Archive for March, 2008

Bennett to IU: PASS!

March 30, 2008

Sweet! Tony stays, as Vince at the SR.com has the news. Like many of you thought, the job just isn’t done here. I can’t wait until his press conference tomorrow or Tuesday and we can hear about the future, and Tony WILL be part of it!

Interesting that he did talk to IU after all (and not a shocker). This is a great day for Cougars everywhere!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Advertisements

Tony Bennett Rumor-MANIA!

March 30, 2008


“Hey Jim, Tony here. These guys are leaving, so….I’m just gonna go ahead and bail too…it’s cool, right??”

Ok, that conversation hasn’t happened and probably wouldn’t happen. But the rumors and speculation are flying high tonight, so we’ll round it up for you in one pretty/ugly package.

  • P-I’s Dan Raley claims that Bennett isn’t telling the truth, and that his source says he’s got the offer in front of him now and has until high noon on Sunday to become the next coach at Indiana. This echoes what is coming from the Scout.com site for Indiana, as they are claiming that the offer is in hand and the clock is ticking. It is his job if he wants it at this point, and he has to decide by tomorrow.

  • Someone named Gary Parrish at CBS says that Bennett has roughly 24 hours to accept or refuse the offer, and that sorry, but it has been made. Parrish goes on to speculate that if he turns it down, he will use it as a loyalty play to WSU and hopefully get what he’s after, which is the charter plane, assistants raises, etc. Interesting angle.

  • ESPN’s Andy Katz said settle down, those rumors last night aren’t exactly true and Tony himself claimed today he hasn’t been offered anything. I later heard Katz on ESPN radio this afternoon, and he was asked point-blank what is going on with Bennett and WSU/IU/CAL. Katz wouldn’t even really speculate on Bennett, but he stuck to his view that IU will get their coach by the Final Four, but wouldn’t say anything about Bennett. He did mention Mike Montgomery as a great fit at either IU or Cal, but he didn’t say anything about Bennett.

I think Katz and Vince are who we should listen to right now. They are the two closest sources out there on this. I especially think Katz is who we should focus on right now. Not because he’s saying things that I think we want to here, but because of the background with Katz and the Bennett’s. Katz is an ESPN guy, but he’s a Wisconsin guy all the way. He graduated from Wisconsin, and worked at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. He knows the Bennett’s very, very well, and was seen with them personally several times during the tournament. I have no doubt Katz knows what is going on.

Get all that straight? Pretty flippin’ NUTS right now isn’t it? Our source hasn’t said a thing, so I wish we had more to offer. Personally, and simply gut-feeling time, but I think he’s going to stay. I am choosing to take him at his word, and he’s gone out of his way to say that WSU is a great place for him and his family. This is on the record, and also, off the record stuff that many people claim they have heard from Tony himself. STAY TUNED!

NOT SO BREAKING News – Bennett NOT(!) Offered IU Job

March 29, 2008

UPDATE 9:00 AM 3/29/08 – Per Andy Katz, Bennett has NOT BEEN OFFERED the IU job. Check it out.

“The source also said a published report Saturday morning that Indiana had made an offer to Washington State’s Tony Bennett was inaccurate. Indiana has not offered anyone the job, according to the source.

Reached Saturday morning in Pullman, Bennett told ESPN.com, “I haven’t had one conversation with [Indiana] and so, no, I haven’t been offered the job.”

Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk said Saturday morning that no school has asked for permission to talk to Bennett.”

Well, that didn’t take long. Per Fox Sports at least, the cat is officially out of the bag, and Indiana has made their move to Tony. Let’s see how Tony handles this one. And this little matter of the Cal Bears has now cropped up, where Cougfan cites a report in the San Francisco Chronicle saying sources claim “Bennett is expected to leave WSU” and that he’s already a finalist for their job. You can read that story here.

I tried our own source earlier today, as I actually heard a rumor something was up, but I didn’t hear a thing back from him. So I don’t have anything good “insider” views about what is out there. But the gut tells you this isn’t a good thing.

I just hope we find out soon enough what he’s going to do. I can’t imagine he is the type of guy that is going to let this thing drag out. It makes you think we are going to get the word sooner rather than later. It’s hold-your-breath time.

