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

A Grip on Sports: We’re about to get snowed under by college basketball and more this fine Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Let’s get right to it. After all, we may have to shovel snow this morning.


• Not yet. There is a skiff of snow at our home, which is pretty, sure, but doesn’t bode well for our back. Our for all the errands we have to run today.

The best part of getting away? Getting away. The worst part? All that awaits you when you return. The first thing that awaits this morning is this. And filling in any holes we missed yesterday. As in our usual look at the weekend ahead.

Today’s schedule is basketball heavy, with every local men’s Division I team in action – except, for some odd reason, Idaho. The Vandals don’t have a second game today in the Big Sky’s challenge series with the Summit League. Eastern Washington does, hosting North Dakota State (SWX, 2 p.m.).

Washington State is also hosting, with suddenly hot Oregon in Pullman for a 7 p.m. game (ESPNU). Oh, and there is one more local game, with the Zags taking on USD in McCarthey, with the 1999 team being honored with throw-back uniforms and such during the WCC contest (KHQ/Root, 6 p.m.).

There are great games throughout the day, even if some of them fly under the radar for the average fan. That’s what conference play will do for you.

The best top-25 matchup, and a game in which a poll-upset could occur, is in Clemson, with the No. 16 Tigers (11-1) host eighth-ranked North Carolina (9-3) on ESPN2 (9 a.m.). Sadly, that game is going on as the same time as No. 7 Marquette is on the road for a battle with Seton Hall (CBS Sports). Of all the top-10 games today, we believe this is the one most ripe for an upset.

The best Pac-12 game tonight, outside of Pullman? Utah, which looked a bit discombobulated Thursday at Arizona State, is in Tucson to take on Arizona (Pac-12 Networks, 5).

If that last game doesn’t excite you, then there is always ABC’s NFL game, with Houston at Indianapolis (5:15). Former WSU star Gardner Minshew will try to lead the Colts to the playoffs with a win.


WSU: The football roster churn continued Friday, with the Cougars picking up two Oregon transfers from the portal and losing star safety Jaden Hicks to the NFL. Greg Woods has both those stories. … The women’s basketball team fell at Stanford, continuing the nation’s longest winless streak between two schools. We have a prediction. The Cougars win Feb. 11, when Stanford comes to Pullman. One caveat. Washington State has to be healthy. … The new volleyball coach was on staff last season. Korey Schroeder, who came to WSU last season, was named the head coach Friday, replacing Jen Greeny, who left for West Virginia. Greg has more in this story. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner has his weekly mailbag in the Mercury News. … There were other women’s basketball games last night, the most notably of which came in Los Angeles. No. 9 USC held off previously undefeated Oregon State 56-54 as the Beavers missed two shots in the last 10 seconds. … Second-ranked UCLA overpowered Oregon at Pauley, winning 75-49. … Fifth-ranked Colorado won for the first time in Tucson, edging Arizona 75-74. … Washington lost at Cal. … Utah demolished Arizona State but may have suffered a big loss. … In men’s news, Colorado will try to bounce back against Arizona State. … Utah has to do the same against the 10th-ranked Wildcats. … USC needs to get better defensively. … UCLA has a date with California. … In football news, the national title game is Monday night, with Washington facing off against Michigan, of course. It is not only a contrast in styles, it is also the Pac-12’s (AWKI) swan song. By the way, is the Heisman voting a little too early these days? … Elijah Jackson made one of the biggest plays in Husky history. … We can pass along an Oregon State mailbag. There is also transfer news. … Arizona State also picked up an Oregon transfer. … A former Utah player is headed back to the SEC. … Arizona heads to the Big 12, where it should do well.

Gonzaga: Before we look forward to tonight’s game, we let Theo Lawson have the final word on Thursday win in the Arena. He has a rewind of the game. … Jim Meehan weighs in with his preview of the USD matchup in the Kennel and points out the Torero player on the hottest of hot streaks in the key matchup. … As we mentioned, and linked, above, the 1999 team is being honored. That is covered by Theo.  

EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, second-seeded Montana heads into Sunday’s FCS title game (ABC, 11 a.m.) as a 13.5-point underdog against top-seed, and defending champ, South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits have won 28 consecutive times. … Weber State’s men are starting to roll again as the basketball season heats up. … Northern Arizona is happy to be back home.

Whitworth: Behind JoJo Anderson’s 20 points, the Pirates continued their hot streak, winning 90-75 over Lewis & Clark in Portland.

Preps: Dave Nichols was on the North Side for the rivalry battles between Mead and Mt. Spokane. Those games highlight his roundup of Friday’s action.

Chiefs: Spokane’s hot streak cooled off a bit with an 8-4 loss at Swift Current. Dave also put together that story.

Seahawks: The Hawks have to win at Arizona to have any chance at the playoffs. Then again, if Green Bay wins at home against Chicago, the outcome is moot. … Jordyn Brooks may be back, which would help. … Julian Love sure stepped up big time this season. … There will be one player making his Seahawk debut this week.

Mariners: Jerry Dipoto says he may make more moves but after two trades Friday, he may be done. A complete team? We don’t think so. Still, Mitch Haniger is coming back (and Robbie Ray is gone, headed to the Giants) and the M’s also made another deal with Tampa Bay.

Kraken: Forward Oliver Bjorkstrand is having a bounce-back season. 


• It’s coming down hard. Starting to pile up. And, yes, we are being a bit petulant about it. A week ago, we were walking on the beach. It wasn’t all that warm and the surf was high, but it wasn’t snowing. We can’t wait for March 19 to get here. We are a big spring guy, allergies be darned. Until later …