A GRIP ON SPORTS
I don't remember many more eventful Wednesday in March around here. There was the Cougars domination of Oregon State in the CBI semifinals – basically without leading scorer Brock Motum. There was 729 blog posts from Christian Caple on SportsLink yesterday. And there was the snowstorm that dumped a few inches on my driveway starting last night. Read on.
• Want to see the conditions facing Washington State if it begins spring football this afternoon as scheduled? Check out the camera mounted in Martin Stadium to document the remodeling of the press box. That vertical route could take a while to develop, huh? ... Anyhow, spring football isn't on everybody's mind, right? It's still basketball season in the Palouse. What? Today's the first practice under Mike Leach and in our poll yesterday, the one asking you what you were looking forward to the most, the CBI game or spring football, the answers split 50/50? Well too bad. It's still basketball season as far as I'm concerned. It is after that impressive showing the Cougars put on HDNet. Where to begin? The most impressive thing is how WSU didn't lose heart when Brock Motum went down. That easily could have happened considering many times this season he was the Cougars lone offensive threat. But instead of mailing it in after the injury – he was taken for X-rays last night and his status for next week's final series with Pittsburgh is still unknown – they found players to pick up the slack. Abe Lodwick, with career highs in points (23) and rebounds (12) – and his first double-double. Reggie Moore, Mike Ladd, Charlie Enquist. The team effort led to the 72-55 rout that cleared out Gill Coliseum even before the game begin (just kidding, the sparse crowd waited until after halftime to battle the snow in Corvallis). ... Watched Pitt and Butler play before the Cougars and was really rooting for the Bulldogs. After all, they hammered WSU in Hawaii last season and it would have made for a real interesting rematch in the finals. Thanks to a couple missed free throws late in regulation, it will be Pittsburgh instead. I watched the Panthers manhandle the Cougars in a tournament in Newark in Tony Bennett's last WSU season, though this Pitt group is a pale comparison to that NCAA-bound team.
• Washington State: Christian Caple has everything you could ever want about spring football, finishing up his position previews with a handful of spots from the specialists to the defensive linemen and a lot in-between. Talk about a sprint to the finish. He also has a summary of Mike Leach's press conference, a short post on Leach's spring experiences in Texas, a story in the S-R advancing the spring workouts, a post-game basketball post and his usual morning post that covers all things Pac-12. ... Correspondent Nick Daschel covered the basketball game for the S-R last night. ... A couple more things to point out. How often has the start of spring football in the Palouse rated mention in the Washington Post? It does now. Or with a long, long story on FoxSports.com? ... Western Washington, coached by a former Cougar and sparked by the play of former Cougar guard John Allen, is in the Division II Final Four. ... If you are a women's basketball fan, or a Montana fan, or just like interesting stories, you might want to read this one on Stanford's Joslyn Tinkle. ... And one more thought about Pac-12 basketball.
• Gonzaga: John Blanchette caught up with women's coach Kelly Graves and put together this column on the Zags' success at home over the weekend. One thing to point out. After watching many of the women's sites, the fallacy of pointing out other teams didn't advance at home fails to acknowledge the difference in the crowds. Nowhere was the home team supported with such fervor as Spokane. Not in Iowa, not in Louisiana, not Chicago. The Zags didn't just win because they were playing at home, but it sure didn't hurt. ... Found this story from Kansas on point guard Taelor Karr.
• Idaho: Spring football is starting in Moscow, too, but the Vandals will begin in the Kibbie Dome. Josh Wright has this blog post and story. ... Utah State moved on the CIT by defeating Loyola Marymount in Logan. Loyola coach Max Good seems to think he was homered. In Logan? Never seen that before.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles added to their football coaching staff.
• Preps: Greg Lee is right about the weather in his column. Spring sports in this area are tough. I'm not so sure about the shot clock, though. I've come to accept it, but still wish the high schools didn't use it. I like basketball played with patience. ... One spring sport that gets out a going no matter the weather is boys' soccer, which Jim Allen previews here. His feature covers – I am not making this up – the hair choices of the CV team.
• Chiefs: Jessica Brown has this feature today on defenseman Corbin Baldwin.
• Seahawks: It was a big day in the NFL yesterday – did I mention I can't remember a more eventful Wednesday in March? – though the Seahawks part of it, signing an offensive lineman, was miniscule. ... The big news, of course, was the league throwing the book at the New Orleans Saints and coach Sean Payton. We went to New Orleans for a story and commentary. ... The other piece was Tim Tebow traded to the Jets, so we quickly called up the New York Post, which had a backpage headline about answered prayers, of course. Here is the paper's story.
• Mariners: The season is getting closer – snow in Spokane be damned. ... And in another use of the same word, Jerry Brewer looks at closer Brandon League's struggles and successes, the starting rotation was announced by Eric Wedge and one pitcher was surprised a bit. Other than that, and the M's and Felix getting pounded by the White Sox, not much to pass along.
• That's our overflowing report for this morning. It's another day of NCAA tournament basketball, which makes me happy. Before those games come on, however, I have to read "The Hunger Games." Been ordered by the spouse to read it before we see the movie, so I'll give it an hour or so. Should be able to get through the book in that much time. Until later ...