A GRIP ON SPORTS
Today is your day. Well, today and tomorrow. Read on.
• Yep, the next two days are for you to make your Super Bowl pick. I'll keep my mouth shut and let you have your say in the comments section. Pick a score and tell us why you think that way. If you feel the Denver Mannings are going to win 34-14, that's fine. Just explain why. I enjoy seeing how others view the matchup. I'll share my pick Saturday morning. To be honest, if I had picked Monday I would have gone one way. Yesterday, another. Today, I'm not certain. But Saturday I'll open myself up for your criticism. That's appropriate. However, as you guys share your picks, no matter how silly you believe someone else's logic is, please refrain from making snide remarks about it. Just let them have their say. Picking a game like this is kind of personal and I would like everyone to feel confident their opinion will be heard - and not ridiculed. Even if it doesn't coincide with the group-think. Remember this. One of the anonymous posters could be your mom – or mine. You just never know.
• How hard is it to hit a game-winning shot? I think there are levels of difficulty, based on the circumstances. For example, if the game is tied at home, a last-second shot to win isn't as mentally taxing because a miss doesn't end the game. Overtime awaits. But overtime on the road is a bit more of a crapshoot, so the same shot away from home is a bit tougher. A prayer from three-quarter court to tie isn't pressure-packed either, as no one really expects to make one. But a last-second 3-pointer to tie a road game, coming at the end of a set play in which your teammates worked hard to get you open, has to be filled with 12-pounds of pressure. Add in, say, a high national ranking on the line and the basketball might feel like a dump truck. It could be fun some night to sit around with a bunch of buddies and figure out a list, ranking shots from most pressure-filled to least. The one Sam Dower Jr. connected on last night has to fall somewhere in the upper range. The Gonzaga final-shot plan, whatever it was, had seemingly fallen apart and Kyle Dranginis was dribbling up top as the clock wound down. Dower (pictured) did the right thing, he screened for the ball and, as his defender stepped out to slow down Dranginis, Dower popped to the open spot. Dranginis found him. And Dower, his feet inches behind the 3-point line, buried a jumper with 1.9 seconds left to give Gonzaga a 54-52 win over Santa Clara. Miss and the Zags had lost their second WCC road game. Miss and the Broncos would have closed the game on a 13-2 run, which would have allowed naysayers to bring up the hated choke word. Miss and the questions would have begun again. But Dower didn't miss. And Gonzaga got out of Santa Clara with another hard-fought win.
• WSU: It's Thursday morning, which means Jacob Thorpe (and the rest of the basketball beat writers) have a weekend to look toward. Jacob has his preview – it's rivalry weekend with Washington coming to town Saturday – and the lead to the notebook. He also has a blog post with more on his notebook subject, Jordan Railey's playing time. ... Jacob has his usual morning post.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan was in Santa Clara (where it was warmer than here, that's for sure) and he filed this blog post last night and a game story for today's paper. He also has his preview of the weekend and will be back some time this morning with his day-after post. ... We found a couple of stories on the near-upset from the Chronicle and the Mercury News. ... San Diego played seven of its nine first-half conference games on the road. It plays the same number at home in the second half, starting with St. Mary's tonight. ... BYU is also back in action tonight, hosting Pacific.
• EWU: Jim Allen has a nice story on Eastern reserve Thomas Reuter, who found out on a road trip Back East he is suffering from Crohn's Disease, which isn't fun, that's for sure. ... Jim also has his preview of a big weekend at home for the Eagles.
• Idaho: Josh Wright has a preview of the Vandals' one game this weekend.
• Preps: Thursday is also Prep Page day, which means Greg Lee has a column and a notebook, both of which shouldn't be missed. ... He also has a feature on Gonzaga Prep's Sam Dowd, whose backstory is worth learning. ... We have a roundup of Wednesday night's action.
• Chiefs: Trailing 5-2 in the third period on the road without their No. 2 scored, the Chiefs rallied in the third period and won 6-5 in a shootout at Kelowna. ... The Silvertips are struggling and Portland is streaking.
• Indians: The local minor-league baseball franchise has brought together most – but not all – youth programs in the area under one Internet roof. Chris Derrick has the story.
• Seahawks: I'm sort of at my wit's end here. There are so many stories available I'm afraid a series of links is just confusing you. But I also want to pass along as many of them as I can. So what to do? I know, I will break them into categories. ... The first is columns, with one from our John Blanchette – John also has a fun story on how "Spokane" should become the next "Omaha" – and then others from around the area, from Dave Boling to Larry Stone, from John McGrath to Jerry Brewer. ... There are the Denver stories, not all of which are from Seattle-area writers, though most of them are. ... There are the stories about Seattle offensive players, from Russell Wilson to Marshawn Lynch and others. ... There are stories about the Seattle defensive players, from Kam Chancellor to Malcolm Smith. ... There are videos from players on both teams, mainly talking football but touching on other subjects as well. ... There are injury reports, though both teams are relatively healthy. ... There are stories, videos and blog posts from the coaches' press conferences and stories on both teams' practices.
• The week that is the Super Bowl run-up continues today with another day on the radio. I'll be on 700ESPN with Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens between 3 and 5:45 p.m. as we leave a bit early for Eastern basketball. You can listen here if you like. Until then ...