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And the winners are …

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 8, 2008

Congratulations to Morgan Knows and CliftonParkNYInterloper, the winners of our inaugural WSU HOOPS Bracket Challenge! Each scored 133 points out of a possible 192, capped off when Kansas won the championship last night.

That’s pretty darn awesome if you ask me, especially since I could only muster 87 points, good for ninth place. But I take solace in the fact that I did beat Jo~Jo, who finished 15th with 75 points.

What doomed me, ultimately, were two things.

First, when I filled out my bracket, I didn’t totally believe what I had pretty much believed all year: That Kansas was the most complete team in the country. They just had too many head-scratching performances for my liking, but in the end, good Kansas was able to overcome bad Kansas for enough of the time to win the championship.

Second, I had spent the better part of the year completely convinced — and telling anyone who would listen — that there was no way Memphis could win a national championship because their free throw shooting would be a problem at some point. Heck, you can tell by looking at my bracket that I was convinced they couldn’t even get deep in the tournament because of it.

Then, the Tigers started making all their free throws, and I was completely convinced that I was totally wrong about them, and heading into last night I was sure they were going to beat Kansas — which appeared to be true for 38 minutes.

Of course, we wouldn’t even be talking about Memphis’ free throw shooting if Kansas hadn’t played lights out for those final two minutes and Mario Chalmers doesn’t hit the miracle shot of his life. (Although, to be fair, the guy is a 46.7 percent 3-point shooter who was able to get square to the basket, so I’m not sure “miracle” is entirely accurate.)

And I guess that’s what bums me out about this morning. That game was incredible, but I feel absolutely awful for Memphis, which had the game in its grasp. Because of that, people are saying the Tigers collapsed. I don’t see it that way. Kansas has showed over and over this year that when it is hitting on all cylinders, it’s easily the best team in the country — just ask North Carolina. And after sputtering for the middle part of the second half, the Jayhawks started clicking once again, and not even the awesome defense of Memphis could withstand the onslaught.

So give credit where credit is due this morning, and resist the urge to use words like “choke” and “collapse.” Even if Memphis could have done more to win the game, Kansas took it.

Posted in Bracket Challenge, NCAA Tournament, News | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Bennett spurns Indiana

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 30, 2008

As I suspected. It doesn’t mean that other programs might not come calling, but if he’s turning down Indiana — still one of the premier programs in college basketball, despite the instability — there’s probably not a lot out there that can lure him away.

If all this talk of Bennett and other jobs has you nervous, think of it this way: He’s now turned down Indiana to stay at Washington State. Think about how that would make you feel about your future if Tony Bennett is recruiting you?

Posted in News | 14 Comments »

Don’t believe everything you read

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 29, 2008

We all expected this, right? I mean, you lead WSU to the Tournament two consecutive years including a Sweet Sixteen appearance, and everyone and their grandma is going to be after your coach.

If you believe everything you read, you believe that Tony Bennett is on the first plane to Bloomington this morning, and that the plane is filled with about $500 million. Or, you believe that Bennett is on the first plane to Berkeley, and that the plane is filled with about $1 billion. Or, if you truly believe that last story, you believe that he’s on the first plane to anywhere that’s not Pullman.

Or, you can listen to the guy who has covered the Cougs since last summer and believe him.

My thoughts on this haven’t changed at all — which I wrote about here and was written about here — and neither have those of anyone close to the program. So relax, and don’t panic. I still think Bennett is here for at least one more season, and probably longer.

Posted in Around the 'Net, News | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Robbie Cowgill: No. 34 in your program, No. 1 in the classroom

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 13, 2008

Robbie Cowgill was named the Pac-10 scholar-athlete of the year today. Here’s an excerpt from the WSU release.

A management and operations major, Cowgill is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. He has been named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team the past two years, the WSU Athletics All-Academic Team all four years, and is a two-time Cougar Pride Academic Salute and WSU Libraries Scholar-Athlete of the Week honoree. An honors college enrollee, Cowgill has a 3.36 grade point average and will graduate in May.

Congrats, Robbie. Winning with class.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | Comments Off

Oops

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 23, 2008

Guess I was wrong on that one. Although I will say this in my defense: One way to get rid of a coach before final NCAA findings while simultaneously avoiding a future lawsuit is to negotiate a substantial financial buyout of his contract in which he agrees never to sue the university for wrongful termination. If only Barbara Hedges had been smart enough to think of that. Lucky for us, she didn’t.

