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NIT puts GU in scheduling bind

Gonzaga's season opener is approximately 3 1/2 months away and five of its non-conference games are still TBD. (The Zags had 13 non-conference games in the 2013-14 regular season.)

The main hold-up is the NIT Season Tip-Off, which hasn't delivered on its original format for host schools Gonzaga, Georgia, Minnesota and St. John's (two home games, win those two you advance for two games at Madison Square Garden). The NIT hasn't been able to fill out a 16-team field.

The NIT's next proposal was one home game & three at the MSG (one a quasi guarantee game against Stony Brook that would fall between the semifinals and the championship/consolation and have no bearing on the final day pairings (yes, that makes no sense).

Gonzaga is hoping the NIT can find a better solution, possibly one with the Zags hosting one game and then playing two in MSG, provided it wins at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Not ideal, but it's late in the scheduling process to find suitable replacements.

The other snag is finding a foe for the annual Battle in Seattle. The matchup was thought to be ready for an announcement a couple weeks ago but it fell through.

Also, longtime basketball director of operations Jerry Krause will step down following the season.

More on the schedule and Krause here.

WSU’s loss to Wichita State, the day after

COUGARS

Little did I know that when Liza Minnelli sang “I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps,” she would be singing about me. On this trip to New York at least. The never-sleep part. So, though it's just 5 a.m. West Coast time, we have our morning-after post ready for you.

WSU goes down hard, 75-44, to Wichita State

COUGARS

After that debacle, I wanted to get out of Madison Square Garden, out of New York, really, as fast as I could. But I think the Washington State fans beat me to the phone, because Wednesday's flights to Seattle, crowded but still with seats earlier in the day, were filled by the time I called. More than likely because I had to wait until it was final. The fans probably called when it was over, or right after halftime, whichever came first. For more on the game, read on.

WSU trails Wichita 36-19 at half

COUGARS

Quick halftime post. We'll just recount each of Washington State's baskets. There was a Reggie Moore jumper (his only bucket), a Klay Thompson (his only bucket to go with three fouls), four jumpers from Faisal Aden (he has a team-high eight points), a DeAngelo Casto post move (his only bucket). Marcus Capers dunk (his only bucket) and a Dre Winston reverse layup (his only bucket). Add in a Moore free throw and you have 19 points, a season-low for a first half. Wichita reserve Garrett Stultz, an ungainly looking 7-foot junior, has 18 himself – along with seven rebounds. Wichita is shooting 48.3 percent, WSU 33.3. The Shockers have 25 rebounds, WSU has – sit down before you read this – 10. Yes, 10. This is a butt kicking of the first order. We'll be back after we see if the Cougars can make a game off it in the second half.

Some pregame thoughts from Madison Square Garden

COUGARS

Well, we're in the world's greatest, or biggest, or most-important, or whatever arena a couple hours before game time, as is our M.O., and guess what? It's just as empty as other arenas. And not nearly as big or impressive as Staples Center. Or about 10 other arenas we've been in. Of course it's a heck of lot older. And broken down. But the building is going through a facelift, so there are areas blocked off and fakes walls in a lot of spots, so there's that. But we digress. As usual. You want basketball talk, don't you? Read on.

It’s game day in New York for WSU

COUGARS • UPDATE: 11:45 A.M.

It's game day and it's about time. It seems like a month since Washington State last played a basketball game, but it's been less than a week actually. We'll see if the time spent traveling, practicing, away from home and friends helped or hurt tonight. We have more, lots more, so read on.

• UPDATE: I knew our news side was working on this story about marijuana citations in Pullman, but didn't know it ran this morning until just a few minutes ago. Seems communication can sometimes be lacking in a communication company as well.

WSU’s Lodwick earns Pac-10 honor

COUGARS

A couple of afternoon notes from New York, including Washington State's Abe Lodwick earning first-team All-Academic honors from the Pac-10. For more, read on.

March is lion-like for WSU in NY

COUGARS

Good morning from New York. Took a nice long walk to and from dinner last night and was shocked by the depth of the chill. It is actually quite a bit colder here in the city than it is in Pullman. Plus the wind won't stop blowing. It feels like basketball season. And it still is, what with the NCAA surprises over the weekend and the NIT semifinals tomorrow night. For more, read on.

