A GRIP ON SPORTS
When I awoke this morning, something felt different. No, the knees still hurt. And the waistline hadn't shrunk. But something was strange. Was the sun actually brighter? Were the birds really chirping louder? Did the air seem fresher? Yes. It is Super Bowl Sunday, when a Disney-like aura surrounds everyone in the world. I almost broke into song. Read on.
• Too much? You're right. But before we go any further, I have this great link for you. It's from the Seattle Times and it contains a handful of today's better commercials. Spoiler alert. If you watch them here, you, of course, won't see them for the first time during the game. However, if you do know what's coming, you can use the facilities while the rest of the family wonders where the heck you went. For my money, I like the Seinfeld one the best. … Yesterday was a big day in college hoops – I read online where there were more Division I games scheduled for yesterday than any day of the season – with the locals featuring two typical results – Gonzaga defeating Pepperdine and UCLA coming to Pullman and winning – and two upsets – Idaho snapping Nevada's 16-game winning streak and EWU losing to Sacramento State at home. Plus, in the games I watched, the area's two highest ranked teams, the Gonzaga women and Whitworth men, both won, though the Pirates had to work hard to chase down a victory. Basketball is at the center of today's report, but we also have other links for you as well. And, as a special bonus attraction, we have the Seinfeld Acura commercial here as well, just in case your are too lazy to follow a link. Yes, we are full-service morning report.
• Gonzaga: Yes, the Zags won, 72-60 over Pepperdine. But, as Jim Meehan relays in his game story, the Waves battled back in the second half and made it interesting, cutting a once-commanding GU lead to two. The trap game – it is sandwiched between BYU and St. Mary's – couldn't catch the Bulldogs, though, as they pulled away down the stretch. … Elsewhere around the WCC, BYU went to Portland, felt at home – including getting all the calls – and won easily, shooting 53 free throws in a 79-60 win. … The Gonzaga women hosted USD, one of the better defensive teams in the WCC, and ground-out a 69-58 victory. Jess Brown was there and has this game story (and a blog post from last night that roundups the area's women's basketball). John Blanchette was there and has this column. I was also there, sitting next to Kim, a season-ticket holder, and admiring not only her – I always do that – but the energy of the 5,829 in attendance. … The BYU women, who are chasing GU in the WCC standings, got back on the winning track, routing a St. Mary's team in Provo. The Gaels are the only team to beat GU in this WCC season.
• Washington State: Christian Caple has all the coverage you need of UCLA's 19th consecutive win against the Cougars on the road, what with his game story, his post-game blog post and his blog post from this morning. I covered five of the most recent wins and attended another trio of the games, so I can tell you it's a weird winning streak. For some reason, the ball always seems to bounce the Bruins' way when they need it. One thing I wanted to point out from Saturday is WSU drew just 4,204, a really small crowd for a Pac-12 weekend game when the weather is nice and the driving was easy. It's also 1,625 less than the GU women drew. … The Los Angeles Times, still one of the nation's premier newspapers, didn't send anyone to cover it – or hire a freelancer. The Times ran this Associated Press story. … Mike Leach and the Cougar staff was in the Tri-Cities recently on their statewide, wave-the-flag tour. … Steve Gleason's story is going to be on the Super Bowl pregame story. … A couple other Pac-12 items, including Ted Miller's Friday mailbag which, horrors, I missed yesterday. There is an interesting WSU question. … And Jeff Tedford is getting blistered for not being Twitter savvy.
• Idaho: It was a good day on the basketball court for the Vandals, who went to Reno and won a jackpot, defeating Nevada, 72-68. Josh Wright has this blog post on the win and we have this story. There is also this game coverage from the Gazette-Journal. … Utah State didn't have as good a weekend, losing again, this time 60-54 at Fresno State. … The Vandal football program needs some stability according to Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles had a horrendous start and couldn't pull off a miracle finish, losing 75-71 to Sacramento State in Cheney. Jim Allen has this game story. … The Eagles are tied in the Big Sky standings with Portland State, which snapped a three-game losing streak by stopping Northern Arizona, 76-65 in Flagstaff. … The Eagle women, playing in front of the largest crowd in Sacramento State history, still pulled out a 90-84 victory.
• Whitworth: We were in the fieldhouse last night to watch the 10th-ranked Pirates hold off Pacific Lutheran, 82-80. Here is most of the story we wrote. … The News Tribune has more on NWC play, including the PLU women rallying past Whitworth.
• Preps: The GSL made up games postponed due to a January snowstorm and Central Valley made the most of it, defeating Ferris 75-58 to remain in first place. Greg Lee has this story. … It's wrestling's district time in Washington and Mike Vlahovich has this story.
• Seahawks: Just one piece of big news on this Super Bowl Sunday. Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy was elected to the pro football hall of fame yesterday.
• That's what we have this morning. Now it's on to the Super Bowl buffet. Until later …