiefs: It had been 22 games since Seattle had won in Tri-Cities, but the Thunderbirds earned the win on Teddy Bear Night. ... The Winterhawks have a real talent.

• Preps: Thursday is a wrestling night in the Inland Northwest and we have this roundup. ... Idaho schools now have the option to play six-man football.

• Seahawks: There are two schools of thought today in the Hawks' coverage. There is the unexpected injury that's limited Kam Chancellor in an already-depleted secondary. And there are the two views of a couple of rookies who have solidified either side of the ball.

• Mariners: The winter meetings may be over, but the Hot Stove League is still burning up. Should the M's go after Josh Hamilton (pictured) or not? It will cost a ton of money to entice the oft-injured slugger to the Northwest but what the heck, it's only money, right? Isn't that what most folks said when they signed Chone Figgins? Little did we know how that would be used as an excuse for the next few years. Let's hope Hamilton wouldn't be a repeat. ... Jason Bay was inexpensive. ... Speaking of Figgins, er, Michael Bourn, his options are dwindling. That's always good for Seattle. ... The M's did some housekeeping yesterday.

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• That's our Friday morning report. We got hit with some snow midway through my Internet search today, so I had to stop and watch it come down. I am always excited by the first real snow of the season. It's the little kid in me (though I weigh enough, there might be a half-dozen little kids hiding in there). I will say, though, it didn’t last long and is already melting away. Thank goodness. Until later ...




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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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