A GRIP ON SPORTS • Today is the shortest day of the year. Less sunlight than any other. Actually, and I didn’t know this until I looked it up, yesterday and today have nearly the same amount of light. Tomorrow has about four seconds more. Then the earth picks up momentum and we begin the long roll until spring. It almost parallels the college basketball season. Read on.
• This is the day life starts to look up. At least that’s the way I’ve always looked at it. As the days grow shorter and shorter, my temper does as well. I love the sun. Favorite Beatles’ song? Yep, “Here Comes the Sun.” Favorite Steven Spielberg/Christian Bale collaboration? “Empire of the Sun.” Favorite Hemingway novel? “The Sun Also Rises.”
You get my drift. And today, the sun begins to show its face more and more. It’s only been recently I’ve discovered how closely the transition from fall to winter to spring parallel the college hoops experience.
Take autumn for instance. It has some interesting phenomena of its own. Is there a better time of year for full moons? They always seem so big and bright as the nights grow longer, the air grows colder and our beards grow thicker.
College basketball has its share of phenomenal non-conference games as well, most of which occur in the fall. It whets the appetite for what’s ahead.
But then comes the end of the season. Autumn, that is. Around Christmas time the college hoops season slows down. Finals intrude. So do the holidays. As the shorter days grow busier, college basketball seems to recede.
No matter. Christmas – and winter – comes. So do conference seasons. The long slog to March Madness, hoops and weather, begins. By the time spring is ready to make an appearance we are into the best month of sports there is: the NCAA tournament month.
The days are warmer, the basketball hotter, the future sunny.
At least that’s the way I imagine it this time every year. It’s the only way I can get through the next three months.
WSU: The bowl season is upon us. The Pac-12 is about to get underway. Jacob Thorpe has his picks. Well, his picks except the Holiday Bowl. I’m sure that will be WSU winning 99-0. … The Cougar linebacking corps isn’t highly thought of in this ranking. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 football, Alabama is college football’s best team and the biggest test UW’s offensive line has faced. … Oregon State’s Gary Andersen earned an extension. … Bryce Love gets a chance to shine for Stanford. … It’s the Rose Bowl. … In basketball, Arizona rolled over New Mexico and No. 9 Creighton rolled over Arizona State. … This story took me back to high school. I actually remember vividly both these games. … Oregon handled Fresno State. … Washington rallied in the second half to get past Cal Poly at home.
Gonzaga: The seventh-ranked Zags welcome 9-5 South Dakota into McCarthey tonight, trying to stretch their undefeated streak to open the season to 12 games. That would be the first time that’s ever happened. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game and the keys and goals to tonight’s game, as well as two short pieces from the Tennessee game and a look back at the last time the schools met. … Around the WCC, No. 19 Saint Mary’s had little trouble with visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. … BYU started fast and dominated Idaho State. … Pacific picked up a home win over Kennesaw State. … Pepperdine lost on the road in Louisiana.
EWU: The Eagles played at No. 17 Xavier yesterday. They led late in the first half. They lost 85-56. … In Big Sky hoops, Portland State finally got the better of city rival Portland State, 77-75. … North Dakota lost at Iowa and, in the process, angered the Hawkeyes usually angry coach. … Northern Colorado defeated visiting UC Riverside. … Northern Arizona lost at Illinois-Chicago.
Idaho: John Blanchette covered Deon Watson Sr., (pictured) when he was a basketball player at Idaho. Now he writes a pre-Potato Bowl column about Deon Watson Jr. That’s symmetry, or something. … The Idaho women gave Oregon all it could handle in Eugene but fell 73-70.
Preps: It was the final Tuesday night of basketball before Christmas, with the final GSL boys’ undefeated team, Gonzaga Prep, handed its first loss, by Ferris. There is also a girls GSL roundup and roundups from girls and boys action throughout the area.
Seahawks: So yesterday Richard Sherman got annoyed at Washington State alum Jim Moore when the P-I columnist turned radio talker asked some tough questions concerning Sherman’s latest sideline rant. According to the transcripts, Sherman threatened to “ruin your career.” Didn’t Sherman realize who he was threatening? Moore is my age. His “career” is already over. We kid because we like Jim, if course. All us old guys have to stick together. … Sherman wasn’t apologetic about his verbal explosion, of course. … Four Seahawks were selected to the Pro Bowl, including the first time for Cliff Avril. … The tie in Arizona may be crucial come the end of the season. … Earl Thomas still isn’t sure about the future. … The offensive line is still in flux.
• We’ll be back here tonight with our TV Take on the Gonzaga game. I have the feeling the announcing team will be filling a lot of time with stories and what-not as the Zags roll over South Dakota. Until later …
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.