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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Don’t get mad, just get ready for a month full of hoops

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s Saturday. It’s March. You know the drill. Get up. Read the SportsLink blog. Watch basketball. All day. Read on.

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• It’s not madness, really, if you do the same thing every March Saturday. It’s just good common sense. Maybe mix in a cup of coffee. Or a tasty doughnut. Nothing run with that. If course, if the rain disappears, a nice walk is in order, with or without the dog. Or golf clubs. See, all things are possible as the weather gets nicer, but only one thing is mandatory. Watching hoop. High school basketball finishes up around here today. The Spokane area has a few teams in state title games. College basketball is starting its postseason, first with conference tournaments – the Zags are in action tonight in Las Vegas – then with the big dance. The next few weekends are going to be all basketball all the time, so maybe a little yard work is in order. Yesterday was my day to get started. Today is my day to nurse an ailing back. Correlation? Who knows? But I do know I’ll be watching basketball today. There is no way I would miss it. It’s Saturday. It’s March.

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• WSU: No basketball of consequence to speak of from Pullman today, but there is a football coaching salary story from Jacob Thorpe as well as the weekly mailbag from ESPN.com’s Pqc-12 blog.

• Gonzaga: The men’s tournament in Vegas began last night with San Diego the first team out. Tonight, Gonzaga faces Portland with its long streak of NCAA tournament appearances on the line. I don’t know if GU can earn an at-large berth – this piece from ESPN seems to state it should – but I do know a loss tonight would end that hope. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game and John Blanchette has a column on the crazy nature of this college season. Just think if GU’s team from last year was still together. It might be No. 1 right now. ... Everyone knows it’s win or go home this week, no matter what. ... The baseball team picked up a resume-building win.

• EWU: The Eagle women didn’t have a good week and will settle for the second seed headed into the Big Sky tourney.

• Whitworth: The NCAA Division III tournament has already started for everyone but Whitworth and one other school. The Pirates begin tonight at 7 by hosting rival – and nemesis, this year at least – Whitman. Tom Clouse has an advance.

• Chiefs: Talk about key wins. Spokane’s 3-2 victory over Prince George on the road allowed the Chiefs to keep a six-point edge over Tri-City for the final Western Conference playoff spot. ... The Americans lost to Portland. ... Seattle won a shootout against Everett and took over the U.S. Division lead.

• Preps: Let’s keep this simple once again: Greg Lee is in Tacoma and he has stories on the Central Valley girls’ semifinal victory over Todd Beamer and Gonzaga Prep’s tight defeat to Federal Way. The Bears will meet Snohomish tonight for the 4A girls title. ... Central Valley and Lewis and Clark’s boys were knocked out of the 4A ranks but Lewis and Clark and Mt. Spokane’s girls survived in the 4A and 3A ranks, respectively. ... Clarkston’s boys will be playing for another 2A title but the East Valley girls lost. ... Freeman’s boys are headed to the 1A title game; Medical Lake was knocked out. ... I covered the 2B boys semifinal between Brewster and Northwest Christian, win by the Crusaders. ... Mike Vlahovich had the 2B girls semifinals. ... Josh Horton covered the 1B boys and Kevin Dudley wrote the 1B girls. ... The Idaho state tournaments are winding down as well. ... Tyler Tjomsland framed all the B action yesterday in this photo gallery. ... Some local folks earned 25-year awards from SWABs. 

• Seahawks: We are at No. 4 in the free-agent countdown and it is Jeremy Lane.

• Mariners: The M’s lost yesterday but that’s not the big news. Well, yes it is. Felix Hernandez is getting ready to pitch in a game, Taijuan Walker’s outing was so-so and Jesus Montero is unfazed by all the first basemen in camp. Anything new there? ... How about this. Manager Scott Servais is going to be fiddling with the infield positioning. And Robinson Cano isn't a fan of Andy Van Slyke.

• Sounders: The nice thing about the MLS season starting this weekend? Last year’s disappointments can be put in the rearview mirror. And we can all watch Jordan Morris develop. ... Portland added an English player to bolster its attack while the L.A. Galaxy has basically rebuilt its team.

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• You know, no matter how old you get, Saturday mornings are still special. They still have that no-school vibe. Even if you haven’t been in school in almost 40 years. Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.