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It's the best Thursday/Friday of the year

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Did you have a good day yesterday? Ready to do it again? Me too. Read on.

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• If you were lucky enough to be in the Spokane Arena on Thursday you got to observe, watch, get involved in four exciting basketball games. Well, three exciting games and one superhuman effort. Either way, you got your money's worth. There might not be a better day in sports than the first real day of the NCAA tournament. And there are two of them. Not at every site, but two first days I mean. Sort of like that line from Jackson Browne: "And when the morning light comes streaming in, I'll get up and do it again." The morning light is doing its part, now it's up to us to turn on the television or fire up the computer at work and follow along. No pretenders allowed. Only fans. The one bad thing about today? Only a single 5-12 matchup to give us heartburn – and burn up our brackets. There were three yesterday, two resulting in upsets and one should-have-been. It's amazing. Since 2001 there have been at least one 5-12 upset each year except in 2007. Most years more than one. It's the seed line from hell if you are the favorite. It's also what the tournament's first week is all about. The Underdogs. The North Dakota States, the only school in the tournament that is also the current NCAA football champion. The Harvards. (Though no one who attends Harvard should ever be considered an underdog. Really.) The Daytons. (Hey, that Gonzaga loss in Hawaii earlier this year doesn't look so bad does it Buckeye fans.) The New Mexico States. (OK, the Aggies, like North Carolina State, came up short. But it was fun.) There are more opportunities today. Will you be watching?

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• WSU: It wasn't a great day for the Pac-12, what with Colorado losing by almost 30 to a middling Pitt team. No matter what else happened yesterday, that tainted everything. Jacob Thorpe was busy at the Arena, so we have links for you from Oregon's win and Arizona State's last-second loss as well. ... Stanford, UCLA and Arizona get going today. ... Oregon State is going to be rebuilding again. ... Not to bum out Cougar fans but Virginia puts its one seed on the line today. ... As the Cougars are hosting the going-ons over at the Arena, we will link the game stories here, from Michigan State's win, Harvard's and North Dakota State's upset wins and San Diego State's near-defeat. We also can pass along a notebook and other items, including a whole bunch of photographs.

• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs also get going today, with a tough second-round matchup with Oklahoma State. Jim Meehan has everything you'll need in this advance, blog post and short preview. John Blanchette chips in with a column on Kevin Pangos (pictured) and Dan Pelle has photographs from San Diego. ... Bud Withers has a column on David Stockton and a notebook from California as well. ... BYU gave a decent account of itself despite its injury problems. ... USD is still playing in the CIT. ... The Gonzaga women's program sounds like in belongs in the Vatican in this story. ... BYU's women are also in the NCAAs.

• EWU: Weber State doesn't want to be a sacrificial lamb today.

• Chiefs: The WHL awards were handed out yesterday and Chris Derrick has the news on the Chiefs who were honored. ... Everett also earned some awards. ... The Silvertips and Tri-City are ready for their respective playoff openers.

• Preps: There is a change coming among GSL basketball coaches. Greg Lee has the news in this story.

• Seahawks: So Jared Allen was in town yesterday, ESPN reported he was this close to signing and he didn't. Now he is home mulling offers. We'll see what happens. If he does sign, it will be the Hawks biggest pickup during this year's free agency period. ... Golden Tate couldn't resist a chance to taunt – again.

• Mariners: The M's picked up another spring training win yesterday. The decisions on the regular season lineup? Who is in the rotation and who is in relief? They haven't been made yet.

• Sounders: Since they've entered the MLS, the Sounders day-to-day management has been intertwined with the Seahawks. That is about to change. I really don't think this will have an effect on fans, but who knows?

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• That's it for today. Hey, it's Friday again. Already. When will the clock slow down? I know. Next winter, when there is snow everywhere. That's when the days seem to fly by like a Dodo. Right now they are zipping past like an unladen swallow. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi





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