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THURSDAY, JAN. 31, 2013, 7:56 A.M.

It’s time for hoops

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Thursday's are always crowded this time of year with college basketball news. Today is no exception (Question: Does that also prove the rule?) so instead of rambling about the weather or whatnot, we'll get right to it. You're welcome. Read on.

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• Every Wednesday, ESPN.com's Jason King posts something called "King's Court," a notebook of sorts filled with musings on college basketball. Included this season has been a section he calls "Starting Five," in which King lists a well-known college basketball coach and lists their all-time best starting five, along with three subs. An interesting exercise, I grant you, made even more interesting yesterday – and yes, as SpectreCoug pointed out, I had Thursday and Wednesday mixed up this week; no excuse other than the jealousy-inviting one of "when you're retired, every day seems the same" – with the inclusion of Gonzaga's Mark Few as the subject. King's best Few-coached starting five had point guard Dan Dickau, shooting guard Blake Stepp, small forward Adam Morrison, power forward Casey Calvary and center Ronny Turiaf (though I would say Dickau and Stepp were both combo guards in the best sense, in that they could initiate the offense and be the primary shooter in the same possession). His reserves were point guard Jeremy Pargo, shooting guard Matt Bouldin and power forward J.P. Bautista. A solid group, no doubt, but one that seems to overlook just as good, if not better, players. We discussed this at length yesterday on 700 ESPN, as I tried to make a case for Derek Raivio (pictured) as the backup point guard and Keith Osso and Rick Lukens bringing up Matt Santangelo (the school's all-time assist leader), Richie Frahm (both of whom played a year for Few, which allows their inclusion) and Cory Violette as others who are worthy of discussion. When it comes down to it, I can't argue too much with the starters but I would have either Santangelo or Raivio as the backup point (and Raivio's career free-throw percentage of 92.7 would probably be the tie-breaker for me) with Frahm as the backup shooting guard. We also discussed the possibility of Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris being on the list at sometime in the future. What do you think?

• No, I did not forget it is Super Bowl week, and, yes, I have a couple stories to pass along. If deer antler spray isn't the breakout star of this Super Bowl, then Ma and Pa Harbaugh certainly are. And if you know someone who is only going to be watching Sunday because "that Blind Side guy is playing," don't tell them Michael Oher hates that sort of thing.

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• Washington State: As you may notice, the old 7:30 p.m. start time for college basketball games are a thing of the past. In most cases these days around here, it's either 6 or 8, with a few 9 p.m. games thrown in. Tonight it's the Cougars turn to start their game with Arizona State at 8, meaning Christian Caple will be pushing deadline. Poor Christian, he can't even write some of his story at halftime, because, as this piece shows, recently the first half hasn't had much correlation to the finish for WSU. Christian also has the usual summary of the weekend and his morning post. ... Football is also on the docket, with Christian catching up with former Cougar coach Paul Wulff, who has a chance to earn a Super Bowl ring.

• Gonzaga: The amount of things to link this morning concerning the Zags is unbelievable, starting with Jim Meehan's advance of tonight's game at Loyola Marymount, which also starts at 8. Jim also had a blog post yesterday, along with the summary and the lead item in our college basketball notebook in today's paper. ... ESPN not only chips in the story we linked above, but Andy Katz has a note on Harris. ... Bud Withers examines the improvement in Kelly Olynyk's game in today's Times. ... St. Mary's stayed hard on the Zags' heels with a tough-it-out 67-63 road win at USF. ... BYU tries to stay within shouting distant when it plays Pepperdine. ... Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating is going to bribe the Bronco students to come to a game. ... Jon Wilner has his WCC power rankings. ... On the women's side, the GU women will host Loyola Marymount (and first-year coach Jackie Stiles, who lit up the Arena in a regional a few years back) tonight at 6. Chris Derrick has an advance along with more in this blog post. ... Finally, former Zag Austin Daye was part of a three-team trade from Detroit yesterday.

• EWU: The Eagles host Montana State tonight at 6 (see what I mean about the 7:30 start?) and Jim Allen has a feature on Kevin Winford to get you prepped. He also has the weekly summary.

• Idaho: The Vandals meet injury-riddled Utah State in Moscow tonight (hey, it starts at 7:05; that's closer to 7:30), giving Idaho coach Don Verlin a chance to earn a win at the expense of his former boss, Stew Morrill. Josh Wright has the summary of the weekend.

• Preps: Greg Lee noticed the spate of ACL injuries suffered in the prep ranks this season and started looking into the matter. The result was this story on the players dealing with the injuries and some discussion on the prevalence of them. ... Greg chips in with a notebook on today's Prep Page, which also includes Mike Vlahovich's story on the SWABs youth winners (and his piece on the 25-year awards, which used to be given out at the now-defunct youth awards banquet). ... We can pass along the boys and girls Washington prep polls.

• Chiefs: Spokane didn't play last night but Portland (it won, but not by shutout) and Tri-City (it won as well) did.

• Seahawks: Wave goodbye to linebacker Leroy Hill, who doesn't seem to be in the Hawks plans for next year after another arrest. ... Matt Flynn and Charlie Whitehurst. Two quarterbacks with similar value. Really?

• Mariners: The last of the arbitration-eligible M's is no longer in that category as Shawn Kelley and the team reached agreement yesterday.

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• Once again we'll be on the radio at 700 ESPN, so if you are so inclined between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., you can listen here. If not, then our plan is to be back here tomorrow. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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