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In brief: Zags, Cougars tip off tonight

Gonzaga and Washington State tip off their men’s basketball seasons tonight with exhibitions.

The Zags will entertain Southern Oregon at 6 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game will be televised on KHQ.

The Cougars take on Lewis-Clark State College at Friel Court in Pullman, also at 6.

The NAIA Southern Oregon Raiders lost their exhibition opener to NCAA Division II Humboldt State 74-51 on Tuesday. Lewis-Clark State College is on a three-game stretch, having played at Montana on Thursday (a 59-39 loss), at WSU tonight and at Idaho on Saturday.

Top-seed NIC eyes Region 18 title

Volleyball: North Idaho College will attempt to bring some normalcy to the often unpredictable Region 18 volleyball tournament.

The sixth-ranked Cardinals (24-6, 9-1), who won the Scenic West Athletic Conference title by three games, will host the tournament at Christianson Gym. The last two years, the No. 3 seed has pulled an upset, including last year when College of Southern Idaho defeated NIC and went on to win a national championship.

“We’ve seen teams beat each other up in this conference,” first-year NIC coach Colleen Frohlich said. “Everyone is dangerous – that’s our focus. We’ve had a good week of practice and worked on the things we saw last weekend (in a loss to Salt Lake) that we needed to work on. Our sophomores are really stepping up, as they should.”

The top two qualify for the NJCAA tournament. Fourth-seeded Snow meets No. 5 Eastern Utah at 1 today with the winner facing No. 1 NIC at 7 for a spot in the national tournament. No. 3 CSI faces No. 6 Colorado Northwestern at 10 a.m. with the winner taking on No. 2 Salt Lake at 4.

The championship match is Saturday at 1.

Jim Meehan

BSU wrestlers at Mead Saturday

Wrestling: The Boise State wrestling team will be at Mead High School Saturday to take on North Idaho College at 6 p.m.

Boise State is ranked No. 2 in the nation by several publications and features local products Levi Jones, from Lakeside HS (Nine Mile Falls), and Adam Hall, from Bonners Ferry.

Jones, a senior at 141 pounds, was an NCAA tournament qualifier last season and in 2008. Hall, also a senior, at 157 pounds was the Pac-10 champion last season and finished third in the NCAA tournament.

North Idaho College is a 13-time NJCAA national champion and will host the national championships in Spokane in 2011.

Admission for the match is $6.