A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some days there is precision when it comes to choosing the most important subject. Others days it isn't as clear. Today is one of the latter. Read on.
• Oh sure, college basketball is big today, what with Gonzaga and Whitworth playing home games and the rest of the Inland Northwest's schools on the road, including WSU, which is trying to win for the third time ever at Pauley Pavilion. And the Mariners are making news in the run-up to spring training, with the Felix Hernandez deal still in play and the signing of two veteran starting pitchers. And the prep basketball season is rolling full speed into the playoffs. Not to mention hockey, golf, soccer and other assorted sports that compete for our interest. But nothing really demands our undivided attention. Heck, even the Zags, who have a shot at moving into the polls' top five – something, while not unheard of, is still relatively rare enough to bend an eyebrow or two – on Monday, aren't all that interesting, mainly because their opponent today, Loyola Marymount, was on the receiving end of GU beatdown by 45 a little more than a week ago. In Los Angeles.
• We'll be out and about tonight, settling in with our computer at Central Valley, where the Bear boys will host Gonzaga Prep, with the winner taking the district title and moving ever-so-close to a state berth. It should be a fun game – the teams split their regular season meetings – made a little less so by the 8 p.m. start time. Not a big fan.
• Washington State: The Cougars will have to put their all-too-familiar loss to USC behind them quickly as they face the Bruins tonight in Pauley. Christian Caple is in Los Angeles, home of movie stars, smog and the best burgers in the land, and filed this advance of tonight's game. He also held a live chat yesterday and has a morning post today. … A former eternally loved WSU football coach, the always-quotable Jim Sweeney (pictured), died yesterday in Fresno. We have this story and the Fresno Bee – Sweeney left WSU for Fresno State and built the Bulldog program into a well-respected one – has this piece on his passing. … It's Saturday morning, so we pass along Ted Miller's mailbag from ESPN.com. … The Cougar women have won four consecutive conference games. That doesn't happen all that often.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan began the day looking back at the domination of Pepperdine, then finished it off by looking ahead at what's expected to be a domination of Loyola Marymount tonight. … Talk about a tough stretch for USD. Gonzaga, a trip to Loyola, BYU and now St. Mary's. The Toreros are 2-1 though and would like nothing better than avenge a recent thumping by the Gaels. … The stories about BYU's players being older than everyone else's are true. … The GU women have more depth than any college basketball team in the area. Of that there can be no argument. Chris Derrick has a feature on one of the subs that supply that depth, senior guard Meghan Winters (pictured).
• EWU: The Eagles are in Arizona for tonight's matchup with NAU, with the pressure of watching a Big Sky postseason berth slip away on their shoulders. … There is pressure and then there is pressure. … Southern Utah is playing better and face rival Weber State tonight.
• Idaho: Paul Petrino explained to Josh Wright yesterday why he's signed three quarterbacks since he came aboard in Moscow, adding to the three that were already on the roster. … There was a WAC game last night in San Jose. Well, sort of.
• Whitworth: Jim Allen has an interesting feature today on an event that occurred within the Pirate basketball family recently. It pushes the rest of the events, like the recent loss at Whitman, into the background.
• Chiefs: The month hasn't been kind to the Chiefs. Their slow slide continued last night in Kootenay with a 4-1 loss to the Ice. … Portland took the first game of the two-game series in Kelowna, snapping the Rockets' 25-game home winning streak. … Tri-City lost and was leapfrogged in the standings by Victoria. … Both Seattle and Everett also lost.
• Mariners: The M's took another inexpensive chance on a veteran starting pitcher yesterday, signing Jon Garland to a minor league contract. They are still working on deals with Joe Saunders and a long-term one with ace Felix Hernandez. … Ryan Divish has another M's position preview, this one on their catching. … Chone Figgins is now Miami's problem. We're sorry Mike Redmond.
• Sounders: Longtime MLS star Shalrie Joseph is team shopping. It sounds as if he wants the buyer to be Seattle. … The roster is in flux, thanks to a bunch of factors, including Eddie Johnson's national team duty.
• That's what we have this morning. I hope you enjoy whatever it is you decide to do this weekend. Until later …