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Friday, May 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Area sports

Grip on Sports: Just like in the real world, the seasons change within the athletic world as well

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams battles Texas forward Mohamed Bamba for a loose ball in GU’s 76-71 victory Sunday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams battles Texas forward Mohamed Bamba for a loose ball in GU’s 76-71 victory Sunday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s transition time. Time to begin the slow transition from football season to basketball season. Read on.

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• We are talking colleges here, sure, but the reality is the same at all levels. The process is just either more drawn out – professionals – or more sudden – preps.

Either way, one season ends, another begins.

(And, yes, I am well aware there are other fall sports, from volleyball to cross country, and there are more winter sports – I see you, and admire your grit, wrestlers – but when was the last time any of those sports’ television ratings were anywhere near those of football and basketball?)

College football is about to end its regular season. The postseason madness, from deciding who will be allowed to win a “national title” to the excesses of the bowl season, will be upon us soon.

College basketball is pushing for more of our interest. It teased us over Thanksgiving weekend with some incredibly fun tournaments – especially if “your” team was involved – before receding for now, only re-emerging with the occasional spotlighted non-conference game.

One of those occurs Friday in Spokane, when a ranked Creighton team that defeated UCLA by 11 recently, visits the Kennel. Between then and now, however, the Zags host a school from San Antonio that wasn’t even known outside Bexar County a year or two ago. Incarnate Word is at McCarthey tonight to face GU and if you were aware of the school before the Gonzaga schedule was announced, why?

But that’s the early season for college hoops. Great matchups interrupted by games that allow a coaching staff to work the players through a few things. Or, in Lorenzo Romar’s case when he was in charge at UW, the entire non-conference schedule.

The transition will continue throughout December as football slowly recedes and conference basketball play begins. A month from now all that will be left on the football schedule are the high-profile bowl games. All that will be left on the college basketball schedule? Just about everything.

•••

WSU: In case you’ve missed it, Washington State is currently one of the few schools that seem to be relevant in both sports. The basketball team found its outside stroke and won the Wooden Classic. Theo Lawson has that story as well as a video of Ernie Kent speaking with the media. … Soccer coach Todd Shulenberger received a contract extension from interim athletic director John Johnson. … Back to football, the Cougars remained in the playoff rankings after the Apple Cup, albeit below the Huskies.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, until next week, there will be lots of speculation about bowl assignments. My guess for the Cougars: The Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara. My hope for the Cougars: Their opponent is Michigan. … The Pac-12 title will be decided Friday night in Santa Clara. Stanford began to get better when it made a change at quarterback. USC has always had the same quarterback but Sam Darnold has changed a bit. … There are two coaching openings in the conference. Oregon State’s seems a bit under the radar when compared to what’s going on in Tempe. That Arizona State is interviewing Herm Edwards, a guy with no college head coaching experience, is dividing the fanbase into two camps. … In basketball news, UCLA is still dealing with the fallout from the China incident. Meanwhile, there have been some developments at USC in relationship with a player caught up in the FBI investigation. … California won a game last night as did Washington. Neither played a high-powered opponent. … Can Arizona bounce back from an awful weekend?

Gonzaga: The Zags’ Portland weekend showed a lot of things, but Jim Meehan points out the crucial one: GU can play with the best again this season. That isn’t a word that describes tonight’s opponent, which Meehan previews. … The women, nursing some injuries, will host Eastern on Thursday night. Jim Allen has a preview of that non-conference matchup.

EWU: If you were wondering how Cooper Kupp was doing with the Rams, have no fear. Jim Allen has your curiosity covered. … Around the Big Sky, the FCS playoff matchup between Southern Utah and Weber State is beginning to sound more like a rivalry game than a playoff one. … In basketball, South Dakota picked up a home win.

Seahawks: There seems to be little in the way of clarity in the running back position. … The Hawks are big underdogs at home. That isn’t normal. … Seattle made a minor roster move and the schedule was changed.

Mariners: It’s time for Edgar Martinez to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

Sounders: Seattle can earn a berth Thursday in the MLS title game with a win, draw or a loss by one-goal.

•••       

• There were some high school basketball games played in the area last night. Not many, but some. Can a major snowfall be far behind? Until later … 

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