A GRIP ON SPORTS
When you get to this point in the NCAA tournament – the Elite Eight – the talented teams usually rise to the forefront. Not always, of course. But usually. This season is one of the usual ones. The lowest-seeded team still alive? Wichita State, a ninth seed. Read on.
• Though we haven't covered it much here – it isn't what you would call a "local" Spokane story – the journey of Florida Gulf Coast has been fun to watch. But, sadly, the ride ended in the Sweet Sixteen last night, with Florida shooting down the high-flying Eagles. Sad? A little. More than that, though, it's always fun when a George Mason or a VCU or a Butler (the first time) fights its ways through the second weekend and into the Final Four. It won't happen this season – I'm sorry, but I just don't see Wichita State in that category; maybe it's because the Shockers are not a double-digit seed or maybe it's because they are a program that I've known as really good for a few years now – and that takes a bit of the luster off the final weekend of the tournament.
• The women's NCAA regional comes to Spokane today, hosted by Washington State. There are two Pac-12 schools (Stanford and Cal, seeded one-two respectively) and two SEC schools (Georgia and LSU). If this were a football tournament, I know who I would favor (though Georgia vs. Stanford would be a toss up these days), but it isn't. And women's basketball is one of the Pac-12's strengths. After watching Georgia last weekend and Stanford earlier this season, I would put my money on the Cardinal. ... With the regional here, we have stories to pass along. Jim Allen has an advance of the LSU/California game while Greg Lee previews the matchup between Stanford and Georgia. The duo also combine on a notebook. We also can pass along this John Blanchette column and stories from the Mercury News on California and Stanford.
• Washington State: Though spring football is scheduled for this morning, Christian Caple's morning blog post has some basketball news. It looks as if the Cougars have picked up another point guard, this one a junior college player with some history. ... A couple of Cougars earned spots on the ESPN Pac-12 blog's all-interview team. ... Another Western Washington (or as it should be known in basketball circles: WSU West) story.
• Gonzaga: One WCC team is still playing basketball. BYU and Tyler Haws are headed to New York.
• EWU: One Big Sky team is still playing basketball. Weber State is in the CIT final four.
• Preps: As the weather warms ups, the tennis players take to the court. Steve Christilaw has a story on a longtime tennis coach.
• Mariners: One thing we know. Felix Hernandez thinks the M's will be good. That's something, isn't it? ... Larry Stone breaks down this year's Mariner team as compared to last season's. His edge goes to 2013. ... Stone and Geoff Baker answered questions yesterday on a live chat while Ryan Divish did a similar exercise on his blog. ... Finally, I dare you to read this and not agree with it. The Mariners need to retire Edgar's number now.
• Seahawks: Though there really is no other backup for Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are about to complete a trade of Matt Flynn to Oakland. Seattle will get draft picks in return. ... An interesting discussion here.
• That's it for now. It is going to be a near-picture-perfect day here in Spokane, so I think I will enjoy that. I hope you enjoy your day as well, no matter what you have planned. Until later ...