A GRIP ON SPORTS
You know what I always miss in mid- to late-January? Playing golf. Read on.
• It's not really golf I'm missing. It's the sun. The way it beats down on your back and head and arms, warming your blood and the world around you. The way everything is green and welcoming. The way you can step outside barefoot to pick up the paper. You know, all those summer things that seem so far away right now. I'm not complaining about the cold, mind you. It is what it is. And right now it is basketball season, a time of year I love. But I miss golfing on a warm July day, with the smell of pine trees filling the air and the sound of obscenities emanating from my playing partner. The little things. I'm sure a nice warm wind sweeping up from the south would be appreciated right now, not with the expectation of getting outside, but just as a sneak preview of the summer-to-come. A trailer, if you will, for the Technicolor achievement that is June, July and August. You know, when I can write a lead-in complaining about how hot it is.
• Kim and I were in our usual seats last night, watching the Gonzaga women dismantle BYU from the get-go. It was such a blowout at one point, I pulled up the book I have been reading on iBooks and got a couple chapters in during timeouts. But this being the 2012-13 version of the GU women's team – and not the 2010-11 – BYU was able to make a run thanks in large part to some poor shot selection by the Zags. A 15-0 streak pulled BYU with eight at one point of the second half and forced coach Kelly Graves to burn three time outs in the course of a couple minutes. Really, how many times does a coach have to say "run our stuff, take your time, get the ball inside and quit taking 3s in transition" to a group of players before it sticks? Well last night the answer to that question was three. When the Bulldogs put that advice into practice, they pulled away again.
• Washington State: The "new" Pac-12 includes the occasional Wednesday-Saturday basketball weekend. WSU is in one of them right now, waiting a day longer than in the past to play its second game. The next opponent is Colorado, the most disappointing conference team thus far. Christian Caple has his morning post and mentioned the Buffs in yesterday's live chat. ... One subject that didn't come up, because the news broke later in the afternoon, is the status of former WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf, who did something that got him kicked out of prison rehab and ticketed for the general population. ... I missed this earlier in the week, but I wanted to pass along Jon Wilner's power rankings because it includes the Pac-12's records against other conferences.
• Gonzaga: Because we were at the women's game, we only were able to see some of the second half of the men's game against Portland – I don't know about you, but that was more than enough time to "appreciate" the ROOT broadcast; I'm sorry but you don't need to spend so much time comparing David and John Stockton, among other sleep-inducing drivel. Jim Meehan was in Portland for the entire game and filed this game story along with a blog post last night with more. He'll be along today with a day-after post as well. ... There is also Nick Daschel's game story from the Oregonian. ... BYU believes its Wednesday night loss to St. Mary's really hurt its NCAA chances. ... Santa Clara routed USF last night. ... Chris Derrick was in McCarthey and has the coverage of the women's game, which includes a postgame blog post. Colin Mulvany also has a photo gallery. ... We also found this piece from Salt Lake City on the game and a feature on one of the BYU players.
• EWU: It surprises me sometimes that accidents like the one Eastern suffered prior to Thursday's game don't happen more often in collegiate sports. After all, the teams travel so much the odds are that occasionally something unforeseen will occur. The traffic accident one of the Eagles' vans was involved in cost their two starting guards at least one game. And helped contribute to Eastern's defeat at the University of North Dakota. ... There is starting to be some separation in the Big Sky standings as Montana and Weber State won again last night. Northern Colorado also posted a slight upset of Portland State in Greeley.
• Idaho: Now that New Mexico State has handed Utah State its first WAC defeat, Louisiana Tech and its 6-0 mark is atop the conference standings. Tech is there thanks to UI's largesse Thursday night in the 72-66 defeat. We have a story and Josh Wright adds more in this blog post. We also found a story from Louisiana.
• Chiefs: Kelowna is tough as nails at home. We'll see how it plays on the road tonight in Spokane. Chris Derrick has an advance of the Chiefs' stretch that sees them play five home games over the next nine days.
• Preps: A quiet night with the high schools, with a wrestling roundup as the main attraction.
• Seahawks: Now that Gus Bradley has left to become Jacksonville's head coach, Darrell Bevell is the longest tenured of the Hawks' coordinators. Though new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a history with Seattle.
• According to Weather.com, the high today in Spokane will be 36 degrees. A warm spell is upon us. But still not golfing weather. Oh well. Only three or four months to go. Until later ...