As the weekend begins (and by that we don't mean the basketball weekend, but the real one), it's not a bad time to step back and look at where we are in the Pac-10 basketball race. It's early, but it will get late quick. Read on.
• Washington State: After Thursday's results around the conference – hey, Oregon won, so that hideous court must be good for something – it's already become clear protecting your home court, and its converse, winning on the road, will be crucial this season (it's always big, but crucial now). After five league nights (not all teams have played five times due to rivalry games), four teams are winless on the road: WSU, USC, Oregon State and Oregon. Of those four, only WSU has played three times away from home. Which is either a good thing (hey, more home games the rest of the way) or a bad thing (hey, chances for road wins are slipping away), depending on your outlook. As for the home court, half the conference is still undefeated: WSU, UW, Arizona, Cal and tonight's opponent for the Cougars, Stanford. If Washington State's goal is to go undefeated at home and win at least three road games (I know, the goal is to win every game, but realistically, a 12-6 record would probably get WSU in the NCAAs) then the Cougars better get busy. To get to 3-6 on the road, they have to split their remaining six, which includes trips to Hec Ed (always tough), McKale (always tough) and Matt Court (looks to be disorienting). Maybe that's why Klay Thompson called tonight's game a must-win after the loss at California on Thursday. ... We don't have any more basketball news than what we shared yesterday, but we do have a link to our football-coaching story. ... By the way, after his 36-point game, Thompson is ninth in the country in scoring at 23.1 points per game. ... Ryan Collingwood has a quick preview of tonight's game from Lewiston. ... The Cardinal boast the Pac-10's top defense.
• Around the Pac-10: We know there are a lot of you out there who hate the Pac-10's television contract. Well, you have a kindred spirit in San Jose's Jon Wilner. ... Oregon State will honor one of its best teams ever during tonight's game with USC. ... The Trojans are worried about the Beavers zones. ... Ty Abbott had a great game in Tucson last year for ASU and wants to repeat the effort today against Jamelle Horne and the rest of the Wildcats. ... The new courts seems to have re-energized Oregon's basketball fans. ... Injuries have done the same for one Duck player. ... Cal hosts Washington tomorrow and Brandon Smith can't wait. ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller cleans out his football mailbag.
• That's all for this morning. The Cougars' game tonight starts at 5, so we'll be back before then ...