A GRIP ON SPORTS
It was kind of odd last night, while watching the NBA draft, to be interrupted with a World Cup discussion. But I guess that's where we are right now. Read on.
• And I'm not talking about a cut-in to ESPN's World Cup coverage, which would have been expected. I'm talking about Bill Simmons (pictured celebrating a Celtic draft pick), Jalen Rose and Jay Bilas discussing the World Cup outcome yesterday. You know, how the United States lost 1-0 to Germany but still moved on to the knockout round. At least the basketball guys, who made no bones about rooting for the U.S. if not soccer, didn't get all huffy about the idea the U.S. could lose and still win. Basketball people don't, at least those who have ever been involved in tournaments. Actually, anyone who has ever been involved in any sport with pool play understands. Just check a tournament at the Warehouse some time. There are big boards with results on them and, usually, a bunch of parents and coaches gathered in front, trying to do math. Yep, math is important kids. You have to figure out if your 13-point victory in the first game, minus the nine-point loss in the second game, is enough to move you to the elimination round ahead of the team you have to play in five minutes. A win might not be enough. You might just have to win by more than x-amount of points. Or, as often happens, a loss won't knock you out – as long as you don't lose by more than x-amount of points. Yep, it happens all the time. It's the nature of tournaments. But a lot of people, not schooled in the finer points of competition, got all indignant yesterday when the U.S. moved on. It's not one game folks. It's your body of work. And the United States' body of work was better than Portugal's body of work. End of story. Now figure out another reason to disparage the sport. That one doesn't work. Unless you want to pull in basketball, baseball and just about every other sport that plays tournaments.
• WSU: A lot of Pac-12 news today, including the changing of the athletic director guard at California. Sandy Barbour is out. … ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog looks at receivers and running backs around the conference. … The blog also rates the hot seats of the conference's coaches. … Want to win a national title? Might want to attend a Pac-12 school. … Former WSU basketball signee Tramaine Isabell will attend Missouri.
• Gonzaga: A Gonzaga fan might want to head over to St. Mary's this weekend and boo. It's alumni weekend and Matthew Dellavedova and Omar Samhan will be in attendance.
• Ironman: The grueling event is this weekend and Jim Meehan has a feature on a woman who will be competing with a little more weight – figuratively – to carry than most folks.
• Hoopfest: It's the 25th year of the world's best 3-on-3 basketball tournament, so John Blanchette gathered some memories and presented them in the form of vignettes. We will add our favorite memories tomorrow morning before we head downtown to watch more memories made.
• Sounders: Speaking of sellouts, the U.S. Open Cup match with the Portland Timbers is also sold out. … Sigi Schmid plays analyst and gives you the rundown of the match with Germany. So does John McGrath but he focuses on the road ahead.
• Sorry for the late post. I must have needed the sleep, and the rain helped that happen. It better go away soon, as the volunteers need to get Hoopfest set up. Rain is not conducive to putting tape on the streets. Until later …