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Grip on Sports: There are some nice perks for college basketball players, including trips to warm places

Pepperdine forward Chris Reyes, left, and Gonzaga guard Silas Melson vie for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Malibu, Calif. Gonzaga won 96-49. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)
Pepperdine forward Chris Reyes, left, and Gonzaga guard Silas Melson vie for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Malibu, Calif. Gonzaga won 96-49. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The weather outside is frightful, thanks to a mid-winter snow/ice/rain storm. But inside? Well, delightful isn’t the right word, but it will do. After all, it isn’t snowing/icing/raining in the house. For now. Read on.


• The best part of being an Inland Northwest college basketball player, besides winning all the time, of course?

(A quick aside. Gonzaga is 24-0. Whitworth is 18-3. Eastern Washington is 16-8. The four-year male college teams in Spokane County are a combined 58-11. That’s not shabby.)

It’s getting an all-expense paid trip out of here during the winter. Right now, while the Gonzaga campus is covered in a layer of ice, the men’s team is in Southern California. It may only hit 67 degrees at Loyola-Marymount today. What a bummer.

Of course, leaving here is a bit of a crapshoot. There are colder places with worse weather conditions.

As we write this, our handy-dandy weather app says it is -5 degrees in Grand Forks, N.D., where Eastern Washington is playing tonight. And it feels like -21, thanks to the wind that begins at the Arctic Circle and doesn’t stop until Texas.

But, really, what does it matter? College basketball players have to be able to do two things: get to class and get to the gym.

In schools around these parts, the latter aspect is probably underrated. Say you are a college basketball player at, I don’t know, Loyola-Marymount. The Pacific Ocean is just down the hill on the Coast Highway. It’s 74 degrees outside. Where would you rather be, in the gym working on your jumper or lying in the sand admiring the scenery?

That same day in Spokane it is probably 24 degrees. It might be snowing. Or worse. The gym seems like an inviting place to be.

• A lot of high school games were cancelled yesterday. And more might have to be postponed today, as most schools districts in the Spokane area cancelled classes.

Check the S-R website for more throughout the day.


Gonzaga: Speaking of the snowbirds, the Zags face Loyola tonight in the classic trap game, with the showdown with Saint Mary’s looming on Saturday. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game, which starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised on KHQ in the Spokane area. … Jim also has the news Nigel Williams-Goss practiced this week and is expected back tonight and his inclusion in the late-season Wooden Award list. We can also offer a look at LMU’s best player and a summary of the one-sided series. … John Blanchette has some thoughts on the NCAA tournament selection committee handing out a February sneak preview. … The Gonzaga women are set to host Loyola-Marymount tonight. Jim Allen has an advance of that game. … Around the WCC, the Lions are looking forward to a good crowd as the nation’s No. 1 team visits. … BYU will be without its starting point guard when it tries to win at Pepperdine for the first time in years.

WSU: The Cougars didn’t play very well against Utah earlier this year, losing 88-47 at home. They hope tonight’s rematch in Salt Lake City is more competitive. Jacob Thorpe has an advance. … Stefanie Loh had Gabe Marks write a letter to his younger self. After reading it, I wonder if the 14-year-old Marks would wonder how he got so serious. … Around the Pac-12, there were a couple basketball games last night, with host Arizona struggling to hold off a Stanford team that should have been overmatched and California going into Tempe and getting past Arizona State. … The biggest game of the weekend will be in Pauley, where UCLA will try to avenge a loss against Oregon earlier this season. … USC and Bennie Boatwright are playing better this year, though only a hardcore few are noticing. … Washington travels to Colorado knowing its defense has to improve for the season to get better. … In football, Oregon has lost another of its new assistants. This one took off for UCLA. … Lynn Swann is the athletic director at USC. I know, weird for me too. His girlfriend and mine were friends at Southern California. So we played board games together a couple times. It was the 1970s.

EWU: The Eagles are in Grand Forks for the start of a weekend road trip that also takes them to scenic Greeley, Colorado. Jim Allen has a preview of the key two-game stretch.

Chiefs: Spokane scored three third-period goals to get past visiting Portland last night in the Arena. Josh Horton has the story of the much-needed 6-5 win while Colin Mulvany adds a photo report.

Preps: It’s Thursday and Greg Lee has the usual in-depth prep report today, with a feature on Mt. Spokane’s rebounding machine, Miahna Waters (pictured). … Greg also has some sad news from the school. … Playoffs are in progress in wrestling and gymnastics this weekend. … Fall’s All-State soccer teams were announced and there are a lot of local athletes included. … There were a few basketball games played last night and we have roundups from girls and boys action as well as a look back at some of the week’s earlier action. … The WIAA’s Rep Assembly will have the typical handful of new rules to consider in late April.

Seahawks: Is it time for Roger Goodell to ride off into the sunset?

Mariners: The M’s traded catcher Jesus Sucre to Tampa Bay yesterday, which makes it a bit easier to examine the position prior to spring training. … The WBC will include a few M’s.

Sounders: The Sounders’ MLS title was the top story of 2016 in the Seattle area. Now comes the 2017 season. … Portland is revamping its roster a bit.


• It’s supposed to get into the mid-40s, temperature-wise, today in Spokane. Then the roads should be better. Maybe. The ice may be gone but the puddles could be really fun. Until later …

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