WSU in New York ready for NIT semis

COUGARS

Yesterday was fun. We were one of the thousands of victims of Alaska Airlines' power outage. But, for us, it turned out to be a blessing. We were rerouted on Delta through Salt Lake City and ended up sitting next to a good friend on that leg. He was heading to Paris, me to Newark. He wins. Then the remainder of the trip was surprisingly pleasant despite the presence of dozens of pre-teens heading home after spring break trips. It is, however, February-in-Pullman cold here right now, so we may stay inside more than expected. Whatever, we have work to do today anyway. Read on.

48 hours in WSU’s life

COUGARS

We're en route to New York, with a short stay in Newark. Anyway, from somewhere over Wyoming we discovered our Sunday piece is available online. It's on Jeff Hironaka's prep for the Northwestern game. So we thought we would link it. You can read it here. We'll be back in the morning with more.

WSU on way to New York

COUGARS

This morning's post is the definition of the word “light.” As in weight, depth, girth. Which is a good thing, because we're headed out soon for our flight back East. The basketball team is already en route. Read on.

WSU warms up as NY beckons

COUGARS • UPDATE: 12:45 P.M.

One more day in the Palouse before we head back east to cover the basketball team's New York adventure. With the weather yesterday during football practice, it will be hard to leave. There is nothing better than a nice spring day around here. Nuthin. UPDATE 5 MINUTES AFTER POST: Just looked outside. It's snowing. I can't wait to get out to New York. … Read on.

UPDATE: The WSU board of regents gave the athletic department approval Thursday to install a $3 million center scoreboard in Beasley Coliseum. The board will replace the old models in the rafters on either side. Installation is expected to start this summer and the board should be in place for next season. … Also, 6-foot-9 junior college transfer D.J. Shelton, who visited WSU over the weekend and watched the Oklahoma State game, told Cougfan he was headed to WSU. Shelton played at Citrus College in Azusa, Calif.

WSU’s win over Northwestern, the day after

COUGARS

Good morning from the Vince Grippi Travel Agency. How can we help you? Read on.

WSU wins 69-66 in overtime

COUGARS

It's late. Later than it needed to be. But the bottom line is Washington State held off Northwestern, 69-66, in overtime and will play in the NIT semifinals next week in New York. Read on.

WSU leads 38-31 at half

COUGARS

Halftime and Washington State controlled much of the first half. But the final 4 minutes – roughly akin to when Northwestern coach Bill Carmody's technical when he had to be restrained by his assistant coach – the Wildcats clawed their way into it, cutting the lead – it had been as much as 14 – to as little as eight. Then they hit the final shot and went into the locker room trailing by seven. All in all, after shooting 40 percent and struggling at times beyond the arc, not a bad deal for Northwestern. WSU led by 14 after Carmody's T at the 4:22 mark. … The offensive star for WSU has been Brock Motum, who came off the bench and found enough room to score 11 points. Klay Thompson has not really asserted himself offensively, having taken just seven shots. … DeAngelo Casto hasn't show any effects from his 24-hour suspension and has six points and five rebounds. … WSU's intensity waned down the stretch and Northwestern took advantage. … More later.

Pregame musings from WSU

COUGARS

It's pregame time. As I thought about it, I'm not sure there is more to add to the post I put up a few hours ago. But, because I get paid by the word, we have something. Read on.

More on Casto’s reinstatement

COUGARS

Washington State athletic director Bill Moos has decided to lift DeAngelo Casto's suspension and the junior will be allowed to play tonight against Northwestern. Read on.

Wednesday morning from WSU; Casto cited

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:45 A.M.

It will be another late night for the Washington State Cougars tonight, with their National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal game with Northwestern not slated to tip until after 8 p.m. That, of course, isn't as late as WSU's game with Oklahoma State on Monday, but once again, the visiting fans watching on TV at home will be looking at an after-midnight finish. Fun for them. We have more on the game, the surrounding controversy concerning DeAngelo Casto and spring football. Read on.

