A GRIP ON SPORTS
All of you who had Loyola Marymount as Gonzaga's first opponent in the WCC tournament, please step forward. That many? Well, it confirms what I thought. This blog is read by a bunch of untruthful sports fans. Read on.
• Really, hardly anyone thought the Lions would win their first game (over Portland). But when they did, that had to be it, right? USF would knock them out. And surely there is no way they were going to get past Santa Clara last night. Yet they did and now, Loyola, seeded ninth, with an RPI of 223 (out of 347), will be the Zags opponent tonight in the WCC semifinals. Even a win, a big win, can't help GU's drive for a No. 1 seed. But a loss? Well a loss would assure the Bulldogs aren't a top seed and would give the committee an excuse to drop them down to the three or four line. So it is imperative Gonzaga doesn't look past the Lions as Portland, USF and Santa Clara seemingly did.
• Upsets, or more precisely, a string of upsets like the Lions have posted, don't happen as often in the women's game. That's why the Gonzaga women will be facing BYU, the fourth seed, in today's semifinal. Even with a loss, the Zags should have done enough to be in the NCAA tournament, especially considering they will be hosting in a couple weeks. But you never know when the NCAA is involved. Besides, a couple more wins would add a WCC tournament title to the regular season one and make it all the more possible the host's role in the first and second round would lead into possibly playing the next two rounds in Spokane. And that would make the regional organizers happy. Why, you ask? Because ticket sales would be so much greater if GU were involved.
• June Daugherty was well enough to attend Washington State's second-round loss to Stanford last night in the Pac-12 tournament but not well enough to occupy the first chair. Instead, she sat behind the bench. But it really didn't matter. Nothing has ever really mattered when WSU plays the Cardinal, ranked fourth nationally right now. The Cougars have never defeated Stanford in women's basketball, one of the odder statistics in all of sports. They have played 55 times over the years and Stanford has won every time. You would think once in all those years the Cardinal would shoot 8 percent from the field or turn the ball over 147 times or have half the team come down with the mumps or something. But that hasn't been the case. The ball is tipped and Stanford wins. Clockwork.
• Speaking of clocks, you lose an hour of sleep tonight. It's time to spring ahead.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan is in Las Vegas right now, ready to witness the Zags' drive for a top seed and a WCC tournament title. Both are part of his advance this morning and yesterday's blog post. … The former is the centerpiece of John Blanchette's humorous column today. … The semifinal matchups are set with Loyola – who held off Santa Clara in a weird ending last night – and GU on one side and USD – an upset winner over a distraught BYU team – facing St. Mary's in the late game. Probably not the semifinals anyone in the WCC office thought would occur. … Bud Withers has an advance of the Gonzaga game in the Times. … As we said earlier, the women's tournament held to form, with BYU hoping to avenge two earlier losses to Gonzaga in one semifinal and St. Mary's and USD meeting in the other.
• Washington State: Today marks the final home game for WSU's seniors, including one of the Cougars' all-time leading scorers, Brock Motum. Christian Caple, who has chronicled Motum's last two seasons at WSU, weighs in with this must-read feature on Motum, the Australia product who traveled to Pullman mainly on faith four years ago. … Christian also has a note on Mike Ladd possibly being able to play in his senior day game, a morning blog post with links and will have a live chat leading into this afternoon's game. … We pass along this story on the GNAC playoffs mainly because Seattle Pacific was led by Patrick Simon, who would be a junior at WSU if he had stayed. … Here is one man's thoughts on the Pac-12 awards. … It's Saturday and you know what that means. … Chris Derrick was at WSU's loss to Stanford and files this report.
• Idaho: The Vandals host Seattle U tonight in Kyle Barone's final game in Moscow. Josh Wright has this blog post. … A Denver win today not only would draw the Pioneers into a tie for the WAC regular season title but mean Louisiana Tech has a two-game losing streak.
• Whitworth: The Pirates will host Emory tonight in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Jim Allen will be there and he has this advance.
• Chiefs: The Chiefs needed a win. Badly. So Alessio Bertaggia (pictured) scored a hat trick and rallied them to a come-from-behind victory over Everett. Chris Derrick has the story and Jesse Tinsley has the photos.
• Mariners: A new jingle for the Mariners: “Hector Noesi's starting so let's hope it's raining.” Not nearly as memorable as “Spahn and Sain a pray for rain,” but just as appropriate. Noesi was pounded by the A's yesterday but no matter. The 12-1 score was washed away in the fourth by rain. Still, Noesi's spring hasn't been one he'll want to remember. … Want to know what Russell Wilson was like as a youngster? Ask John Hicks, the M's catching prospect.
• Sounders: Though a Tigres player was offsides in their lone goal against Seattle, it was allowed because he was determined not to be involved with the play. Sigi Schmid respectively disagrees. And, after reading his reasoning, I agree with the Seattle coach. … The Sounders have yet to score in two games this season.
• The sun is shining, the temperature is expected to rise into the 50s and there is great basketball on the TV. What to do? I'm going outside. It's just going to be too nice. Until later …