A GRIP ON SPORTS
Really, don't have any sharp hook this morning. I'm afraid my mood is as drab and dreary as the weather – it's raining pretty hard here in Spokane. Why is spring such a tease? One beautiful day followed by this? Hey, I'm semi-retired now, Ms. Nature. It's OK to have sunny days during the work week. Read on.
• Want to know one thing I've realized since leaving the Washington State beat? OK, I'll keep it to myself. No, I won't. I realize watching a WSU event for those of us who live 80 miles up U.S. 195 is not an impulse buy. Say my plans for this evening are cancelled – and I do have a commitment for tonight – and I'm available to fill the role as Cougar fan in their CBI finals date with Pitt and coach Jamie Dixon. All I would have to do is get in the car and drive the hour-and-a-half to Pullman. Now that's not something you do on impulse. At least I don't. How about you?
• The Cougars have made the most of their CBI appearance, that's for sure. An impressive road win at USF. A home victory. Another win over Oregon State. And now the finals with Pittsburgh, which spent Sunday in Spokane. But can WSU win this title without leading scorer Brock Motum, who probably will not play after spraining an ankle in Corvallis last weekend? If I were a betting man, I would put my money on no. But I'm not a bettor and, anyhow, who wants to hear anyone's opinion on the CBI final series? Wait. I know. A poll. That's the ticket.
• Washington State: And now there is one. One Inland Northwest college basketball team still playing. The Cougars host Pitt tonight in Beasley, the first time since the founding of the conference a sitting member of the Big East has come West to play WSU in its home arena. Christian Caple has that information in this blog post, along with his advance in today's S-R and his coverage of the Pac-12 in his morning post. … He also has some football news, with this video of linebacker Eric Oertel, the Wisconsin product that has bounced from side-to-side in his WSU career. If Oertel stays healthy, he has a chance to help the defense. … Back to hoops, we also ferreted out two Pitt stories from the city's news outlets. … March Madness seems to be everywhere. Everywhere but in the ranks of the small colleges.
• Gonzaga: The Zags' season finale also meant the end of the career of a handful of seniors, three of whom – Kayla Standish, Katelan Redmon and Kelly Bowen – played a huge part in GU's success over the past few years. When everyone wondered if Gonzaga could overcome the loss of Courtney Vandersloot to graduation this season, few realized the importance of senior leadership. That's the thrust of Jessica Brown's feature from Rhode Island, complimenting her game story. I will add this. Next year's Gonzaga team is going to be markedly different from the last two editions, that's a given. Whether it will continue to be as successful will be fun to find out. … We also have this gallery of photos from Colin Mulvany to offer. … There is a photo gallery from Kentucky as well, along with a couple stories, including a gamer and notebook, from the Lexington newspaper.
• Preps: Mead' Jordan Rogers proved once again this weekend he's one of the best wrestlers in the nation.
• Mariners: One more exhibition game, one more loss for Seattle. The Japanese adventure is not off to a solid start. … No worries, as Art Thiel writes, the M's have a “historical” player. And if the losing continues, the fans might just get hysterical. … Speaking of historic, we found this feature on Felix. … And the A's? They expect to be the afterthought when the two-game, season-opening series starts Wednesday.
• Seahawks: Need an NFL fix? We have it for you in the form of a feature on new Seahawk quarterback Matt Flynn. You're welcome.
• Nice to know the sun is as tired as I am. As we said above, after a day shining brightly in the yard, it's back under cover today. We're going to do the same. Until later …