A GRIP ON SPORTS
If I really wanted to take a day off, today would be the day. Nothing much in the way of local stories, not a lot from the local college's conference connections and very little from the professional ranks. But those are often the days when, while trying to find tracings, you end up with nuggets. And we found one. Read on.
• Before we pass along what we believe is the most interesting story of the day – “It is so interesting it reads itself to you,” to paraphrase a national ad campaign – we wanted to check in with yesterday's poll question and pass along another for today. A plurality of you believe, as I write this, Gonzaga will defeat BYU in a close game Thursday night. Add in the folks who believe the Zags will romp and that's nearly two-thirds of the respondents. Probably not a surprise considering this is a Spokane-based website. However, what does surprise me is how many folks picked BYU to wallop the Bulldogs in the Kennel. If that happens, it will be a first. Gonzaga has lost at home, but no one has really blown them out. In fact, the largest margin of defeat was the first loss to Santa Clara and that was by 11. … Today's poll has to do with the Pac-12, because I'm wondering what you think concerning the conference's awards. We talked a bit last week about Brock Motum and if he could win the conference's player of the year honor – he could but he won't – but today we change gears a bit. After reading Bob Clark's Pac-12 notebook in the Register-Guard, I began to wonder who will be the coach of the year. I do believe Tad Boyle of Colorado deserves it, but Cal's Mike Montgomery will be his peers' choice. Anyhow, I'm asking you who you think deserves it, not who will win it.
• Washington State: Now we get to the most interesting story I found today. It has to do with housing near Oregon's new basketball arena and the money behind the new buildings. It came from Pat Kilkenny, who not only was Oregon's athletic director following the ouster of Bill Moos, but has also been a long-time supporter of the Gonzaga basketball program. After reading this story, I don't believe Kilkenny did anything untoward but it sure illustrates why some people seems to make money falling out of bed in the morning. … OK, if you didn't find that story interesting, maybe this one will do the trick. It's a St. Mary's based story from the San Francisco Chronicle, but the reason I'm putting the link in here is because the centerpiece of the report is the Australian Institute of Sports. Yes, the place Brock Motum (and Patty Mills, at right) came from. And it looks as if the AIS may change its emphasis, meaning there might not be as many Australian players available for American colleges in the future. … Christian Caple covers other Pac-12 and WSU links in his morning blog post. Yesterday he also passed along a couple of newsy notes. He'll be busy today because it's a Tuesday, so there are quite a few press events to cover.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan passed along the national poll news yesterday in this blog post. The Zags are nowhere to be found, that is if you don't look in the others-receiving-votes category. … BYU had a scare last week but it looks as if Noah Harstock is OK. … The Zag women are back in the rankings.
• Whitworth: The Pirates will begin the postseason ranked 10th in the NCAA Division III poll.
• Mariners: This isn't exactly Seattle news, but in a way, how Albert Pujols will fare in Anaheim may be pretty important to the M's. … So who will emerge as the Mariners' third baseman? And will Casper Wells be seen in the outfield? How are the arms doing thus far in spring training?
• Sounders: The Eddie Johnson trade still has legs.
• Olympics: One last story from the boxing trials, supplied by the Los Angeles Times.
• That's our report for this morning. We'll be on the radio today (filling in for an under-the-weather Keith Osso) and you can listen here if you want, starting at 3 p.m. We'll be at the Spokane Shock trading camp doing a live remote (that's a radio term I learned recently meaning we get to spend a day out of the cramped studio). Until later …