Will Goliath Fall Again?

March 27, 2008

No detailed X’s and O’s breakdown today. You can get that anywhere else in serious information-overload all over the net. There are previews everywhere. No, instead, a simple tribute to David over Goliath. Because even though we’re a 4-seed, and many believe that we are simply exactly where a 4-seed should be, still, let’s be honest. It’s Washington State vs. North Carolina.

First, though, who was Goliath?

  • Born: c. 1060 B.C.
  • Birthplace: Gath, Palestine
  • Died: c. 1030 B.C. (killed in battle)
  • Best Known As: The giant slain by David’s slingshot

Goliath was a giant soldier from Gath in ancient Palestine, according to a famous story in the biblical book 1 Samuel. Listed at roughly 9 FEET tall, an imposing figure no matter the era. The 17th chapter describes an armed clash between the Philistines, led by Goliath, and the army of Israel. Despite Goliath’s intimidating size, the unlikely Judean boy-hero David meets him on the field of battle. David slings a fatal stone that hits the giant between the eyes and fells him. David beheads the fallen Goliath, Israel wins in a rout and David goes on to become king. In sports, politics, business and other arenas, a competition between seemingly mismatched opponents is sometimes described as “David and Goliath” or “David versus Goliath.”

So clearly it’s happened before (if you believe in such things). Here’s some of the biggest NCAA versions of Goliath to fall to David over the years:


Chaminade over #1 Virginia in 1982. Virginia had Ralph Sampson, but were shocked 72-70 by a school that still nobody knows where they are, or how it happened (Chaminade beat them in Hawaii by the way).

Villanova over Georgetown (sorry Reep). Easily one of the most stunning upsets of all-time, the scrappy Wildcats play nearly the perfect game, including the 2nd half where they shot 90%! The only miss was a block by Ewing. This was pre-shot clock days, and some to this day claim that the clock was introduced because of this game. Villanova was an 8-seed by the way, still to this day the lowest seed to ever win the NCAA title.

George Mason topples #1 U-Conn. Mason was loaded with patience and experience, and U-Conn was loaded with NBA first-round draft picks in Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams, Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone. U-Conn survived an OT win over UW to get to the Great 8, and everyone thought they were home free to return to the Final Four if they could kick the pesky upstarts from nowhere to the curb. DENIED.

Hmmm….maybe this is our best hope? Isn’t UNC loaded with NBA draft picks? Don’t they like to play fast and will try to run, run, run us back to Pullman? Hmmm.

Stanford over USC this year. Almost a 40-pt dog, on the road, and the Cardinal shock the Trojans. NOBODY saw that coming, yet it happened.

One of the the biggest upsets in terms of name/shock value? App State – Michigan last year. App State blocks the field goal heard ’round the college football world, as fans all over the country break out in a spontaneous cheer in the 34-32 stunner.

Maybe my favorite of all-time? Hickory winning the state title in Indiana, led by Gene Hackman. How inspiring is that?

(gotta love the “let’s win this for all the small schools”!)

So there you have it. It’s been done before. Will it happen again??

Trufant Surrenders!

March 26, 2008

NIIIICE. Trufant has re-upped with the Hawks in a cap-friendly, long-term deal that brings smiles all around. Nice job Tru. You’ve freed up some $4 million in cap space for the team to use as it needs to the rest of this offseason. Plus, no more drama to worry about. Will he hold out and skip mini-camps? Is he unhappy being the franchise player? Will we simply lose him down the road because of this? All speculation is officially GONE. Welcome home Tru!

On the Tony Bennett front, no, I’m not going to link to wild rumors. But there is a decent read from Jerry Brewer of the Times, in a Q & A about Tony and the possibility of Indiana. It’s a good 7-question deal with a writer who knows Indiana, and I thought there were some interesting things to take from it. Brewer has done a good job on covering the Cougs’ run in the midst of UW country, and I’ve heard him on the radio a few times. He is extremely impressed with Bennett and the WSU program. Brewer, by the way, you might recognize the last name. He is the cousin of former Florida superstar Corey Brewer, who was a lottery pick last year and is toiling for the T-Wolves. The guy knows college hoops, no doubt about it.

