Good morning. Despite being alone at the bottom of the Pac-12, the WSU basketball team entered Pauley Pavilion as a mere 10-point underdog Saturday afternoon. By the time the final horn sounded, Ernie Kent's charges were on the wrong end of the 83-50 score. In case you're wondering, that is WSU's worst loss of the season. That's saying something, considering that WSU has played Oklahoma, the nation's top-ranked team.
Former legendary USC football coach John McKay had a great quote, when describing the play of his expansion Tampa Bay Buccaaneers back in 1976. Following a blowout loss, he said, "We didn't block, but we made up for it by not tackling." (This NFL Films clip of McKay is absolutely worth your time, especially because of John Facenda's brief voiceover). The Cougs played a similar game Saturday. They didn't shoot well, but they made up for it by not protecting the ball.
These two paragraphs in Jacob Thorpe's game story sum it all up:
The Cougars made just seven field goals in the first half, but managed to turn the ball over 10 times in those 20 minutes, and made just 33.3 percent of their field goal attempts all game. WSU took 24 3-pointers and made just five of them.
Conor Clifford had the ball in the post and tried to kick it out to a guard at the top of the key, but sailed his pass well over Charles Callison’s head, leading to a backcourt violation. UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton lost the ball, but Johnson turned it over once more, and Hamilton sunk a jumper shortly thereafter.
As I said, that sums up the game pretty well. So with that, let's get to more important things, namely, Bill Walton's increasingly-inane commentary. I used to love the guy, but he's become a caricature, more intent on suffocating the play-by-play guy with continuous non-sequitors than actually analyzing what is happening. The following list is not all-inclusive, as it didn't occur to me to codify many of these until the game was out of reach. Among Walton's gems:
- Referred to this matchup as "the game of the millenium."
- Said Ernie Kent is a good husband.
- Made 1,734 references to FDR's birthday and the "conference of champions." (Figures approximate)
- Said he "loves Brett Boese's game." Boese then missed a three-pointer.
- Compared a mountain range in southeast Washington to the Alps.
- Spoke at length about Rick Sund's son for no apparent reason.
- Proclaimed that he never would have left UCLA early, which makes sense because Sam Gilbert.
- Said Ernie Kent "needs to go up Highway 195 to Spokane to find some ballplayers." Yeah, Spokane holds the key to making the Cougs better.
- Made several references to the great/boisterous crowd while scores of empty seats were plainly visible.
- "I love Longrus, he's got a great coach." Huh?
- Referred to Josh Hawkinson's parents as "saints of circumstance." Again, huh?
- Asked Roxy Bernstein if Roxy has ever stood at the bottom of the Snake River.
- Segued from that to marveling at the Lewiston River, which doesn't exist.
- Called Tracy Murray the greatest player in UCLA history. Some guy named Alcindor might have a bone to pick with that.
I'm sure there were several more, but I couldn't keep up.
Dreadful shooting dooms Cougars in 83-50 loss at UCLA | The Spokesman-Review
Saturday’s 83-50 defeat at UCLA, the largest margin of defeat in Ernie Kent’s two seasons coaching the Cougars, was the unsurprising result of WSU’s worst day shooting the ball this season.
UCLA's juggled lineup results in big win over Washington State - LA Times
After consecutive losses in which the Bruins gave up 86 points apiece, Alford inserted sophomore forward Jonah Bolden into the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Washington State Cougars, hoping to spruce up what he called a "slow" frontcourt. The move paid off in a big way with a 83-50 win at Pauley Pavilion.
The Tacoma News Tribune ranked the Top 100 recruits in the Western U.S. Out of those 100, exactly one is headed to WSU. To my untrained eye, that seems disappointing. Also, there's a link to UW's recruiting practices, which pretty much exposes Chris Petersen's outright hypocrisy.
The News Tribune’s 2016 Western 100 | The News Tribune
Top high school recruits from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Western Canada, as selected by The News Tribune after polling coaches and various media outlets.
Pac-12 mailbag: An early projection on 2016 All-Pac-12
Something tells me that Jill from Spokane also identifies herself as a "12."
Best beer I had this week: Terrapin Cinnamon Roll'd Wake n Bake Oatmeal Stout. That's a really long name, but hoo boy, that beer was sensational.
If You're Buying Large Format Craft Beer, You're Getting Screwed | VinePair
I used to tell myself I wouldn't pay more than $9 for a bomber. Then it was $11, then it was $13. Now I've paid as much as $15 for one single bomber. That seems to be my line of demarcation, for now.
How a High-Flying Lawyer Botched His Big Case Against GM - Bloomberg Business
This is hilarious, and sad. Hilariously sad? H/t to CougCenter OG Brian Floyd for linking this one a few days ago.