A GRIP ON SPORTS
Do you know by the end of the week the forecast calls for temperatures in the high 50s in the Inland Northwest? High 50s. Golfing weather. Wonder if I can lose 20 pounds by Friday? Read on.
• I do believe I wrote something about the State B tournament being a harbinger of spring around here, but we won't gloat. The tourney is done, the weather is getting better and that's enough on its own. Maybe it will hit 60 on Friday. Nothing better than the first 60-degree day of the year. It is shorts weather. ... Speaking of nice weather, it's supposed to reach 77 in Las Vegas today and the same in Los Angeles, where the Gonzaga and Washington State basketball teams are – along with the S-R staffers assigned to cover their games. Lucky folks. ... Speaking of basketball, tonight's grudge match between St. Mary's and Gonzaga's men – don't they meet every year in the WCC title game? – should be fun to watch (it's on at 6 p.m. on ESPN). Though both teams can expect their name to appear next Sunday when the NCAA tourney is announced, when you reach the leave the Zags and Gaels have, seeding is as important as just making the tournament. Mark Few is right on something he says every year, the NCAA tournament is a bit of a crapshoot. Who you play can have a big part in how far you advance. And the better the seeding, the better chance a team has of playing teams they can defeat, especially in their second game. So tonight is crucial in that regard. Win and the Zags' seeding might be a line higher than if they lose. And one line can make all the difference in a couple weeks. ... So what do you think will happen tonight? Will Matthew Dellavedova and the Gaels play like they did in Moraga and hand the Zags their sixth defeat of the season? Or will it be more like the game in Spokane, when Gonzaga dominated en route to victory? Let us know. By the way, the logo on the court that caused a bunch of players to slip on Saturday? It's gone. Thank goodness.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan is in Vegas – hope he still has the wherewithal to return home after having a somewhat free Sunday to wander around the city that never sleeps on a chance to take money from your pocket – and has an advance of the St. Mary's game in today's paper. ... He also has a preview of the Gonzaga women's finals matchup (noon, ESPNU) with BYU. The women, specifically Taelor Karr and her transfer from Kansas State, are also the subject of John Blanchette's column today. ... Bud Withers has a preview of the men's game in the Times. ... The rivalry is a bit different from the St. Mary's side. ... The BYU women know an NCAA berth is on the line today and it might be their only path to the dance. ... The BYU men think they are in, but aren't all that sure. ... Former Zag Grant Gibbs and Creighton are having a lot of success.
• Washington State: Christian Caple has almost everything you might want in the way of WSU and Pac-12 coverage today in his morning post, but we always search for something a bit different and we found it last night. It's a story on former Cougar football player Tyson Pencer, who just may be the top pick in the CFL draft this year. One thing the story doesn't do get right – besides calling Washington State the Huskies – is it doesn't catch the depth of time Pencer missed due to injuries. In his time in Pullman, he missed practice a lot more than he ever found the field through no fault of his own. He just was injured a lot. But, when he was at practice, he could dominate at times. And he also made the loudest noises, by far, when leaning over a trash can. ... There is also this short story on the Pac-12 tournament matchups after California folded against Stanford, allowing Washington to win the conference title outright. Coupled with Arizona's inexplicable loss to Arizona State, the conference's chances of getting more than two teams in the NCAAs seems all but gone. Jon Wilner has some thoughts on this. ... Missed this Friday (how could I?) but Ted Miller opened his mailbag. ... The Pac-12 announces its all-conference awards today and Christian will have the news.
• Eastern Washington: The Big Sky's final four begins tomorrow night at Montana and though we don't have anything on the Eagles, we do have this piece out of Missoula. Michael Weisner is a Walla Walla product with lots of Spokane ties. Eastern will face Montana on Tuesday. ... Weber State, which led the conference most of the season, will get as far as Damien Lillard carries them.
• Idaho: The WAC announced its all-conference honors yesterday and four Vandals earned recognition.
• That's it for this Monday. No radio today, but we'll be back on the air on Tuesday, filling in for Dennis Patchin, who has to head to Missoula in his second life as Eastern's play-by-play guy. Until later ...