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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Decisions, decisions

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier and the Bulldogs have a lot to get excited about. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier and the Bulldogs have a lot to get excited about. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There are so many college basketball games going on this week, there has to be some overlap. But can’t some of it be avoided? Read on.


• The NIT learned long ago not to pit its backup tournament games against the monster that is the NCAA tourney. But it doesn’t seem as if the powers-that-be at the women’s NIT have learned that lesson yet. They will. Maybe as early as Thursday night. That’s when the Gonzaga women will make an appearance in the WNIT. At home against UC Riverside. The game will start at 6 p.m. That’s all well and good, with the Zags probably feeling a bit lucky to have a postseason berth considering their fifth-place finish in the WCC. But Zag fans, they aren’t feeling too lucky today. Not if they want to root for both their women’s and men’s teams. That’s because the men tip-off at 7 p.m. (6:57 to be exact) in Denver. Just about when the women should be emerging from the locker room at halftime. Want to watch both? Not going to happen, at least not live. A choice has to be made. One would think there would have been another window of time to schedule the women’s game. There are WNIT games scheduled for Wednesday night. Why wasn’t the Gonzaga game one of them? Heck, there are games Friday. Now that wouldn’t be perfect because the NCAA games are at the Arena, and that would cut into the GU crowd, but more so than the men’s game? Probably not. Ah well. A decision has to be made. It has been in our home.

• Speaking of Wednesday night games, Eastern Washington and Idaho will both be playing and their games will overlap as well. But I’m guessing that’s not as big a deal. The Eagles will be home, hosting Pepperdine, which is familiar to this area and to this area’s fans. The Vandals will be on the road, playing at Seattle U, which is familiar to everyone in Moscow due to their recent battles as WAC members up until 2014. With the NCAA first-round games not beginning until Thursday, there is no excuse not to follow along.

• I’m not sure where the inspiration came from, but Jim Meehan had an inspired idea yesterday. And was able to pull it off. He talked with Long Beach State coach Dan Monson about Seton Hall, Gonzaga’s first-round NCAA opponent. Monson’s 49ers played – and defeated – Seton Hall early this season, so he’s got a unique perspective on the matchup. But no matter how inspired an idea, it wouldn’t have worked if Monson, whose team is playing Washington in the NIT tonight in Seattle, wasn’t willing to make the time to talk. He was. It’s been a long time since Monson was Gonzaga’s head coach, but he spent a big part of his life in the Inland Northwest and still has a soft spot for the area. That was obvious a few years ago when his Long Beach State team played WSU in the NIT. Beasley was awash with folks rooting for Monson – if not the 49ers. But no matter how tied a college coach is to his former stomping grounds, it takes a special one to make time for such an interview. And Monson, in a lot of ways, is that type of guy.


• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan’s story illustrates the difference in styles between Seton Hall and GU, with the Pirates highlighting their guard play and Gonzaga its bigs. ... Jim Allen has an advance of the Gonzaga's WNIT matchup. The WCC has six teams in the women’s postseason, with BYU and USF making the NCAA tournament and Gonzaga, San Diego, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara the women’s NIT.

• WSU: If you want to catch games at the Arena this weekend, it will cost you. Jim Allen’s story details the rising cost if tickets on the secondary market. ... The biggest news in the Pac-12 yesterday? Stanford fired long-time coach Johnny Dawkins after another year without an NCAA appearance. An alum without head coaching experience is the frontrunner to replace Dawkins. ... California also fired an assistant coach on the eve of its NCAA game, but there were extenuating circumstances. ... As we noted earlier, Washington hosts an NIT game tonight, but it is falling behind Oregon in the race to be the Northwest’s best Pac-12 basketball program. ... If you didn’t really get to know David Yost’s backstory while he was in Pullman, this feature will fill in the gaps for you. ... What if Mike Leach's idea caught on?

• EWU: In Jim Allen’s women's basketball story he also covers Eastern’s inability to earn a bid to the 64-team WNIT. The snub upset EWU coach Wendy Schuller.

• Idaho: The Idaho women, who won the Big Sky’s automatic berth, was matched up with No. 1 seed Baylor in Waco in the NCAA tournament’s first round. Sean Kramer has that story.

• NIC: The Cardinals will open national tournament play tonight in Kansas.

• Seahawks: The Hawks are still awaiting Russell Okung’s decision but they aren’t waiting to build depth on both lines. They made some moves yesterday that add just that.

• Mariners: Felix Hernandez made his first start of the spring and wasn’t overly sharp. But that’s to be expected and no one is concerned. ... Maybe of bigger concern is Taijuan Walker was also knocked around a bit as the M’s lost both split-squad games Monday. ... Hisashi Iwakuma has been throwing really well, which is a cause for optimism.

• Sounders: A veteran goal scorer with a strong first name has been training with the Sounders recently, though Hercules Gomez has yet to sign. He would supply depth to the team.


• Busy this afternoon? If you are, great. Have fun. If not, then spend your time with me. Yep, I’m on the radio today. I’m joining Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens on 700 ESPN starting at 3 p.m. I have to work three hours, which, for a retired guy, seems like a long time. But I'll power through. You can listen here if you want. Until then ...

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

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