A GRIP ON SPORTS
No, it's too warm to be Christmas. But it feels like it a bit around here. The new Mariners' commercials are out. Read on.
• Did you think I was going to begin with a post-mortem of the Cougars' loss? I guess I can, though what is there to say? This edition of Washington State basketball never quits, never stops fighting and rarely wins? It's easy to praise them for digging out of a 19-point deficit and tying the Huskies down the stretch, but doesn't the converse have to be true? Don't we have to at least tisk-tisk a team that falls 19 points down to an-average-at-best UW team in the most important game of the year? A team that seemed hesitant to share the ball early, didn't seem to want to battle on the boards or close out on shooters? The deficit was embarrassing and, to give WSU the credit it deserves, the Cougars were embarrassed enough by it to do something about it. They battled back. They shared the ball, they rebounded and they shut down the UW offense. All things that win basketball games. Except games in which you dug a Crater Lake-deep hole. Still, the Cougars had the ball, the game was tied and they couldn't get over the hump. Then they had the ball, they were down by two and they left it in the hands of a Pac-12 officiating crew. Ask Colorado how that worked out for it at Arizona or any of about two-dozen other schools in the past couple years. That's not a wise move. Not after all the energy you've expended to get even. Do the things that you had been doing for the past 10 minutes. Don't let anyone else decide the outcome. Ah well, the season is over. It started poorly off the court, was marred by tough-to-overcome injuries and a long losing streak and so I guess it's appropriate it ends the way it did. Now the next week or so will be filled with speculation about Ken Bone's future. Let's hope it doesn't last too long. No one enjoys that.
• Now back to the Mariners. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the team's management is at least it picked a marketing firm that has fun. And boy do they have fun with their commercials. We put one of them above and you can see the rest here. Enjoy.
• Gonzaga: I looked and looked and looked and I couldn't find anything about the Zags today. Until I checked our front page. Kelly Olynyk is a first-team All-American, Sporting News division.
• Washington State: Christian Caple is in Vegas – I've heard he's made so much money playing craps he's retiring from full-time employment and will take over this column "just to keep his hand in" – and had his usual in-depth coverage of the Cougars' defeat. That includes a game story and a pregame blog post, a tale of the tape and a morning post today. ... John Blanchette is also in Vegas – I've heard he's lost so much money playing craps he has to take over this column "just to make ends meet" – and he has this column concerning the loss and Bone's future. ... Jerry Brewer has a column about the game in the Times. ... Michael Cooper has resigned as USC's women's basketball coach. There is a history between myself and Cooper dating back to our days growing up in Pasadena, but we won't go into here. Not enough time this morning.
• EWU: The Eastern women had little problem with Montana State in the Big Sky Conference tournament at UM yesterday.
• Idaho: Christian did double duty yesterday, also covering the Idaho women's WAC tournament opener. He'll also be in attendance today when the men play their first game in the last WAC tournament in this configuration. Josh Wright put together an advance and a blog post. ... San Jose State has decided to change basketball coaches as it prepares to enter the Mountain West Conference. ... Denver is on a roll.
• Whitworth: Longtime successful soccer coach Sean Bushéy has decided to say goodbye and move to Colorado.
• Preps: Greg Lee looks back at the winter tournaments in his column today but most of the Prep Page is dedicated to looking forward. Jim Allen does that with soccer, not only with this feature on defending GSL champion Mead but also with a look at the GSL and GNL races.
• Mariners: We have more than just the commercials today, of course, but with another loss yesterday – the M's sixth in the last seven games – that's the highlight of the day. ... Jason Bay is doing whatever he can to make the team, including batting leadoff. ... Another young relief pitcher is making an impressions.
• Seahawks: Speed on offense and special teams? With the acquisition of Percy Harvin you can check that box. Speed on the edge to rush the passer? With the signing of Cliff Avril (pictured) you can check that box as well. ... Of course, the Hawks did lose someone to free agency yesterday but they are not done trying to fill their holes. They have money because of Russell Wilson. Of course. ... Denver signed Peyton Manning last offseason and that earned the Broncos one less playoff win than the year before. They signed Wes Welker away from New England yesterday so that means they'll probably miss the postseason this year.
• Sounders: Still basking in the glow of the CONCACAF Champions League win, Seattle announces it will be hosting a couple of Gold Cup matches this summer. ... The Obafemi Martins saga continues to stretch on and on. ... One man's MLS power rankings.
• Sonics: Want to see what the inside of the new arena will look like? You virtually can.
• Another Thursday is in the books. And I do believe we can say it was the warmest Thursday morning of the year. There is a chance the high temperature will hit 60 today which means spring football must be just around the corner. When it can snow again. Until later ...