A GRIP ON SPORTS
The clock was winding down. The visiting team from down the road was leading by a couple and had the ball. It was a chance to pull an upset that would reverberate throughout the L.A. basin. Then they “Anteatered It.” Read on.
• Doesn't have the same ring as that other phrase that is so well known around here, does it? But the theory is the same. And maybe it's why I had some sort of cosmic connection with all the WSU fans over the years. See, my alma mater, UC Irvine, has never been all that good in basketball. Heck, its best teams were in the 1970s (when former AFL commissioner Dave Baker and former BYU coach Steve Cleveland were the stars) and the early 1980s (when two-time AP All-American Kevin Magee shined). Since then, there have been some decent years (and a win over UCLA), but nothing special. So games like last night, when the Anteaters invaded the new-look Pauley Pavilion and had a chance to upset the highly ranked Bruins, were few and far between. What made it even sweeter (or, eventually, bittersweet) was the game was on the Pac-12 Network. I could watch. Which I did, off and on. It was just hard to watch the Eaters compete, knowing what was coming. No matter how many points ahead UCI was, I knew that sooner or later they would Anteater It. Sound familiar? Sound depressing? It is. So when the Eaters took a lead in the closing minute, I didn't get too excited. And when the Bruins tied the games with a few seconds left, I didn't get too depressed. But when sophomore Will Davis went to the line with two seconds remaining in regulation and the game tied, I allowed myself a small glimmer of hope. One free throw was all that was needed. One. That's not that hard, is it? I picked up my phone. As soon as the Eaters won, I would call my sister and rub it in. Big mistake. There is always a price to pay for hubris. Or being an Anteater fan. Davis' eyes were as big a Thanksgiving plates. There was no way he was going to make either of the free throws. He didn't. And I turned off the TV. I knew what was coming. The Anteaters would keep it close in overtime but lose. They did. Cougar fans, I understand.
• Washington State: Tuesdays are full days in Pullman, especially when football and basketball seasons overlap. For example, Christian Caple spent time with Ken Bone at his press conference – resulting in this blog post and this advance of tonight's game with Utah Valley – then followed that with the Pac-12 football conference call – resulting in this notebook in today's paper. Then there was football practice – resulting in this blog post. … Christian also has his usual post this morning. … It's the first day of the fall signing period for basketball and the Cougars are expected to sign three players. … Speaking of recruits, quarterback Tyler Bruggman is still committed to the Cougars.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan took some time yesterday to look back at the rout of West Virginia. … The Bulldogs aren't the only WCC team to have a good start to the season. … USD is hosting a strange tournament. There are five teams.
• EWU: A winning tradition can be as important to a recruit as the coaches, school or anything else. If you don't believe me, read Jim Allen's feature on Eastern linebacker Tyler Washburn. … With so much at stake, is it possible for the Eagles to look past Portland State? Not likely, according to Jim's story. … Jim also has links this morning.
• Preps: A former Mead High star enjoyed a long and fruitful tennis career.
• Shock: The AFL schedule is out and the Shock start with three road games. Yes, that's sort of odd.
• Seahawks: Though it is a bye week, there is some Hawk news. Well, make that ex-Hawk (and ex-Husky) news. Former UW and Seahawk tight end Jerramy Stevens (pictured) was arrested yesterday. Nothing new in that. But the odd thing is it was for domestic violence. He allegedly had an altercation with his fiancée, Hope Solo. Yep, Hope Solo.
• Sounders: If Seattle can somehow advance in the MLS playoffs, it will take something historic. Like a 4-0 win. Can the Sounders pull it off? Sigi Schmid and the more than 40,000 who will be in the stands must have some hope.
• That's it for this rainy, cold, depressing Wednesday morning. The rain and cold are quantifiable. The depression is personal. Damn basketball. Until later …