A GRIP ON SPORTS
At about 9 p.m. last night, I knew exactly what I was going to be writing about today. This. But then it hit me. I'm tired of it all. And if I'm tired of it, you folks must be exhausted. Read on.
• I've written thousands, nay, millions of words over the years that could be filed under the heading “Poor Pac-12 (or Pac-10) Officiating.” Millions. So last night's typically inept disregard for the rulebook in Tucson has broken this dromedary's back. As the basket was originally ruled good (look at the official at the bottom of the video; yep, both arms are in the air indicating a made 3-pointer) and the replay has to be considered, in the best of circumstances, inconclusive (though techno-geeks will tell you the ball was clear of his fingertips with the clock above the basket still at 0.01, using frame-grab imaging not available to the officials), the original call, by rule, should have stood. But it didn't. So Arizona was credited with the victory (or, to be precise, was given the opportunity to earn the victory, which it did). And, baring Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott coming to his senses today and overturning the decision – it's not like the Wildcats would be denied a chance to earn the win after the shot as it was the final play of the game – another black mark will enter the history books for a conference whose credibility about its officiating is non-existent. I'm just tired of it. I hoped when Scott took over, it would improve. It hasn't, despite all the money being thrown at the problem. At the very least, a consistent enforcement of the rules – since the fiasco in Pullman on New Year's Eve a few years ago, I have seen the same scenario play out at the end of games (with a player coming out on the court to celebrate a basket while the ball was still in play) three times (I keep count) and seen zero technical fouls called – would be nice. No one is going to be perfect. But isn't it possible to get a little closer?
• Gonzaga: The Zags kept Pepperdine close last night in Malibu, with some inexplicable turnovers and a lack of focus. It didn't matter. The depth of the bench (we had a Drew Barham sighting – and a big 3-pointer) made sure of that. Jim Meehan, who let me know he left the sticks at home, was in Malibu and filed this blog post after the game along with today's game story. He will also have a day-after blog post today. … One thing that cracks me up about the West Coast Conference is there is little to no coverage of the game in the Southern California media. If the game had been played in Spokane, I would have had thousands of words to pass along. … WCC play got underway in earnest Thursday night, with BYU pounding Loyola on the glass and on the scoreboard and USD holding off Portland in a matchup of the only two conference teams with a losing non-conference record. … The Gonzaga women began their march to another WCC title by routing San Diego at home. Chris Derrick has the story and blog post of Taelor Karr's career night (pictured). There are also these Tyler Tjomsland photos.
• Washington State: With the showdown against Washington still a day away, Christian Caple's morning blog post is filled with links from around the conference. Thankfully, with the controversy in Tucson, the Oregon rout, the Chip Kelly saga, Stanford laying an egg at USC and other story lines, there is plenty to link, including the live chat he held yesterday. … Chris Derrick has a preview of the WSU women's conference-opening weekend, which is another example of the conference's dismissal of all things WSU. Why would I say that? Here's why: The students are still not back in Pullman and the conference scheduled Washington State for not one or two home basketball games (as is the case with everyone else in the Pac-12) but three – one men's game (Saturday's matchup with the Huskies) and two women's games. The usual procedure is to have the men at home and the women on the road, or vice-versa. Not when you can stick it to the folks in the Palouse. … A couple of former Cougars helped Western Washington to a big win over Seattle Pacific last night.
• EWU: The Eagles traveled to Missoula yesterday, hit a second-half cold streak and lost to the Grizzlies. And, oh ya, bid adieu to their starting point guard. … The women kept their winning streak going by beating the Griz in Cheney. … Weber State had little trouble with Northern Colorado and Montana State edged Portland State.
• Whitworth: The Pirates will take a top-10 NCAA Division III ranking to Oregon for a weekend of big NWC games. Steve Christilaw has an advance.
• Seahawks: I guess it seemed like a good day to delve into the defensive side of the ball, what with Brandon Browner returning and the like. But no NFL day could be complete without talking about the offense in some manner. And no Seattle day would be complete without an obligatory Russell Wilson story.
• Just to clear the air, I really wanted Arizona to rally and win that game last night. It seemed to me it wouldn't have been great for the conference if its best team lost on opening night. But I can't abide such end-of-the-game shenanigans. And it felt as if the officials were intimidated a bit by the UA crowd. That gets my hackles up. But then again, as it is the Pac-12, I was not in the least bit surprised. Until later …