Meanwhile, yes, we’re in the Sweet 16. But last I checked, this is a FOOTBALL blog, so, here goes.

Paul Wulff had an online chat prior to the start of spring ball. Nothing earth-shattering, but I thought it would be of some interest. Check it out here. And if you read closely enough, you’ll see our own Kaddy reveal himself! Cool.

Practices have been moving along, now 6 full ones in the books. Unfortunately there just isn’t a lot of free content out there right now to get a read on how things are going. Cougfan has daily recaps, but, they are premium stories. We hear bits-n-pieces, but it’s hard to get good info right now. Here’s a story from the Times earlier last week, as well as the P-I, and the News Tribune. There are some good nuggets in there. Otherwise it’s pretty quiet, but the hoops team is kind of making it so. It’ll pick up soon.

Finally, the Sonics. It sounds pretty dire right now. But what did everyone expect David Stern to say at a press conference with Clay Bennett, the mayor and the governor of Oklahoma? Forget it, we’re keeping the team in Seattle?? Whatever. All I now is from hearing from Brian Robinson of Save Our Sonics, this thing isn’t dead. Far from it. Look for something to come out of the city this week that, potentially, they’ve found the bridge money of $75 million to make the $300 Key a reality. And then, let’s just see what the NBA says to a massive renovation as well as an ownership group approaching $20 BILLION in net worth. I’ll say this – if they say no to that group? Then adios, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya. Good luck in the dust bowl, trying to attract free agents in the least-appealing market in the NBA. And also enjoy watching Kevin Durant grow up and, of course, bail for a bigger market (New York, LA, even DC?). Be careful what you wish for!

Even Video Games Love Carolina

March 25, 2008

With our biggest hoops game since the 1941 NCAA title game coming up Thursday, the experts are coming out of the woodwork to pick North Carolina. Dickie V, Digger, you know the usual suspects. I haven’t seen any projections yet that say we will be blown out of the basketball universe, and everyone expects it to be a bit of a grind for the Heels, but in the end they’ll be 8-10 points better. What, did you expect that anyone would actually pick WSU this week??

That said, even the video games are against us. EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness ’08 has simmed the tourney, and has the Heels taking down our Cougs (pictured above). You can see the entire tourney here via ESPN Videogames, but they have Carolina 69, WSU 62. But with that, I wasn’t exactly satisfied, so I thought what the heck, I’ll sim it myself and let’s see what happens. After all, I’ve got an XBox 360, and while I don’t have March Madness, I do have College Hoops 2K8, which is widely regarded as the superior title (it really is fun, and very realistic).

What happened? Well, 2K8 lets you set up the entire tournament, from 1-to-65, and you can let things play out, or take control of any game you choose. For accuracy sake, I decided to just let the CPU play itself to see what happens. And guess what?? THE COUGARS ARE HEADED FOR THE ELITE 8!

That’s right – The Cougars strolled into Charlotte and pulled off the stunner, taking down Carolina 66-61. Derrick Low and Aron Baynes both had 15 points, with Low drilling a big 3 with 34 seconds left to seal the deal. As in real life, WSU was very patient with the ball offensively and shot 47%, a decent percentage overall. They played stifling, switching, “pack” defense to frustrate Hansbrough, keep Ty Lawson from penetrating, and just played a heck of a game. The Heels shot 41%. All that said, unfortunately, Tennessee ended the WSU title hopes on Saturday, winning a tough game 71-68.

Ok, I know, just a video game, right? Well, 2K8 also did it right with Davidson, placing them in the Sweet 16, as well as Villanova and Western Kentucky. In the end of my sim, Kansas cut down the nets with a big win over UCLA. We shall see what happens, but hey, I’ve got some hope!

Speaking of Charlotte….what the heck has happened to Adam Morrison??

They say he’s a free spirit and really his “own guy”, but geez. He looks like he’s somewhere else. Or maybe he’s simply realizing that Gonzaga is now going to be 2nd fiddle in Eastern WA to the surging WSU Cougar hoops program?? I guess he’ll just have to get by with several piles of cash and NBA groupies at every turn. Poor guy!

