Category Archives: Gonzaga

Physical O-lines still in vogue; Zags reload; Sherman shares more thoughts

How many of you saw this one coming? Stanford, a 10- or 10.5-point underdog on its home turf, beat Oregon 26-20 in the marquee college football game of the week on Thursday night.

The Ducks couldn’t score a touchdown in three quarters. So the Ducks’ national title hopes are gone, and Stanford has the inside track on earning a second straight Rose Bowl bid after upsetting Oregon for the second straight season. Stanford’s time of possession (42:34) told the story in this one, just as it did a year ago when Stanford won 17-14 in Eugene. Oregon ran just 74 players in that one and punted eight times.

And if you’ve seen Oregon QB Marcus Mariota play, you know he wasn’t himself. There were rumors before the game that he wasn’t 100 percent because of a knee injury and he didn’t look to run against Stanford and the Ducks were turned into a one-dimensional offense. The nation’s No. 2 rushing offense ran for just 61 yards.

I find it interesting in this era of high-powered, wide-open spread offenses, that No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State, No. 4  Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford are all getting it done on offense with old-style physical offensive lines. They can protect the quarterback and beat you with a punishing run-game. Stanford pounded Tyler Gaffney at Oregon 45 times for 157 yards.

 

College Basketball

Gonzaga, as always, will be an interesting team to watch. They’ve got a 7-1 center (Przemek Karnowski), an exciting transfer from Providence (Gerard Coleman), and another promising transfer from Louisville (Angel Nunez) to go along with returners Sam Dower, Kevin Pangos and David Stockton. Go ahead and pencil the Zags into the NCAA tournament. They’ve made it 16 straight years and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be there again.

Not that it matters at this stage of the college basketball season, but Gonzaga is projected as a No. 4 seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology listings at ESPN.com. The Washington Huskies are not projected to be one of the 68 teams selected to play in the NCAA tournament

I think the Huskies, picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12, could surprise. Perris Blackwell, a 6-10 transfer from San Francisco,  looks like a legit inside presence on offense, something the Huskies have lacked in recent years. Freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss might be the real deal and CJ. Wilcox is the real deal. I’ll also be interested to see how the Arizona State Sun Devils fare. I got a chance to see Shaquielle McKissic play in the NWAACC last season when he was with Edmonds CC and the 6-5 transfer, a Kentridge High grad, promises to be one of the most exciting talents in the Pac-12.

If Sherman was the commish ….

What if Richard Sherman was the commissioner of the NFL? He tackles that question in his latest column for Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for SI.com. Here’s an exerpt:

“It’s a difficult job, I’m sure, working for the owners while looking out for the welfare of the players. It always seems like a happy balance is being struck in late April, when a parade of draftees crosses the stage at Radio City Music Hall, each one giving Roger Goodell a handshake and a hug after his name is called. But for the rest of the year it’s clear that the interests of the 1,700 players pale in importance to those of the 32 owners.

Read the entire column here.

 

 

Husky football not getting a lot of love by bookies & how about GONE-zaga?

How about some more odds?

Passing through Nevada on my way south to Arizona, I checked out  some odds other than those related to the NCAA basketball tournament.

The Washington Huskies, who open the football season at home against Boise State on Aug. 31, are 80-1 shots to win the BCS championship. Boise State, which beat the UW in the Las Vegas Bowl in December, are 50-1 shots.

Alabama (3-1) is favored to win another title. Oregon (4-1) and Ohio State (6-1) were behind ‘Bama.

Besides Oregon, Stanford (10-1) is the only Pac-12 team given a decent shot of winning a national title. But UCLA (40-1), USC (40-1), Arizona State (50-1) and Oregon State (60-1) are all higher rated than the Huskies. Arizona (100-1), Washington State (150-1), Colorado (200-1) and Utah (300-1) didn’t get much respect at all from Nevada bookies.

