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Gonzaga is trending up

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is sort of an eclectic mix of stories available today, though they follow three main trends. If Gonzaga wins both games this week, will it be ranked No. 1? Are the Mariners really improved? And, who will win the prep basketball tournaments? Read on.


••••••••••

• The short answers: Probably not, at least a little and who knows. The longer answers …

• The Zags face a tougher foe this week than BYU at home on senior night. And that's a tough task. The Bulldogs can win that game and their senior night against Portland during the afternoon Saturday and still not be No. 1 next week. Wait, aren't the Zags No.2 now? And didn't top-ranked Indiana lose to a struggling Minnesota team last night? Yes and yes. But lurking at No. 3 is Duke and all the Blue Devils have this weekend is No. 5 Miami at home. Even if the Zags win both, my guess is the winner of that ACC showdown will leap-frog GU and be No. 1 in the polls next week. Unless of course Duke loses at Virginia tomorrow night.

• It's spring training for goodness sakes. Every team in major league baseball is improved right now. But, even with the usual spring-training-added-distance-to-the-flying-baseball rule in effect, it does look as if the M's power numbers will be improved this season. That's a good thing. Now if the revamped starting staff can actually get through the sixth inning occasionally during the regular season, then there actually can be some improvement.

• One of the best aspects of prep basketball is its unpredictability. Past success isn't a predictor of future results, that's for sure. So it seems silly to prognosticate about the winners this weekend. However, I will say this. When the nets are cut down Saturday night around the state, you will observe smiles with enough wattage to light Safeco Field.

•••

• Gonzaga: One of the nice parts of having the Bulldogs face BYU this week is there are lots of stories from Utah. Of course, they are about the Cougars and their senior night. Though, as you will see, there is a little more than that. … Bud Withers has some thoughts on the possibility of Gonzaga ascending to the top spot in the polls next week.

• Washington State: The Cougars aren't back in action until the weekend at UW, so Christian Caple has his morning blog post and not too much else. Wait, coach Ken Bone held a news conference yesterday and Christian passes along what he had to say in this blog post.

• Idaho: Though a losing season is winding down, the Vandals have a lot to play for. Josh Wright tells us just what in this blog post. Idaho's Jessica Graham is the subject of Chris Derrick's women's basketball notebook and blog post. … Denver faces a key stretch. … A Utah State player is just happy to be here.

• Chiefs: The Chiefs were not in action, but they lost ground anyway when Tri-City rallied and defeated top-of-the-heap Portland. … Edmonton crushed Seattle yesterday.

• Preps: Today we have the big and small of it. The big, as in big schools, is Greg Lee's feature on the Central Valley boys. The small, as in small schools, is Jim Allen's look at Reardan's girls and their recent run of success. … Greg will have more on the 3As in tomorrow's paper and I will examine the 2B boys. … The Seattle Times covered the 3A tournaments today, with summaries of the boys and girls and other items.

• Mariners: This feature on Robert Andino, one of the new Mariners, is worth reading. … The idea of players hiring their own skills instructors is still being debated. What’s the big deal? Players have had their own instructors for years. It's just another word for dad. … Justin Smoak (pictured at the top of the post) went deep in the eighth and the M's won their fourth consecutive game. … The changeup has always – always – been a great pitch.

• Sonics: Sacramento is trying to fight back, but the city has one hand tied behind its back.

• Sounders: There are still roster questions to be answered, among other things, as the Sounders prepare for the start of the season.

•••

• It's already Wednesday, which means the state tourneys begin tomorrow. We'll be in the Arena bright and early. By the way, I love the sound of the word eclectic. Just saying. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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