A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's always good to have a checklist for a Sunday. If you don't, the whole day could get away without anything accomplished. You know what I'm talking about. Things like “sleep in” and “make coffee.” “Read the newspaper” has to be there somewhere – if you are over 40 – and “avoid housework,” that's a given. Well, we had a checklist for the weekend and, guess what, we have been able to accomplish a lot. Read on.
• We still have one big accomplishment to check off today, but we'll get to it tonight: “Watch the Academy Awards and make smarmy comments.” I have a feeling, though, I am going to enjoy Seth McFarlane as host – yes, I like Family Guy – though I can't abide American Dad – and thought Ted was a good 45-minute movie that lasted twice that length. But anyway, back to the items I've been able to check off already …
• “Watch Gonzaga rout San Diego.” Check, though I really didn't watch in the sense of seeing the game live. Got an offer at 3 p.m. of two tickets but had to turn it down because I was already at Mt. Spokane, getting ready for a previous engagement, covering the 2B boys basketball regionals (or whatever yesterday's games are called). Anyhow, I watched the GU game on my computer and what I saw was the Zag score rising quickly and San Diego total not as fast. It's pretty obvious Gonzaga is playing its best basketball of the year right now, which is a good time to be doing that. As our friend John Blanchette wrote in his column about yesterday's game: “The final score was 81-50. That made it the nail biter of the week.”
• “Watch the Cougars play hard and lose.” Another check, but once again I only saw bits and pieces. But like any of the Die Hard movies, once you've seen the original, the sequels all look the same. Even the outcome is predestined. Only, for Washington State fans, no matter how many shots the good guys fire off, the bad guys win. Every time.
• “Watch high school basketball.” OK, this was easy. I was getting paid. Though the two games I sat through yesterday were painful to say the least. Mismatches always are, for me at least. I feel for the team getting pounded (I've been on that end of it, once losing a church league game 132-34 as a high school kid; our team was so bad when one of the opponents, while guarding the ball after scoring, said “check” to my teammate, and the guy actually gave him the ball; just thinking about it now makes me shake my head). Both St. George's and Colfax played exceptional basketball yesterday but their opponents were just overmatched.
• “Spend time with Kim.” Thankfully, check. As you know, I love basketball. And so does my life partner. But, then again, I wasn't stupid. We met while I was a student volunteer assistant with the UC Irvine women's basketball team (that was 1978 if you are wondering – “Title IX? What's that?” – and the Anteaters had a paid head coach and no other staff; that coach, Millie Burns, recruited three students to help and I had some experience – that church team I mentioned early? I was a player/coach, though the final score listed above wasn't anywhere on my resume) and Kim was a player. Thirty-five years later we're still wasting time in gyms.
• Gonzaga: The Zags haven't wasted any time in gyms recently. Every second must be productive the way they are playing. Jim Meehan was productive too, he had time last night to not only write his game story and the day-of blog post, but to finish his day-after blog post as well. … John Blanchette was in attendance and has this column, centered on former Zag assistant Billy Grier's assessment of this year's team. … Colin Mulvany has a photo story. … St. Mary's boosted its NCAA at-large chances with a dominating win over Creighton. … Santa Clara shook of its dominating defeat by GU – part of this blog post – and defeated Portland. … The Gonzaga women quietly did something they couldn't do last season. They won at BYU. The victory clinched the outright league title for GU, which will be hosting an NCAA tournament sub-regional as a participant, I'm about 99 percent sure. I do pity the Zags' first-round opponent a bit.
• Washington State: As we said, the script was the same, other than the 12th-ranked Wildcats dominated from the get-go in WSU's eighth consecutive loss. Christian Caple was in Tucson yesterday and filed a pregame post, his game story, a tale of the tape and a post this morning after catching a late flight.
• EWU: Speaking of playing their best basketball of the season, the Eagles may be doing just that as well. They certainly did a nice job of keeping Sam Houston State at bay yesterday in their BracketBusters win. Jim Allen was in Cheney where the Eagles set a couple records, blocking shots at an impressive rate. He documents the win. … Portland State won its BracketBusters challenge as did Weber State while Montana fell in overtime at Davidson (pictured) in a game Kim and I watched while eating barbecue. Now that's a good way to spend a lunch hour.
• Idaho: The Vandals made it tougher than it probably needed to be, but they pulled out a BracketBusters win at Idaho State. … Utah State had little trouble in their BracketBusters challenge while Denver won as well.
• Whitworth: It's on to the NCAAs for the Pirate men, as usual, and the women as well, which isn't as usual. Steve Christilaw has the story of the men's easy win at home and it accompanied by a short piece on the women upsetting Lewis & Clark to earn an automatic berth.
• Preps: Besides our coverage of the 2B, there are boys' basketball stories from just about each classification. … Greg Lee was at the 3A boys, in which U-Hi earned a berth in Tacoma (pictured) though Shadle Park came up short. Tyler Tjomsland was also there and has this picture story. … Central Valley traveled across the state to earn another trip across the state. … Pullman is headed back to the 2A tourney. … The 1B boys tourney in the Arena will be lacking local flavor. … Post Falls boys qualified for state 5A hoops while the school's wrestling team finished second in state.
• Mariners: Jason Bay is doing his best to launch a comeback with the M's, making a point yesterday in his first spring at-bat by launching a baseball into the seats during the Mariners' exhibition win. … Jon Garland wants to write his own comeback story. … Spring is so cool. … Felix Hernandez threw again. Hope there won't be a blog post after each of his bullpens. … There were positive signs yesterday.
• Seahawks: Russell Wilson might just be the exception that proves the rule.
• Sounders: A title is a title, right? Even if the title is of an exhibition season event? Well, the Sounders won the Desert Diamond title yesterday and Sigi Schmid had some comments about it and the roster.
• That's enough for this morning. I still have some check marks to make. And I still have to write some checks. “Pay bills” is on my list. Until later …