A GRIP ON SPORTS
It is kind of appropriate today is Super Tuesday. After all, around Gonzaga yesterday, it was not-so-super Monday. Not with the men losing the West Coast Conference title game in overtime to St. Mary's. And the women melting in the second half against BYU once again. Not the best day for the folks wandering around Desmet and Cincinnati streets. But there is always a new day. And today our focus can shift to Eastern Washington, in Missoula tonight to face the Grizzlies on their home court. Then tomorrow, the Cougars begin Pac-12 tournament play in Los Angeles. And on Sunday the Zag men will hear their name called by the NCAA selection committee and on Monday, the GU women will find out who they are hosting in the tournament. As of right now, no one else in the area can say that with any assurance. Read on.
• Watching the clock tick down on regulation last night, I thought Gonzaga was going to have to get awfully lucky to force overtime against St. Mary's. But the Zags forced a late turnover, Elias Harris nailed a straightaway NBA-length 3-pointer and, before you could say Aloysius, there was five more minutes to play. And all the momentum was in the Zags' hands. But momentum is overrated. And not nearly as important as good guard play. Which is what the Gaels received all night from Matthew Dellavedova and his running mates in their 78-74 victory. Dellavedova, the WCC MVP (wish I could figure out about another 10 initials to put in there), not only did his usual efficient job running the St. Mary's offense, he also stepped up on the defensive end. The junior will never be thought of as a lockdown defender, but with Stephen Holt still out with a knee injury, Dellavedova took on the responsibility of shadowing GU's Kevin Pangos. And Pangos, the engine of Gonzaga's offense, never really got it going off his 30-point performance in the semifinal win over BYU. With the taller Dellavedova and the rest of the Gaels focused on his every move, Pangos finished 3-of-18 from the floor and hit just one of his 10 3-point attempts (he was 5-of-9 against BYU). Without Pangos as a go-to guy in overtime, the Zags' options on the offensive end narrowed considerably and St. Mary's task was that much easier. ... Now the question is, will the WCC get three teams in the NCAA tournament? The association is making it easier for all of us to play selection committee member these days, putting up all the numbers it supplies the selectors online. You can access the information at this link, where there is a .pdf file under the Men's Basketball Nitty Gritty link. Pretty interesting stuff. If you look at BYU's stat line, you will see there are holes in the Cougars' resume, including a mundane 3-6 record against the top 50. But if you compare them to other western schools (just for fun here – the NCAA looks at everyone; this isn't Division III hoops), they compare favorable to any bubble at-large possibilities. California (2-3) is a bit better against the top 50, but Oregon (0-5), Washington (1-6) and Arizona (1-4) are quite a bit worse. Next Sunday will be fun.
• Gonzaga: If you want to relive what happened last night in Vegas (no, basketball results don't stay there), you can, starting with Jim Meehan's story in today's S-R. Then there is John Blanchette's column about the changing of the WCC guard, for this season as least. ... Bud Withers was in town and has this piece from the Times, while Todd Milles has a story in the News Tribune. ... There are also a couple of stories out of the Bay Area. ... On the women's side, Jim has this story in the S-R and here are Christopher Anderson's photograhs. ... Bud covered the women as well, and there are a lot of items in the Utah newspapers.
• Washington State: Ken Bone chatted with the media via conference call yesterday and Christian Caple has all the particulars in this blog post. He also has the all-Pac-12 news in this short S-R story and blog post, along with links and more in his morning blog post. Did I ever say how ticked I am the Cougars play at noon tomorrow? Well, if I didn't, I've covered that now. ... I found a few other WSU-related items, including this look at Brock Motum's Pac-12 honors from Jeff Nusser at CougCenter. Also, former WSU women's player Kiki Moore was not only the newcomer of the year in the WAC, she was also the MVP. Think the Cougars could have use her? ... I miss taking part in this survey. ... It's not all that long until football season and, as WSU begins the Mike Leach era at his alma mater, we decided we better pass along these stories from the other Cougars' spring practice. Spring must come earlier in Utah.
• Eastern Washington: A big night tonight for the Eagles, who enter the Grizzlies' den (or as most college basketball coaches refer to it, "the (adjective) place where I never get a (adjective) call") for a showdown with Montana. Jim Allen has a preview for you along with a blog post from yesterday and we found a lot of other coverage in the Missoulian (including quotes from EWU coach Jim Hayford) and from Utah. And, oh, we also want to know who you think will win. (Almost 70 percent of you thought GU would win last night. No judgment here, just saying.) ... Jess Brown has the skinny on the Big Sky women's basketball award, with the Eagles' Brianne Ryan being named MVP.
• Idaho: The Vandals announced their 2012 football schedule yesterday and it isn't an easy one. There are three road non-conference games that will test their mettle: at LSU, North Carolina and BYU.
• Whitworth: Somehow yesterday skipped over Jim's story on the Pirates next playoff opponents.
• Preps: There is this nice piece in the Yakima paper concerning Davis 4A boys title and what it means to the area.
• Chiefs: Spokane knows who it will play in the first round of the WHL playoffs. Jess shares the information in this blog post.
• Seahawks: In all fairness, we have to pass along this News Tribune story. Seems the prosecutors in Atlanta said "our bad" after Leroy Hill passed and drug test and dropped all the charges against the Seattle linebacker.
• Sounders: You might think the MLS schedule is the most important to the Sounders. You would be wrong.
• That's what we have for you today. Well, until we start talking on the radio at 3 p.m. With Dennis Patchin in Missoula, we will be on 700 ESPN today and tomorrow. You can listen if you need to breakup your afternoon. Until later ...