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A great way to start the weekend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's Saturday. You have things to do. We have things to do. Let's get right to it. Read on.


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• We do have a lot on our plate today, so we're not going to spend a lot of time delving into this issue or that one. And anyway, after reading your comments here, via Twitter, by text and email, I want some time to digest the thoughts before I take on the (lack of) Cougar attendance. And I want to see how many turn out for today's game with Arizona State. So let's get right to the links.

• Gonzaga: The Zags face their toughest road test of what's left of the season tonight and Jim Meehan tells you how tough in today's paper. That was on the heels of Jim's day-after post from Santa Clara. GU has to keep winning to keep pace with a banged-up St. Mary's, which has a BracketBuster matchup with Murray State today. … Former Gonzaga coach Dan Monson seems to have reacquired his mojo at Long Beach State.

• Washington State: As usual, Christian Caple has about all you'll need to get ready for the Cougar game today in this blog post (and this preview). Though I believe Brock Motum is playing as well as anyone in the Pac-12 and deserves a first-team berth (having covered WSU long enough, I won't be surprised if even that doesn't happen), I'm not sure he's done enough to warrant selection as the player of the year. A player on a team well down in the standings has to be markedly better than everyone else to win that award. … Ted Miller returns from a short paternity leave to post his mailbag.

• Eastern Washington: The Eagles will win today. As a loyal UC Irvine alum, I will be rooting for my Anteaters. But as a realist, I understand my old school sucks in basketball. It's just the way it is. If I were within driving distance of the game, I would be there. No doubt about it (and Jim Hayford and the Eagles would hear my voice, let me tell you). But I'm here and the best I can do is root for UCI as I listen to Dennis Patchin's radio call. … Weber State has its BracketBuster matchup with UT Arlington.

• Idaho: Josh Wright has a nice feature on the Vandals' Djim Bandoumel (right), whose journey to the Palouse was a long one. He also has a bit more in this blog post. UI has a BracketBuster game with Portland State tonight. … Utah State's matchup is with UC Santa Barbara. Still can't figure out which brackets these games are supposed to bust.

• CCS: Speaking of long journeys, Jim Allen recounts the one taken by Preston Wynne, who is powering the Sasquatch basketball team.

• Preps: Another night of covering high school hoops for yours truly. We were at U-Hi, where we watched the Central Valley Bears cut down the nets after winning the District 8 boys title. By the way, the boys game tonight is at 7:15. The time inserted in the roundup is not right. … Mike Vlahovich was there as well and has this story on the girls' game, won by Gonzaga Prep. … Out at CV, Steve Christilaw covered the 2A district title games. … Greg Lee is over in Tacoma at the Mat Classic, where Mead has a good shot at winning a title after the first day. There is more on the Classic here from the News Tribune, including this story on Selkirk's eighth-grade wrestler. … The Mead girls won the state 4A gymnastics title. … Coeur d'Alene's girls dropped their semifinal in Nampa and won't be playing for an Idaho state title. Lewiston will be, however.

• Shock: New coach Andy Olson opens training camp today and he wants to get off to a fast start.

• Chiefs: Spokane has a lot of games on the road coming up and the stretch started a bit ominously.

• NBA: if anything will put a fork in the new arena plan, it will be the little things like traffic, congestion and jealous neighbors.

• Mariners: The position players are slowly wandering in to training camp, though the focus is still on the pitchers.

• Sounders: Seattle bolsters its lineup by picking up a veteran forward.

• Olympics: Not everyone at the boxing trials is a veteran, as John Blanchette points out.

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• That's all for today. We will be back tomorrow morning with a lot of links and some thoughts. Yep, we do some thinking now and again. Not that we've ever made a habit of it. 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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