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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: Saturday thoughts range from the snow to getting snowed under with college basketball

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Looking out our front window this morning, we were transported back in time. Thirty years ago or so, we had to make a business trip to Washington, D.C. Got stuck in Minneapolis on the way back. And really experienced snow berms beyond what we get in Spokane. Or thought then we get in Spokane.


• Saturday morning thoughts. That’s what we have. With no print paper on the day, nor an on-line Chronicle in the afternoon, our thoughts wander a bit on Saturday mornings. Today, they wandered to the piles of snow on the ground. The way the street looks a bit like a white canal, with asphalt instead of water and snow serving as the sides. All we need is a gondola, a red-striped shirt, a beret and a warm coat and we can pretend to be in Venice.

Which is quite sad.

This weekend was supposed to be special. Our alma mater is playing baseball in Spokane. Wait, let’s get that right. Our alma mater was scheduled to play baseball in Spokane. Yep. UC Irvine and Gonzaga have a three-game set locked in. Which is now a two-game set. Friday’s game was canceled after the six inches of snow (or so) that hit the area yesterday. Today’s game is still on at 3 p.m. but, boy, that seems iffy. And not a lot of fun for the visitors.

We understand the home-field advantage the Zags would have in this matter. As a freshman, our Anteater squad played at the University of Nevada in April of 1975. At night. In 30-degree weather. All we remember is getting up every half inning and running down to the right-field foul pole and back, just to get the blood moving.

On the same trip, busing from Reno to Davis, we stopped somewhere on Interstate 80 for a break. In the Sierras. And had a snowball fight. A first in our experience. It wouldn’t be the last.

• Is the Pac-12 doomed? That was the thrust of a CBS Sports story Thursday, one purporting to know the Four Corner schools (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State) are getting ready to jump to the Big 12. The conference and the schools are talking weekly. That the Pac-12’s media deal won’t be enough to keep the conference together.

Could be right. Or maybe not. Utah athletic director Mark Harlan had a response on Twitter. “Give me a break,” he wrote in reply to Dennis Dodd’s story tweet. That’s it. Four words. Is he saying it’s all baloney? Or is he tired of the constant noise? Only Harlan knows. But the simplest explanation is the most obvious, right? Isn’t there a term for that?

Anyhow, the simple interpretation is Dodd’s report is off base. And that’s how we’ll interpret it until proven otherwise.

• The top of the NFL draft has changed. According to multiple reports, the Carolina Panthers have sent a chest full of draft picks and a talented receiver to Chicago for the pick. And will take a quarterback off the board.

How does that impact the regional franchise? If anyone wants what they perceive as a game-changing signal caller, then they’ll have to move up too. That may just leave the Hawks, sitting at five, with a great defensive lineman. Maybe even one without the baggage of Georgia’s Jalen Carter. Maybe even Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr., if the Cardinals trade their third pick.

• We got so wrapped up in local college basketball yesterday, we forgot it was Friday. Which means we forgot to rave about what was on TV over the weekend. Other than college hoops, though, you’re not missing much.

If you like golf, the fifth Beatle, er, the fifth major, is going on outside of Jacksonville. The weather isn’t cooperating, however. The Players Championship, featuring fewer big-name players thanks to the Saudi-backed tour, continues through Sunday. The main broadcast is on NBC (starting at 10 a.m. today).

Seattle’s XFL team plays tonight (FX, 7 p.m.) and the Kraken host Dallas (Root, also at 7). If you are into the World Baseball Classic, there are couple games on today, including Great Britain vs. the U.S. (Fox 28, 6 p.m.)

And there is a lot of college hoop. The best games? We vote for No. 7 Texas vs. No. 3 Kansas in the Big 12 (ESPN, 3 p.m.), sixth-ranked Marquette vs. No. 15 Xavier in the Big East (Fox 28, 3:30), No. 13 Virginia vs. No. 21 Duke (ESPN, 5:30) or second-ranked UCLA vs. No. 8 Arizona in the Pac-12 final (ESPN, 7:30).

That’s a pretty stacked day.


WSU: Time for some good news. Myles Rice, the Cougar guard who has missed the season battling cancer, received a clean bill of health Thursday. He finished his treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was pronounced cancer-free. Colton Clark has more in this heartwarming story. … The baseball team opened Pac-12 play in Corvallis on Friday and fell 5-1 to Oregon State. Trent Sellers, who used to pitch in Pullman, earned the win. … Jon Wilner has his weekly mailbag in the Mercury News. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college basketball, UCLA lost another key player to injury yesterday but still prevailed over Oregon 75-56. It might have been the final nail in the Ducks’ NCAA hopes. … The late game was a third meeting between state rivals Arizona and Arizona State. It wasn’t close. The Wildcats won 78-59 and moved on to another revenge game. … By the way, the conference could change next season’s schedule and have UCLA and Arizona play twice. … For some reason Stanford is standing pat. Basketball coach Jerod Haase will be back for an eighth season. In his first seven, the Cardinal have played in one NIT and zero NCAA tournaments. … Washington is wondering if Keion Brooks Jr. will return. … Despite the loss to UCLA, Oregon found out some good news. … Colorado hopes it receives some good NIT news Sunday. … Utah is also not making a change with its coach. … The Utah women are waiting to hear where they will land in the NCAA tourney. … In football news, there were some scuffles at Washington’s practice Friday. … Larry Stone looks back at Joe Jarzynka’s life as well as his Husky career. … Oregon is trying to reload its offensive line. … We have another story on another Colorado assistant coach to pass along.

Gonzaga: Drew Timme is not only GU’s all-time leading scorer, he’s a WCC treasure. At least that’s what Bill Cartwright, a certified WCC treasure, told Theo Lawson recently. … Timme is also a Naismith Trophy semifinalist. Theo has that story as well.

EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, injuries, Weber State is in the market for a new women’s basketball coach.

CCS and NIC: The Northwest Athletic Conference basketball tournament is underway in Pasco and we can pass along this roundup.

Preps: A spring sports roundup? With all the snow on the ground? Yes. Dave Nichols has you covered, like the snow on your local baseball field.

Chiefs: Spokane’s two-game winning streak vs. Portland ended last night in the Arena. The Winterhawks prevailed 5-2. Kevin Dudley has the game story.

Seahawks: If Geno Smith plays like he did last season, the Hawks got a great deal. As did Geno. … Bobby Wagner will be able to sign with anyone next week.

Mariners: A relief pitcher is taking it slow as he returns from arm surgery.

Sounders: Seattle plays today. And we have this story on defender Jackson Ragen to pass along.

Kraken: We can pass along a quick look back at Thursday’s loss.


• The one thing we love about this job? We get to write whatever we want. If that ever changes, we’ll be done. Don’t worry. We don’t see it changing anytime in the near future. Until later …