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Washington State won for the third time in its last four games last night, as Donnie Marbut picked up his 300th win.
I was at the game and wrote this story. Before that, there was a football practice, so here is the practice report, video of Mike Leach and a story about how outside receivers coach Graham Harrell is helping out with the QBs, as well.
Also, this weekend is Mom's Weekend at WSU and the football program is once again putting on a women's clinic this Friday. If that sounds like something you or someone you know is interested in, here is some more information.
In other Pac-12 news …
— The Pac-12 Blog provides some Pac-12 draft tidbits.
— Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is off to the NBA.
— Duke assistant Jeff Capel passed on the Arizona State gig.
— Oregon kicker Matt Wogan is trying to reclaim his old starting gig.
— Oregon State's receiver's don’t appear to going above and beyond in practice.
— Drops have been a spring problem for USC's JuJu Smith.
One shining moment, indeed. When the book closed on one of the most exciting NCAA tournaments I remember we had two new champions…
There was Duke and there was … me?
That's right, I won the Spokesman-Review's bracket challenge. Unfortunately, I'm ineligible for the grand prize, so congratulations, Rick, on your new gift certificate. Email me at JacobT@Spokesman.com and we'll get it to you.
I still think I should get something for beating 45 of you readers, of course, so the next round is on Vince. Round of golf, that is.
What else happened yesterday? Well, a basketball recruit committed to playing for the Cougars. But more importantly, former WSU and USC coach George Raveling was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame. Here is a story our own John Blanchette did on Raveling when his induction was announced, and a nice profile of the coach by Trevor Williams for WSU Athletics. I also found this story yesterday about Raveling speaking to some students.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12…
— The Huskies practiced in the cold yesterday.
— Is Arizona's basketball team suffering because of a weakened Pac-12?
— A Cal transfer is set to start at left tackle for the Wildcats.
— UCLA's Kevon Looney threw his name into the NBA draft discussion.
— The Utes are trying to figure out how to go even deeper in next year's NCAA tournament.
I've covered Washington State for 19 months now, so naturally I thought I'd seen everything. But the Cougars can still surprise this old scribe.
WSU lined up behind center on less than .1 percent of its snaps last season but, lo and behold, the Cougars have been working on traditional handoffs this spring. We touch on that in yesterday's practice report and explore more in our story for today's paper. We also have a video of Mike Leach answering some questions yesterday's practice.
Here are the links…
— You already know this, but WSU's special teams haven't been special for the better part of a decade.
— Washington's quarterbacks are competing fiercely while last year's starter is absent.
— An article about Arizona's special teams.
— Could Arizona State's next basketball coach be on the bench during Monday's championship game?
— The saga of Cal's recruitment of an elite basketball recruit continues.
— Byron Marshall has one more spring at Oregon.
— Oregon State's passing game is a work in progress.
— Once again, Stanford is going to have a pretty good defense.
— There is a competition brewing among the backup quarterbacks at USC.
With Darius Lemora at nickelback, there appear to be three candidates for the two starting safety positions.
We take a look at that competition in today's story for the paper. Also in the wrap we've got Jim Allen's story on WSU's ongoing search for a soccer coach. On the blog yesterday we had our practice report, a video of Mike Leach speaking after practice and we put the Five Questions to Isaac Dotson.
The Pac-12 Blog has a story from yesterday's pro day and includes Washington State's Jeremiah Mitchell on a list of impact junior college transfers.
Yesterday the Stanford basketball team won the NIT championship.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12 …
— The Huskies had a pro day of their own.
— Herb Sendek wrote a letter following his dismissal from Arizona State.
— Former Washington prep Christian Behrens will not return to California next season.
— UCLA's freshman quarterback looked good in his first real action.
The Cougars were off from spring practice yesterday but it was still a busy day in Pullman.
The day began with Connor Halliday and Vince Mayle's pro day. The two Cougars performed in front of 13 scouts from NFL teams despite rain, wind, and even just a little snow.
Later in the day, 4A basketball Player of the Year Viont'e Daniels decided to play for Ernie Kent at WSU. I spoke with Daniels and his high school coach, yielding this blog post and story.
In other Pac-12 news …
— Washington's basketball team is losing an ace recruiter from its coaching staff.
— Arizona may lose most if not all of its starting five from the basketball team. But yesterday's McDonald's All-American game showed that help is on the way.
— Arizona State's Shaq McKissic will participate in today's Final Four dunk contest.
— Could California beat Arizona for one of the country's top basketball recruits?
— Oregon's Charles Nelson is experimenting with a switch to defense.
— Oregon State's Daniel Gomis will return for his senior season.
— Stanford will face Miami for the NIT championship.
— Devin Lucien is transferring from UCLA.
— USC's Damien Mama weighs just 358 pounds, which is much less than he used to.
A season ago, Washington State had some established leaders at key positions. Now, those players are gone.
Except for the offensive line, the Cougars have very few positions that have players so entrenched that it's almost a guarantee they will start. Furthermore, many of the obvious candidates missed significant chunks of last season or are currently limited. So, the Cougars have plenty of spots up for grabs and Mike Leach is enjoying the competition.
That's the thrust of our story in today's paper. I also have my usual report from yesterday's practice, a little longer because it's the first practice I attended this spring what with our beefed up NCAA tournament coverage and all. Additionally, check out our post-practice videos of Mike Leach and Peyton Bender.
