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It’s high school state tourney time

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really contemplated just sleeping in until about noon today. After the weekend we had in Spokane – there is about a foot of snow on my back deck, though that's mostly in a pile pushed up against the railing due to the wind – and the probable lack of news to pass along, I thought it would be permissible to just skip out on my morning post. But after heading downstairs to let the dog out and seeing the beautiful weather – bright sunshine reflected on pristine snow – it was easy to sit down in front of the computer. Now if there were just more news to pass along. Read on.


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• I watched the Academy Awards last night and was sort of hoping a winner from “The Artist,” whether it be the star, the director or maybe even a producer, would step up to the microphone and just mouth their acceptance speech. You know, do it silently. But alas, not to be. And I do have a bone to pick. The Associated Press called it the first silent movie to win Best Picture since “Wings” way back when my dad was a kid, 1929. Well, I distinctly remember a dog barking, a phone ringing and a couple of words spoken, so it really wasn't a “silent” movie, was it? … OK, I know you don't come here for a dissertation on the movies, or nitpicking about them. But before we move on to sports, one more movie note. Yep, we are officially a basketball-oriented blog. “Hoosiers” was your choice for the best all-time sports movie, earning more than double the votes of the next-favorite flick. My guess is a lot of us identify with Dennis Hopper's character in the film. Wait, that's just me? … By the way, I found this link today while looking for stories and thought I would pass it along. It's a pretty extensive list of all the best sports movies over the years.

• OK, back to the main reason for this blog, sports. As you might have guessed, there is Oscar talk here because the rest of the pickings are kind of slim. The Daytona 500 was postponed by rain, defense was banned at the NBA All Star game and Cal laid an egg in the Rockies. What else do you want to know about? The state basketball tournaments? Our version of “Hoosiers?” OK, we can do that. Before we get to the links, I would like to lend my voice to an issue that's raised hackles throughout the high school basketball community: The eight-team format. I'm against it, and I'm for it. Let me explain. I covered or attended the 4A and 3A tournaments for many years and can say with the certain degree of certainty the Friday morning games of those tournaments, the loser-out contests, were as boring an event as one will ever experience. No fans, often disinterested players, cavernous arenas. Getting rid of those games is fine by me. But to do that, in our everyone-has-to-be-treated-equally society, meant diluting the best event in the state: the small schools' state tourney. The B has always been worthy of a 16-team, double-elimination tournament. And was even after it was divided into two parts, though a lot of schools that made it to Spokane and Yakima may not have been state-tournament worthy. The atmosphere was not what it was but was still impressive. But, alas, if you delete the 16-team tourney for one, you have to delete it for all. It's only fair, right? Ya, in life, one company goes bankrupt, so every company in that industry is shut down, right? What, it doesn't work that way? So why don't our educational interests – of which high school athletics is part – just teach life lessons. The bigger school tournaments, which were losing money, should have been pared down. The smaller schools' celebrations – which is what they were ­– should have continued on. I know, someone might have sued, citing equal opportunity, but really, is there equal opportunity now? There might be more kids in one 4A league than there are in all the state's small schools combined, so those kids don't have the same opportunity to play in a state tournament anyway.

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• Preps: We'll start with the high school kids because the Washington state tournament basketball draws were held yesterday. Our Greg Lee has all the schedules on his blog post (he also wants to know who you think will win) and examines the success of the Spokane Valley schools. … Searched around the state and found a few more stories on the draws, from the Puget Sound area through Yakima, Tri-Cities and beyond.

• Gonzaga: The Zags say goodbye to their pair of seniors tonight, Rob Sacre, who has been in Spokane seemingly as long as the clocktower, and Marquise Carter, who transferred in from junior college. Jim Meehan has the all the particulars on their swan song in the Kennel against Longwood. … He also had a day-after blog post from Saturday's win over San Diego. … BYU is looking forward to its first WCC tournament in Las Vegas and back to the decision to join the conference in the first place.

• Washington State: There is a bit of news on the Cougar – and Pac-12 – front and Christian Caple covers it all in his morning blog post. The Huskies are in control of the conference heading into the final week. … The WSU women lost – again – to UW, but the 34-game losing streak pales in comparison to their ineptitude against Stanford. So take that Huskies. … Jim Moore is struggling with his WSU fanaticism once again. … Andrew Luck showed off his athleticism at the NFL Combine yesterday and though it might have surprised some people from back East, it doesn't surprise us, does it? … Finally, Jon Wilner has some thoughts on the weekend's news.

• Eastern Washington: Nothing from the Eagles today, but Montana is getting ready for tomorrow night's big showdown with Weber State.

• Mariners: It seems like a good day to look at a couple of young players, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak, and see how they are doing.

• Sounders: Like a lot of people I know, Seattle's trip to Mexico wasn't good. And now they are sick. Yep, just like a lot of people I know.

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• That's our report to start off the week. No radio today, but we're on the rest of the week. And we'll be in the Spokane Arena helping with our B Tournament coverage, starting with the Lake Roosevelt vs. Northwest Christian quarterfinal game. Yep, the 9 p.m. game Thursday. Love a challenge. 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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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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