A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some mornings you just feel like whining a bit. But what good would that do? The day is still going to happen. And you are going to be a part of it. It's better than the alternative, right? Read on.
• There is no way I wanted to get out of bed this morning. Everything ached and I didn't get enough sleep. But if I didn't pull myself out of the warmth of two blankets and a comforter, who would ruin your morning with snarky comments and pithy remarks? I have a duty here, you know. And boy is there a lot to be snarky about. Any moment now I'm going to be receiving a text message from my best friend, a USC alum, concerning the Trojans win in Pullman last night. After covering the Cougars for half a decade, I guess I have to accept some responsibility for their lackluster – is that a nice enough term? – basketball of the last couple seasons. Mea culpa. And then there is the interesting schedule the WCC has decided upon for its postseason basketball tournament. Yes, I know, I sound like a scratched CD. I ripped the conference for its regular season schedule and now I'm complaining about the postseason? Lighten up Francis. But, really, play one round of the tournament, take a day off, play another round, take a day off, play another round. Now that's how you build excitement. Somehow it must be my fault. So I'll accept the blame and move on. But at least the WCC lets everyone into its postseason tournament, giving each an equal chance to earn the conference's automatic NCAA berth. The same can't be said of the Big Sky. An 11-team conference somehow has seven teams in the postseason? Seven? Why not three or five or nine or, here's a novel idea, all 11? Five games separate the top team – Weber State – from the 10th team – Idaho State – and the conference is going to have the top seven play for the automatic berth? Heck, last night, Southern Utah, arguably the worst Division I basketball team in the nation and winners of exactly zero Big Sky games coming in, upset third-place North Dakota, possibly the hottest team in the conference recently. But the conference doesn't want the final four teams in the standings to have a postseason shot? OK, OK, there is something to be said for the regular season results have great weight, but the last couple spots might be decided by a made-up tiebreaker, not head-to-head, as would be the case if the tournament included everyone. I'll stop there. I have some personal grievances to air (including a total computer crash for the first time in years), but I'll keep them out of this forum. After all, you don't want to hear someone else's whining. It's hard enough to deal with your own, right?
• WSU: The Cougars had a golden opportunity to end their long losing streak, but they fell, 79-68 to USC and dropped into a tie for last-place in the Pac-12. Jacob Thorpe was in a nearly empty Beasley last night and he has a game story and interviews from coach Ken Bone and a couple players to pass along. ... Jacob also has a video interview of Deone Bucannon, one concerning WSU's Hall of Fame candidate and this morning's post. ... All was not lost for WSU last night, however, as the women raced past Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament's first round (pictured). Thomas Clouse was in Seattle and has this story. ... In football news, ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog looks at a key position for WSU next season: cornerback.
• Gonzaga: The top teams in the WCC had the night off, but they did find out who their foes would be when the quarterfinals resume Saturday (for the men) and tonight (for the women). Gonzaga's men will face a guard-oriented Santa Clara team, which got past Pacific. In the other game, Loyola Marymount upset Portland and moved on where the Lions will face BYU. ... The Gonzaga women will match up with San Francisco, which defeated Loyola.
• EWU: The Eagles kept their tournament hopes alive with a 77-69 win over Idaho State. Now all they have to do is hand league-leading Weber State a second consecutive road loss or hope Sacramento State defeats Montana State at home. Jim Allen has the game story from Thursday night's win in Cheney and a story explaining how Eastern can earn a postseason spot. ... Montana won last night and moved into second place. ... The Southern Utah upset of North Dakota has to be the most surprising result of the conference season. ... Portland State upset Weber State and stayed in the postseason hunt. ... The Eastern women lost on the road to Idaho State.
• Whitworth: The NCAA Division III tournament starts tonight for both the men and women, with both also facing familiar foes. Thomas Clouse has an advance of the games.
• Preps: There must have been about a jillion words written about high school basketball last night and we supplied our fair share. Greg Lee is in Tacoma for the 4A and 3A tournaments. The only winner from the GSL last night? The G-Prep girls. The Prep boys, U-Hi and Shadle Park boys and the U-Hi girls all lost. ... Lake City moved on to the semifinals of the Idaho State 5A boys tournament but Post Falls lost. ... We also can pass along 2A boys and girls stories along with stories from the 2B boys, the 2B girls, the 1B boys and the 1B girls. There are also summaries available for all the B games and a whole bunch of photographs. ... Mike Vlahovich has an obituary of one of the area's great track coaches, Howard Dolphin.
• Seahawks: The big news yesterday was ESPN reporting Michael Bennett is not going to sign with the Hawks but will explore free agency instead. That means the defensive line could very well lose another key element. Or not. We'll see.
• Mariners: Yes, the Mariners won again yesterday, actually rallying for a victory. ... Corey Hart is ready to assume the cleanup role. ... Fernando Rodney is a bit off-center, but that's OK I suppose. As long as he gets people out. ... Pitchers everywhere should observe a moment of silence today. ... Third base coach John Stearns stepped down this morning. He's been out with an injury.
• I'm sorry but staying up after, oh, 9 p.m., is a young man's game. Heck, the last State 2B boys basketball game I covered last night didn't start before 9. That's way too late for me. And I'll have to do it again tonight. Yes, I'm whining. Again. You're used to it by now, aren't you? My biggest whine, though, is my computer crash. I lost all the links I had run down concerning the M's, Hawks and Sounders. That's why there aren't many available in this post. Sorry. Until later ...