Speaking of Gonzaga, KJR was talking yesterday that Mark Few rumors are starting to percolate. This time it’s his alma mater calling, as Ernie Kent is going to get fired chatter is increasing by the day. People take shots at Gonzaga, as they aren’t exactly the cute, cuddly little engine that could as they were when they first burst on the scene. But Few has done a hell of a job building something out of nowhere. They’ve now been to 10 consecutive NCAA’s, and I don’t care what conference you play in, that ain’t easy! We shall see what happens there. If Few did land at Oregon, I would expect a lot of the same thing, honestly. Few’s teams play fast and love to shoot the rock, but they aren’t exactly a defensive team. But it would also be interesting to see what he could do with Oregon’s resources.

Thanks to Atlanta Coug, but ESPN.com ran a story about Gary Rogers from spring ball. Not bad. Ted Miller has moved on from the P-I, and now does the .com thing full-time, so it’s nice to have a NW presence on the national scene for good.

Another day, more Tony Bennett coaching fodder. We mentioned yesterday in comments that IU was rumored to have narrowed their choices down already to either 2 or 3 main candidates, specifically Rick Barnes, Rick Pitino and Thad Motta. This came via Andy Katz and later Pat Forde of ESPN over the weekend on ESPN radio (sorry, no link). You can check out some of the Scout.com’s IU message boards for more. I think those names show you one thing – IU has some major fish they are trying to land. While we love Tony and know what a fantastic thing he has going here, on the national scale he doesn’t exactly measure up to those names on the IU radar. We’re talking Final 4’s, national titles, and deep, deep runs and consistent tourney appearances, time after time after time.

But as “PTownCoug” mentioned in comments yesterday, just because IU is looking at those big fish doesn’t keep us in the clear here. As is usually the case, when a big coach moves on down the road, the domino’s usually fall. And that means that if, say, Barnes goes to IU, well, Texas is now open. And if Tony doesn’t go to Texas (and I DOUBT he would), but let’s say Mike Brey goes from Notre Dame to Texas. Suddenly Notre Dame is open. And on and on it goes.

It is the oldest Mike Holmgren saying, but it is very true here – “IT IS WHAT IT IS.” And this is the way it is going to be with Tony. I think it’s several things, mainly he’s young, successful, has a sparkling image, and the hoops “genes”. He’s a lot of things that AD’s around the country would love to associate with their programs. And you also get the NCAA writers from everywhere taking a look at young, talented guys and say “why the heck would he want to coach in frosty Pullman??” and of course, write articles that are more speculation than fact. It is just something we have to get used to, and every year when some tasty jobs open up, Tony’s name is going to be thrown against the wall to see if it sticks. Just keep thinking of Holmgren’s catch-phrase, “IT IS WHAT IT IS!”

Quickly speaking of the Seahawks, nice move to keep Lofa a Hawk For Life! What a fantastic player and leader of a still-rising defense. No better move than to lock him up now before the world of NFL free agency poisons the water. As Lofa said, it wasn’t Good Friday, it was Great Friday. I would say the same thing if I signed a $42 million dollar extension with a bunch of guaranteed money!

HAPPY TUESDAY TO Y’ALL!

SWEET!!!!!!!

March 23, 2008

Time to bomb away with the comments on tonight’s absolute thrashing of Notre Lame.

Key points:

1) The defense was great, but it was the REBOUNDING that made us dominant. Very few second chance points tonight. It was the difference.

2) Kyle Weaver played like a pro tonight. I know that Low was great, but Weaver looked like the 1st rounder that he is. Wonderful game by a wonderful player.

3) Rochestie sucked. Which made tonight even more amazing that we are able to dominate (let alone win) without his “A” game.

4) Cowgill might have been our MVP this weekend. He really, really stepped up. When he and Caleb are hitting from the perimeter, we are a really tough out. We DO have a chance to make it to San Antonio folks. It may not be a great one, but we do have a real chance.

So, congrats seniors for earning what it is that you absolutely deserved: The Sweet 16 and a night or more in the National Spotlight. You make us all proud.

Lets put our hands together for this crew…

As well as for the Arkansas Razorbacks..

Go Hogs!!!

Cal RB James Montgomery to Washington….State??