And don’t think this necessarily is going to derail the Hoosiers’ season, either. Dan Dakich is an Indiana guy who coached at Bowling Green for 10 years. He’s a good coach, and the players might just rally around him. Remember Michigan and Steve Fisher in 1989? Yeah, the rest of the Big Ten does, too.

Click the link below for the take from the ESPN Gameday crew — it’s pretty good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in News | Comments Off

Let the consternation begin

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 21, 2008

Last year, Tony Bennett racked up just about every coach of the year award there was, leading to his name being linked to just about every major job opening in the country. The same is likely to happen this year, as his name already is being bandied about by pundits as a potential replacement for Kelvin Sampson in Bloomington.

Here is what I wrote about it last year before he signed his extension at WSU, and I’ll tell you that my feelings haven’t changed much. Here’s what he said when he signed the extension, and I believe him.

“It’s said by a lot of people that if you can have a good year, boy, this is a place where you’ve got tot take a look to go elsewhere. It’s a hard place. I don’t feel that way. I think the journey has just started. This group of young men, I want our program to know that. We don’t want to be just a flash in the pan.”

Although Kyle Weaver, Derrick Low and Robbie Cowgill are graduating, one of the most highly anticipated recruiting classes in WSU history is heading to Pullman. I really don’t think Bennett leaves until he’s really established the program for the next guy, and that will take bringing in at least one more good recruiting class and coaching them all up into a perennial Top 25-type team. He might not be here forever, but I think he’s here longer than two years.

So relax, people. I know it’s a little bit in our Cougar DNA to be angst ridden, but don’t let anything cloud your enjoyment of this year.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Ever wonder how he did it in Pullman?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 13, 2008

Ever wonder how Kelvin Sampson convinced talented guys like Mark Hendrickson, Isaac Fontaine, Tavares Mack, Donminic Ellison, Shamon Antrum and Carlos Daniel to come to WSU at a time when UW was dominating the state?

Ever wonder why he was able to be successful when so many others had failed?

Me too.

Let’s just all be thankful they didn’t look too deeply when he was in Pullman.

Posted in News | Comments Off

We’ve gone multimedia

Posted by Jeff Nusser on February 8, 2008

As I look for ways to make the blog better, I’ve finally figured out ways to add video to our site. The youtube videos are pretty straight forward, but ESPN was a little trickier. Alas, we’ve figured it out, so we’ll periodically pass along some of the cooler stuff we find that has relevance to WSU.

Unfortunately, ESPN has almost no Pac-10 highlights in its video content because — surprise! — the Pac-10 has almost no games on the network, and I’m guessing they only have online rights to highlights of their own broadcasts. However, there is this “news and notes” segment from Andy Katz, which features some thoughts on the injuries to Arizona’s Nic Wise and UCLA’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

from sports.espn.go.com posted with vodpod

Posted in Around the 'Net, News, Video | Comments Off

Think they hate Huggins now?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 30, 2008

In my first life as a blogger, I wrote that Kansas State fans should be grateful for the year they got from Bob Huggins and quit crying about him bolting for West Virginia.

After Huggins recruits Michael Beasley and Bill Walker led the surging Wildcats to a stunningly convincing win over previously undefeated No. 2 Kansas, KSU fans should be sending Huggins love letters.

In droves.

Posted in News | Comments Off

Looking rediculous-er and absurd-er by the moment

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 30, 2008

We all had a nice laugh last week when we read Ernie Kent’s quote touting Oregon fans as “different,” and not “fans that turn into hatred and all that kind of stuff.” Well, nobody’s really laughing now, as Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny has had to publicly apologize to pretty much everyone ever associated with the UCLA basketball program for comments directed by students at — surprise! — Kevin Love during Thursday’s game.

To Kent’s credit, he got on the microphone and pleaded with the crowd to be nicer to the Trojans on Saturday. But, c’mon: Can you imagine Tony Bennett or Ben Howland or Lorenzo Romar or Coach K or Roy Williams or … anyone else having to do that? There have been a number of coaches who have had to ask for a fan to not throw stuff at the playing surface, but I can’t remember one ever having to plead with the masses for better behavior.

It’s admirable that Kent wanted to give his fans the benefit of the doubt, but it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.

Oh, and if you’d like a first-hand account of what actually happened, check this out. Rated PG-13. (You’ll also wonder, after reading it, if any of those students actually realize why what they did was wrong.)

Posted in Around the 'Net, News | 5 Comments »

 
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