Good morning, and welcome back to reality. What was probably a first in the Ernie Kent
nightmare era at WSU didn’t end Saturday against Stanford, but will almost certainly meet its demise next time the Washington State Cougars take the floor against whomever they face. I’m not talking about the one-game winning streak the Cougs managed to string together this week.
I am talking about what is almost certainly a first for one of Kent’s teams at WSU - the Cougars were favored in two straight conference games. I’m not smart enough at this internetting thing to find historical gambling data on college basketball, but WSU has been so bad under Kent that I’d be stunned if they were ever the betting favorite twice in a row during Pac-12 play.
As for the game itself, the Cougs squandered a chance to pad their tournament resumé, seeing as how they were playing a team that’s a full 54 spots higher in the NCAA’s NET Rankings. Oh well. Hopefully the committee remembers WSU’s resounding win over a juggernaut Cal team on Thursday, and views the Stanford loss like we all do - a mere bump in the road on the way to a probable conference championship.
Since Jeff recapped the game better than I ever could, I’ll just throw a few quotes out there and add some commentary.
We’ll start with a tweet from the president:
Time for some @WSUMensHoops #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/GxLfFIvVJx— Kirk H Schulz (@WSU_Cougar_Pres) January 19, 2019
How was he even able to find a seat??!! My favorite part isn’t the fact that there are hundreds of empty seats. No, the best part about this picture is that it captures an opposing player taking yet another uncontested shot.
Then there was this from the Spokesman Review:
One minute, it felt as though Washington State had finally captured some momentum in Pac-12 Conference play following a 23-point win over Cal.
Yeah, no it didn’t.
Then there’s poor Robert Franks who, God bless him, voluntarily returned for another year of this garbage. Franks said this to the Spokesman Review:
“We haven’t seen a 1-3-1. We practice it all the time, but with their length it caused problems,” senior forward Robert Franks said. “And it caused us to not move the ball the way we want to.
“Length is always going to be a problem, but I wouldn’t just predicate it off them. That’s with anybody and if we would’ve executed our game plan, it would’ve been better for us.”
Wait, I thought the Cougars were the team with all of the length. That’s what the snake oil salesman at the helm of the program kept saying (and state-run media kept repeating) over and over again during the lead up to the season.
Finally, there’s John Blanchette, who has always been good at taking a scalpel to all things WSU athletics, whether it’s warranted or not. (in this case, it absolutely is):
“We just weren’t there,” Kent allowed.
Which remains a pretty good description of basketball at WSU these past several years.
The Kent era at Wazzu now shows a record of 54-87 – 19-58 in Pac-12 play – 4 1/2 seasons in, the conference high point still coming in his initial year of 2015 and accomplished with a roster which received 93 percent of its production from players already in the program.
But there’s another thing squeezing Chun between a rock and red ink: Part of his escape plan from deficit hell is increasing ticket revenue, which he admitted last spring would have to be felt mostly in basketball, as Martin Stadium is doing capacity business.
The crowd that had Kent so jazzed Saturday was 2,304.
And that isn’t progress, either.
And so it goes.
Quarterback Graduate Transfer Ranking: Where Are The Top Ones Going?
In 2016, Gubrud threw for 5,160 yards and 48 touchdowns for EWU, and followed it up with a 3,326-yard, 26-score season, He threw 13 touchdowns last season before getting hurt.
2019 Pac-12 Composite Football Schedule, Top Ten Games Weekly Rankings
The 2019 Pac-12 composite football schedule, ranking each week’s games, top ten non-conference and conference games.
Pac-12 2019 Football Schedule: 5 Things That Matter
Who from the South gets the horrible, horrible break of missing Oregon State? Who has the brutal road tests against the top teams?
John Blanchette: Progress isn’t in WSU’s basketball vocabulary | The Spokesman-Review
In fact, the Cougars’ 78-66 loss to Stanford at high noon on Saturday was a mad dash into an open manhole. If somebody slides the cover back on, we may never see them again.
Analysis: Sluggish Washington State suffers first home defeat, losing to Stanford 78-66 | The Spokesman-Review
Sleepy passes flew into the scorer’s table. Botched defensive assignments led to unchallenged dunks. Point-blank layups rolled around the lip of the rim and fell right out.
This Week in Parenting
As I mentioned last week, the oldest was preparing for his school’s Geography Bee. Friday was showtime.
As I looked through the program, I mentioned to the Mrs. that they should’ve placed betting odds next to each kid’s name. Nothing spices up a geography bee like a little side action.
All of the contestants had an 11-page question sheet that they had to fill out, in order to prepare for the competition. He’d been studying it for quite a while, and I asked the person in charge of the contest whether he needed to study anything else. She told me they would have to know things like major mountain ranges, rivers etc., and they would have to point out things on large maps. As a result, we studied different maps of the globe and he memorized every state capitol.
Each contestant is allowed one incorrect answer, with the second incorrect answer bringing elimination. The kid got off to a blazing start, nailing something like his first seven questions. He faded a bit down the stretch, though, done in by a question about The Netherlands and a second about South Korea. Turns out that every damn question in the contest was taken straight from that test bank they were given, and they never had to do anything like point out things on a large map. In other words, I wasted a bunch of his prep time.
Despite that, he came in third, not quite enough to advance, but good enough to be one of the only people recognized with a certificate and ribbon.
I was most proud of the fact that he was not nervous at all, he never froze up when handed the microphone (as a couple other kids did), and he had fun. On the way home, I was feeling generous, so I told him we wouldn’t start preparing for next year until Monday. Luckily he knew I was joking. I’m not exactly sure why he decided to tuck in the shirt they gave him, but we’ll work on that.
Best beer I had this week: The Mikkeller beer mail service is the gift that keeps on giving. This week was a barrel-aged version of Bhuthurt, a beer from Oslo, Norway. Yes, Bhuthurt is the name, don’t wear it out.
Metallica Launches 'Enter Night' Beer With Stone Brewing - Maxim
The legendary metal band is rolling out its "Enter Night" pilsner nationwide.
I came across a few things this week that I enjoyed.
How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa
The visitors started coming in 2013. The first one who came and refused to leave until he was let inside was a private investigator named Roderick. He was looking for an abducted girl, and he was convinced she was in the house.
Office Space 20th anniversary: Behind the scenes of the cult classic | EW.com
EW spoke to Mike Judge, Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, and more about the box-office-flop-turned-cult-classic that ultimately became one of the most relatable workplace comedies of all time.
“Leave No Soldier Behind”: The Unsolved Mystery of the Soldier Who Died in the Watchtower | Vanity Fair
Is the Army botching its investigations into noncombatant deaths?