March 21, 2008

So news breaks this week that touted RB James Montgomery of Cal is leaving Berkeley. Lots of talk about the reasons, but mainly, he’s not happy at Cal. And of course, the usual connect-the-dots nature has many Seattle scribes placing Montgomery at UW, the school he originally committed to but ultimately changed his mind. But in the words of Lee Corso….NOT so fast my friend!

Guess who is elbowing their way into the picture?? That’s right, Paul Wulff and the WSU Cougars have snuck into this thing. Per the Sacramento Bee, Montgomery says that he’s wide open, but right now it’s Washington State, Florida and one other SEC school that wasn’t mentioned.

But we will go one step further. Brinkhater, he of the Sacramento area, reports an insider conversation he had yesterday evening with a Berkeley know-it-all. Basically, the word is, it’s WSU by a large margin, and Florida as a distant 2nd! The one big pull for Florida is that one of Montgomery’s best buddies, a player from Cordova High School, is headed for Florida. But otherwise, the odds are strong Montgomery COULD be a Coug!

If this happens, well, first off Montgomery would sit out next year, and would be eligible for the ’09 season. He would have two years of eligibility left at that point, so in essence it would be like getting a monster JC transfer, but you’ve had him practicing with you the prior year. Can you say INSTANT impact?? Team him up with Ivory or even Tardy, and we could be looking at one strong backfield! Stay tuned. We’ll have more information as we hear it, but for now, the rumors are strong that Montgomery is a “hard lean” towards Crimson!

KILL RUDY

March 21, 2008

So, we knocked the nerves out in the second half and ran rough shot over those poor souls from Winthrop.

Man, what a performance from our front line.

And now our boys make their move toward immortality.

In my mind, next to the 97 football season, the 2002 UCLA game for the Rose Bowl, and our 2003 win over Texas, this is the biggest game for Cougar athletics in the past 40 years.

Its that big.

No need to go over game film with this one. Is Notre Dame good? Yep.

Can they score? Yep.

Are they balanced? Yep.

Can they defend? Kinda.

Is the Big East awesome? Yep.

But, it really is all about this ONE question folks: CAN THEY CROWD US?

And based on what i have seen the answer is NO.

Cougs 65 Irish 59

Enjoy our boys run to the Sweet Sixteen.

2nd Season

March 20, 2008

Well, here we are Cougar Nation….41-2, sitting as the #1 seed in the West Region of prognostication, and you know what that means?

NOTHING.

Absolutely nothing.

But, where our Cougars are concerned, the second season means everything. And this weekend, in particular, is THE opportunity that these wonderful kids have to enter and live in Cougar lore forever.

Win this weekend, and you become the only Cougar team since the 1941 squad to advance past the second round.

Of course, to do that, we have to beat the mighty Winthrop.

Now, if you all think that Brinkhater has such a little life that he has actually watched any Winthrop film, then you are right. In fact, I have literally spent about 20 hours over the last couple of days breaking down game film..

And here’s my braniac take from that effort:

For Winthrop to win tomorrow, they are going to have to play GREAT. And we are going to have to play HORRIBLY.

Basically, Winthrop is an undersized and underskilled Oregon with Bigs that are neither as powerful as any in the PAC-10 nor can they help spread the floor a al Super Marty Leunen…
What they are going to do is send their version of a Taylor Rochestie-Derrick Low half-breed and see whether or not he can get off with Weaver guarding him. Is that gonna happen or fly?
In a word, “NOPE.”
The only way that we lose this game is if we start off trying to establish Baynes in the low block. We do that, we run the risk of getting stale, and if they are able to get hot early, we could find ourselves in an 11-4 hole that would be tough to get out of.

But, I just don’t see it.

Look for Weaver to come up big on both ends of the floor, and as you all will see, the guy who will make this tournament for us is Taylor Rochestie. Look for him as a returning (to the NCAA) junior to be confident and very loose. He’ll get 16 and 5 tomorrow.

The game will start tight as I think that Winthrop is going to throw a match-up zone or some wrinkle at us to try to confuse us a bit. And it may work for all of about 10 minutes.

Cougs win going away in the 2nd half in a virtual redux of last year’s win in Sacto v. Oral Roberts:

Cougs 69 Winthtrop 54.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, since Saturday will be the time to bite your nails off..