A GRIP ON SPORTS
I can't prove it, because I'm not a computer doctor, but I'm afraid my computer-machine-thingee caught a virus over the past few days. Running hot, battery problems, slow to get moving. Yep, all the earmarks. But after a day spent reloading the system file and downloading the newest versions of my favorite software – by favorite, I mean most used; there is no value judgment here concerning anyone's products – my machine is back in fine fettle. Which means I can return to writing my drivel for you. Read on.
• We're not going to drivel a lot today, mainly because we have a retired life to get to and I have a lot of plans for this first post-Super Bowl weekend. But we do have a few thoughts. … Each of the local college basketball teams face important games today, though all for varying reasons and all with different goals. We'll start with the most crucial game, tonight's faceoff in the Kennel between Gonzaga and Loyola-Marymount. It's an example of why I love college basketball. After winning what may have been their most important game of the season, the Zags turn around and play … yep, their most important game of the season. It fills that role because if they don't win, then all the work they put in to win Thursday against St. Mary's is thrown away, as useful as, well, my dad had a saying about a body part bull's didn't really need, but we can't use it here. Just figure it had something to do with being immaterial. So the Zags must win tonight. … Then there are the Cougars, who need to follow-up their best effort of the season with anything but a stinker today. They don't necessarily have to win – that will be a tough task against an Oregon team hitting on all cylinders at home right now – but they need to compete, paving the way for next weekend's home games with the Arizona schools, part of a three-game homestand. … Eastern is in the hunt for the postseason, but the Eagles task tonight is as tough as it gets, what with a road game against Big Sky-leading Weber State. One thing going for EWU is Weber played Thursday night at Northern Arizona, so its prep time has been limited. … Finally, Idaho may be the hottest team in the area after pulling out another win Thursday. Louisiana Tech should be just a bump in the road tonight at home. If it isn't, that's not good. … One last note for those of you who root for sports teams (that would be most of you, wouldn't it?). Read this column from the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke. You'll be glad you did.
• Gonzaga: We can still savor the win over St. Mary's a bit, what with Jim Meehan's day-after post, but the Zags don't have that luxury, not with a Loyola team coming to town with an unblemished WCC road record. Jim has that story as well. … Elsewhere in the conference, there is not a lot. BYU gets back at it by hosting Pepperdine today.
• Washington State: Christian Caple has the usual Saturday advance and he also has his morning links (where you can find all your Pac-12 news). But the most interesting thing for me was yesterday evening's blog post, with the revealing fact he ate at Sonic for the first time. What a small-town kid. Actually, he shares his interview with D.J. Shelton. … For your reading enjoyment – and to get you ready for the game – we offer this AP feature on E.J. Singler, the engine of Oregon's attack. … Folks in San Francisco are a little peeved Klay Thompson doesn't have a chance to participate in All-Star weekend. … ESPN.com's Ted Miller once again opens his mailbag.
• Eastern Washington: Believe it or not, this is the Wildcats final conference home game of the season. They are battling Montana for the right to be the Big Sky Conference's tournament host, so they need to protect their lead before they head on the road for the rest of the Big Sky season.
• Idaho: Though we don't have a Vandal story to pass along (though we do have a Josh Wright blog post), we can give you this one out of Utah. It looks as if tonight's game in Logan could get a bit ugly.
• Preps: Greg Lee checked in with the end of the GSL regular season in this blog post yesterday.
• Chiefs: Spokane may not play its best against the WHL's also-rans, but it is learning how to win those games. Jess Brown has the story from Friday's 5-4 win over Seattle.
• Mariners: As pitchers and catchers arrive in Arizona today, Larry LaRue has some questions the team needs to answer over the next few weeks.
• With no Cougars on TV today – the Pac-12 Network just cannot arrive fast enough – we're not sure how our basketball time will fall today. But we will be watching some and sharing our comments – and some of those from the S-R's writing staff – on Twitter (@vinceg55). Until then …