The Seahawks are getting a lot of respect. Seattle is lumped with New England and Denver at 5-1 to win Super Bowl XLVIII. The 49ers (4-1) are the team to beat. Green Bay (9-1), Houston (10-1), Atlanta (10-1), New Orleans (10-1) and defending champion Baltimore (10-1) are in the next tier.

Do you like the Mariners chances to win the World Series? Nevada oddsmakers list them at 30-1, same as the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Pirates. The Dodgers (5-1) are the pick this season, followed by the Tigers (7-1) Angels (7-1) and Blue Jays (7-1). The Nationals (8-1), and Yankees (8-1) have the next-best odds. The Marlins (100-1) and Astros (100-1) are the longest shots.

Did you put money on Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament?  FGC’s odds are 999-1. And what were the odds of the FGC coach landing a supermodel for a wife? Really, he did. Read it right here.

GONE-zaga was an 8-1 shot with WAS being the operative word. The Zags ran into a pretty good team in Wichita State, which shot it really good when it mattered. But a lack of depth was apparent, especially after guard Gary Bell went out with an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return. The Shockers’ bench outscored Gonzaga’s little-used subs 34-7.

The Miami Heat have now won 25 straight games, so it wasn’t surprising to see them as a 5-6 favorite to win the NBA Finals. That means you gotta bet $5 to win $6. Unless you have Donald Trump money, it’s not even worth a play. The Spurs and Thunder are at 3-1 with the Bulls and Clippers at 8-1 and Pacers and Knicks at 9-1.

Jimmie Johnson (2-1) is the clear-cut favorite to win NASCAR’s 2013 Sprint Cup.

Links

Sacramento’s new arena deal avoids new taxes. Are Kings closer to keeping NBA team from moving to Seattle?

RG3 recovery from injury superhuman, says Dr. James Andrews.

Here’s a nice photo gallery from The Spokesman-Review of the Gonzaga-Wichita State NCAA game.

That’s all for now. Got a baseball game to see tomorrow. Time to break out the sunscreen. We’re six minutes away from the home of the White Sox and Dodgers in Glendale, it’s 20 minutes to Peoria, 30 to Surprise. Have a good Sunday. Hope your bracket’s not too busted up.

A few NCAA thoughts from the road

Left Bremerton on Sunday, and it already seems like we’ve been gone three weeks. From B-town to Reno to Las Vegas, the road trip has taken us to Flagstaff, Ariz. Next stop: The Grand Canyon. Then it’s off to Arizona for some  sun and baseball.

Followed the NCAA Tournament on the radio for most of the day, wondering if Gonzaga was going to hold off Southern. Southern? Can you imagine the heat the Zags would have taken if they’d lost to a No. 16?

When B.F. Goodrich invented rubber galoshes in 1923 in Akron, Ohio, they featured a new invention called the zipper. Hence, that’s how Akron came to be known as the Zips. And those are the things you google while on the road with a couple of buddies. Maybe the Zips were wearing galoshes on Thursday during an 88-42 loss to Virginia Commonwealth? Or maybe VCU is that good? If a No. 11 seed is ever going to win the tournament, this might be the one. “Organized chaos,” is how one of TV’s talking heads described VCU.

Cal, Oregon and Arizona all win on Thursday? Who saw that coming? The Pac-12 hasn’t gotten much respect in recent years, but maybe this is the year they will earn some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

This just in: No. 14 Harvard KO’s No, 3 seed New Mexico in the West, 68-62. The Ivy Leaguers weren’t suppose to be here this year after losing two co-captains after a grade scandal.  Next up for the Crimson is Arizona. Upsets like this are what make this tournament so great. Look at your bracket. I bet it just got busted.

This just in: Syracuse leads Montana 72-28. Do you think the Grizzlies are happy they made the tournament?

My column this week was about the Odds of March. The next one will be about spring training.

Quick hits

Former Central Kitsap football coach Paul Stoffel, who was an assistant at West High when I played, is living in Prescott, Ariz., and we will get together on Saturday. Stoffel’s granddaughter, Kristin Stoffel, is a freshman basketball player at Seattle University.

