A GRIP ON SPORTS
When we woke up this morning, there was just a hint of the sunrise to come. Just enough light in the house that the phone/flashlight was not needed. But it will be tomorrow. Yep, we spring ahead in the wee hours of the morning (miss you Frank) as Daylight Savings Time kicks in. And you know what? It's too darn soon for that. Heck, this weekend is so crowded, we need all the hours we can get. We can't lose one. Read on.
• I've always felt this is the busiest weekend of the year. And it's only gotten more crowded recently. The state basketball tournaments in Washington used to be split between two or three weekends, but now all six classifications are all scheduled to finish the same day. Instead of three or so state title games to write up, there are six. And that puts pressure on a sports staff. But it's not just the state basketball – there is also the boys tournaments going on in Idaho – that crams this weekend full of stories. Three of our local area college leagues are still playing their regular season and, usually, the final weekend means something. The fourth Division I league, the WCC, is holding its postseason tournament and that always means something. Our local Division III school, Whitworth, is in the NCAA tournament with not just one but two teams. The Mariners are in spring training – when the season still matters – and the Sounders begin the MLS season today at home in front of 60,000 or so. And, this year at least, the Seahawks still dominate the landscape even if it is only for roster moves. Did I forget the WHL season is coming down to the wire and the Arena season is about to begin? Sorry about that. All that has to be covered as well. Remember when you were a kid and your dad discovered his old letterman's jacket in the back of the closet? Remember how it looked when he tried to put it on over the no-longer-high-school-sized gut? Yep, that's what's happening with the local sports sections these days. There is so much stuff to cram in there just isn't any room. But it does lead to a fun morning if you enjoy reading. And I'm figuring most of you do. So enjoy the day. Tomorrow it starts a bit earlier – or later, depending on your perspective.
• WSU: Guess what sports team is garnering the most excitement around Pullman? Yep, the women's basketball team. It's making a run through the Pac-12 tournament and Thomas Clouse is in Seattle to document it. Friday, the Cougars upset No. 20 California to move into the semifinals. … The men finish up their Pac-12 regular season with a visit from UCLA. Jacob Thorpe has an advance featuring a look at WSU's seniors along with his morning post. … Jacob had a few other things on the blog and in the paper, including this story on Deone Bucannon and a post on the 1915 football team. Yes, the 1915 football team. As far as I remember, they played tough defense. But I was only a ball boy back then. … Back to hoops, UCLA has a player who can reach Bill Walton-heights today. Too bad the big fellla wasn't in town to call the game. … There is a lot of angst in the Bay Area about the NCAAs. … It's Saturday, so ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has its mailbag as well as a look at next year's safeties. … The baseball team won.
• Gonzaga: The Zag women are regular season champions and the only ranked WCC team. As such, they have a double-sized target on their backs. USF took its best shot at GU yesterday but, as Jim Meehan's story and John Blanchette's column relate, it wasn't enough to get past a deep Bulldog squad. … BYU's women hope to ride a strong tournament showing into the NCAAs. … St. Mary's got past San Diego. … The men return to the court today with Gonzaga facing Santa Clara. There are also other storylines, including this one wondering how important this week is to Billy Grier's future at USD. … Randy Bennett doesn't have those type of worries.
• EWU: Win today against Weber State and the Eagles are in the Big Sky tournament. Lose and they will rely on others to get in. Guess which sounds safer?
• Idaho: The Vandals also have some tournament elements on the line today but as the WAC welcomes everyone, it's just about seeding. Josh Wright pencils it out in this blog post.
• Chiefs: With the B Tournament in town, the Chiefs are on the road where they snapped their most recent losing streak. … Portland started another winning streak, Everett just continued to roll and Tri-City? The Americans actually rooted for the Chiefs.
• Shock: The new owner of the Shock is saying all the right things about Spokane. Jim Allen talked with Nader Naini and has this story.
• Preps: There are so many prep basketball stories today it just seems simpler to list them. From the Arena there are the 1B semifinal stories, girls and boys, along with the summaries, girls and boys. There are also the 2B semifinal stories, girls and boys (pictured), and the summaries, girls and boys. And a whole bunch of photographs from the Review's crack staff. … From Greg Lee in Tacoma, he has a story on the 4A girls, with Gonzaga Prep moving into today's title game, the 4A boys and the 3A boys and girls. There is also this 2A boys story, with Pullman playing for another title today. … Finally, there is this roundup of the Idaho boys action.
• Seahawks: Yes, it is just the offseason. But the roster moves the Hawks are making, whether it is re-signing players, tendering offers to restricted free agents or seeing players head off to test the free agent market, they will have an effect on next season.
• Mariners: This scrappy bunch of Mariners rallied again yesterday but came up short. What a plucky group. I can't wait for April. … Willie Bloomquist knows his role. And how to get the most out of it. … The third base coach will be new this season.
• Sounders: Seattle opens the MLS regular season today against Sporting Kansas City with just one goal: winning a title. Or maybe it is to have Clint Dempsey actually score. Either way, it would be cool. … Both teams are relatively healthy. … Sigi Schmid is on the hottest of hot seats and he'll try to reach expectations with a veteran goalkeeper who has been so-so in the past. … So what's new with the MLS this season? Not a lot. Well, there are replacement refs. … The youth of America like soccer.
• As I said, tomorrow marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. So don't forget to push your clocks ahead an hour. We will. I think. Until then …