UPDATE: We have another story on Casto pleading not guilty and, through his attorney, contesting the legality of the search.

WSU’s Casto won’t play vs. Northwestern

COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:30 P.M.

We're off the football field and back inside, finally with some time to put together a post on the basketball happenings today. Read on.

WSU’s NIT win over OSU, the morning after

COUGARS

It's really not all that early, but this post is a lot earlier than I planned. Plans, as you know, have a way of getting coldcocked by reality. And the reality of this morning is the guy in the apartment upstairs decided to vacuum at 7:30 in the morning. Really dude? So we're up. And so is our morning after post. Read on.

WSU defeats OSU, faces Northwestern Wednesday

COUGARS

Washington State has one more game – at least. The Cougars ensured that Monday night by battling past Oklahoma State 74-64 before 5,201 at Beasley Coliseum. Next up, Northwestern and its Princeton-style offense. That will be Wednesday night at 8 p.m. In Beasley. Read on.

WSU leads 38-29 at half

COUGARS

Washington State didn't shoot all that well in the first half, hitting 38.7 percent from the floor, 30.8 (4 of 13) from beyond the arc. But Oklahoma State was worse, making just 1 of 8 3-pointers and shooting 36.4 overall. … WSU is holding its own on the glass. Actually, the Cougars are winning the battle 23-17 by my count, led by Abe Lodwick's five. But the Cowboys' four offensive rebounds turned into six points, keeping them within shouting distance. … If it weren't for Matt Pilgrim, Oklahoma State would be in real trouble. The 6-foot-8 senior leads OSU with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He also has five rebounds. Marshall Moses, the Cowboys' leading scorer, picked up two early fouls, a third late in the half and is scoreless, having not taken a shot. My guess is he'll get a few early in the second. … The Cougars have the same problem. Their center, DeAngelo Casto, was hobbled by two fouls and has just one point after missing all four of his shots. … Klay Thompson has gotten nine looks, despite being doubled often and in different spots on the court. He has 14 points and two of WSU's three assists. Brock Motum has come off the bench to score 10 points. … We'll be back when we can.

Some pre-OSU musings from WSU

COUGARS

Believe it or not, we have some thoughts about tonight's National Invitation Tournament game here in rainy Pullman. If you so choose, you can read on.

It’s game day for WSU

COUGARS

It's game day once more in the Palouse, and with the students back in town after spring break in, well, wherever, the crowd at Beasley Coliseum should be a little more energetic than the NIT opener against Long Beach State. A little. Though the 4,000 or so that were there last week did the best they could. Read on for more.

WSU, OSU have a history

COUGARS

As promised, my advance of tomorrow's NIT game is available. So we put together a quick post for you. Read on.

One more day until WSU, OSU

COUGARS

Sunday morning and there's more basketball on the TV in about an hour. So let's get this done and get you ready for your day. Read on.

WSU’s NIT run continues Monday

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:30 A.M.

I hope you are enjoying your NCAA-tournament watching as much as I am, though yesterday's games – outside of the Pac-10 ones – didn't seem as exciting as Thursday's. We have more on the link, so read on.

Friday from WSU

COUGARS

Surprisingly, there is a lot to get to this morning, including a trio of items related to Washington State. So let's get right to it. Read on.

WSU’s win over Long Beach, morning after

COUGARS

That other tournament has started. You know, that NCAA-thingee. The one with the bracket and the million-dollar pools. That one. But, of course, it takes a back seat to the elder statesman of college basketball's postseason tournaments, the NIT. The one Washington State is in and has moved on to the second round. We have more on the Cougars win and the rest of the Pac-10's postseason, so read on.

WSU gets past Long Beach, 85-74

COUGARS

The first 20 minutes of Wednesday night's opening-round NIT game at Friel Court wasn't a thing of beauty. It wasn't perfect. But it was dominating. And that was all Washington State needed to advance to the second round. That game will be Monday night at 8:30 (tipoff expected at around 8:45) on ESPN2. We have more on that and Wednesday's 85-74 win over Long Beach State on the link.