Miami comes from 27-points back in the third quarter to beat Cleveland and extend its NBA winning streak to 24 games. This, two days after overcoming a 17-point deficit in a victory over Boston. Oh, yeah, both games were on the road. The Heat won three straight in four days to cap a 5-0 road trip. Enough about this nonsense about LeBron James not being in Michael Jordan’s league. When Jordan left the Bulls to play pro baseball, Chicago still managed to get back to the NBA Finals the next year. When James left Cleveland, which had become one of the league’s elite teams, the Cavs suddenly became the worst team in basketball.

Nate Roberts, a senior from Central Kitsap, is finishing up his four-year baseball career at Seattle University and coach Donny Herrel calls the middle infielder the “perfect program guy.”

Nice to see Olympic College’s baseball team is off to a good start. The Rangers are 9-4. It’s still a shame that Kitsap County officials won’t let the Rangers volunteer their time to work on the field at the fairgrounds. OC’s willing to work on the field before and after practices. Unless something’s changed in the last week, the county is only allowing the college to practice 10 times on the field. OC’s played several of its home games at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham is hitting .276 for the Texas Rangers this spring and is still in the running for a backup outfield position. North Kitsap grad Jared Prince has appeared in three spring games for the Rangers and is hitless in two at bats. It’s possible both Kitsap products could start the season at Triple-A Round Rock, which plays in the Pacific Coast League.

 

 

This could be Gonzaga team that gets to Final Four & links on Seahawks’ Percy Harvin trade

Like a lot of you, I’m not sure Gonzaga’s the No. 1 team in the country, but the Zags proved during its 65-51 West Coast Conference championship victory over Saint Mary’s on Monday night that they are certainly deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Gonzaga showed off all elements of its game against the Gaels. Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris dominated inside. Kevin Pangos, Kevin Bell Jr. and David Stockton brought toughness, and smart decision-making to the court. David Hart brought his defense and all those intangibles that make him the player he is. Coach Mark Few pretty much stuck with those six players, but he’s got a capable bench that will need to come up big at some point if the Zags are going to make a deep run in the tournament. There will be games when Gonzaga will need more than 10 minutes from 6-10 Sam Dower.

Questions? They might be susceptible to a tough zone defense. BYU made it tough for Gonzaga to get good looks in a late-season game where it pushed the Zags to the very end. Syracuse, for instance, might be a tough draw.

Have the Zags been pushed like Indiana and Michigan in a tough conference like the Big 10? No, but there’s no question this is the best Gonzaga team, perhaps, since the Spokane school burst on the NCAA scene in 1999, getting within a game of the Final Four. Gonzaga’s Wonderdogs lost to No. 3 Connecticut in the West Regional championship 67-62 in Phoenix that year. Don Monson was the coach, Few his loyal assistant and they featured guards Quentin Hall, Richie Frahm and Quentin Hall and rebounding machine Casey Calvary, whose tip-in gave Gonzaga an upset win over Florida and a shot at UConn. Gonzaga hasn’t missed an NCAA tournament since, but it’s never returned to the Final Eight.

The current team (30-2) might not shoot it as well from the outside as that ’99 bunch, but it’s just as athletic, much better defensively and it has Olynyk, the best big-man in the country. Did you see his dunk Monday night after taking a pass from Stockton on the break? You had to remind yourself that was a 7-footer making that play.

So maybe this is the year the little school gets to the Final Four. This is a pretty hard-nosed group. If I was a coach of a team in the tournament, I wouldn’t want to play ’em.

 

Tuesday links

Former Seahawks’ offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson, a key to their Super Bowl run in 2005, announced that he is retiring, ending a 12-year NFL run.

One man’s view: Percy Harvin not the player you think he is, writes Pete Prisco of CBS Sports.

Another man’s view: Harvin could turn out to be a headache for Hawks, writes Mike Freeman, also of CBS Sports.

And, yet, another opinion on the trade that brings Harvin to Seattle: Don Banks of SI.com says this bold move could work in the Seahawks’ favor.