Today we have our weekly baseball notebook and the news that three players have transferred from the men's basketball program.
More links …
— Gonzaga rallied for a one-run victory over the Cougar baseball team in Spokane.
— Washington's lone remaining 7-footer is transferring according to an ESPN report.
— Looking back at Arizona's basketball season.
— A report from Arizona State's practice on Tuesday.
— California could be in line to land a five-star basketball recruit.
— Colorado is getting some sweet new digs.
— Bralon Addison is shaking off the rust this spring.
— Former quarterbacks are taking their shots at tight end for Oregon State.
— Stanford is getting healthy in time for its second spring session.
— UCLA's quarterbacks are vying to see who will replace Brett Hundley.
— USC's Pat Haden is boycotting the CFP selection committee in Indiana because of the state's ridiculous new law.
— Utah's Delon Wright was rightfully given All-America honors.
The first day of Washington State spring practice is in the books and Sean Kramer was there to see it.
First-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch had a good first day, winning the team period with a goal line stand. That's the thrust of Sean's story in the paper today.
I wrote a little about the Cougars myself, checking into the potential reasons for Sebastian LaRue's dismissal.
Here in Houston we filled the paper with ink about today's matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA for a ticket to the Elite Eight. Jim Meehan has the advance, John Blanchette has the column, naturally, and I wrote a story about the good vibrations finally coming UCLA's way. Through the power of teamwork, Jim and I also put together this notebook.
— Arizona's trip to the Elite Eight is already assured after last night's win over Xavier.
— Looking back at another important UCLA trip to Houston in March.
— Duke may be the favorite but Utah has some definite advantages in the matchup.
Today marks the first of 15 spring football practices at Washington State.
The Cougars will practice today at 2:30 p.m., and got things started yesterday by releasing an updated roster and making coach Mike Leach available to the media. Here is the new roster and some highlights from Leach's teleconference.
— I wrote about why UCLA should still struggle to beat Gonzaga in a rematch despite improvement from its post players.
— The Huskies will be starting spring practice soon as well. Here is a look at the offense.
— Arizona will play Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time since the turn of the century.
— Here is the story of how Arizona lured Sean Miller from Xavier.
— Meanwhile, Arizona State is in the thick of its own search for a new basketball coach.
— California is looking for a new athletic director and has whittled its search down to two finalists.
— Colorado has set up a football series against Texas A&M.
— Six newcomers to watch in Oregon's spring practice.
— Stanford has added Vanderbilt and TCU to its future football schedules.
— UCLA is hoping an improved Tony Parker can play much better against Gonzaga this time around.
— The NCAA has released documents from the USC-McNair case.
— Utah's young players are learning firsthand how to make an NCAA tournament run.
Washington State will have its first practice of the spring at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in Martin Stadium.
The practice is open to the public, but if you want a sneak peak at what the new WSU defense will look like under Alex Grinch, just watch the Philadelphia Eagles.
That's what the Cougars are doing.
Grinch was good enough to sit down with me and watch a little film and lay out his vision for his first spring in Pullman, which I lay out in this story for today's paper. For one, he wants a speedy defense, and the Cougars will ride the wave of schools spending most of the time in sub packages by primarily employing a nickel defense.
And now, I must make a confession. I won't be at practice on Thursday or Saturday because I'm helping out with our coverage of Gonzaga's NCAA tournament run. But our man Sean Kramer will make the trip over from Moscow to cover Thursday's helmets-only practice.
I also put together a list of 10 players to keep an eye on if you make it out to any of the practices this spring. If you can't make the trek, I'm sure they will all make frequent appearances in our practice reports.
Now for the links …
— The WSU baseball team's freshman got a hard lesson last week in what life is like in the rugged Pac-12.
— Jim Meehan has a story about the last time Gonzaga faced UCLA in the NCAA tournament and spoke with former Bulldog Adam Morrison, whose on-court anguish became a symbol for some of GU's struggles to make a deep tournament run.
— The biggest news in the Pac-12 yesterday was Arizona State firing basketball coach Herb Sendek.
— Somehow Dana Altman is already the fourth-longest tenured Pac-12 basketball coach.
— Ted Miller looks at the 10 biggest Pac-12 football upsets since 2000.
— A former UW safety is part of HBO's special on head injuries.
— T.J. McConnell is already training his replacement.
Maybe this wasn't such a down year for the Pac-12, after all.
The conference sent four teams to the NCAA tournament and all four won their opening games. Three of them will head to the Sweet 16 and the only team to lose, Oregon, gave No. 1 Wisconsin all it could handle yesterday.
Arizona has been as impressive as any team so far and coach Sean Miller is having success against a gauntlet of familiar foes. The Utes are playing well heading into a matchup of coach Ks. Many didn't think UCLA would make the tournament field but some bigtime post play has the Bruins back in the Sweet 16 for a tournament rematch against Gonzaga.
John Blanchette and I have been in Seattle, helping Jim Meehan cover the Zags, who are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. The Bulldogs looked pretty formidable on Sunday, dominating Iowa from start to finish. Here's Jim's game story, John's column and my sidebar. Jim and I also have some notes from the game.
It was a rough weekend for the WSU baseball team, which was swept by Oregon State. The Cougars were on the wrong end of a perfect game on Saturday.
— Obviously, Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle made the right call by rooting for his daughter over his employer.
— Ken Goe examines what's next for Oregon basketball.
— Stanford beat Rhode Island in the second round of the NIT.